Harnessing the Crowd to Solve Healthcare

PSFK Labs: “While being sick is never a good situation to be in, the majority of people can still take solace in the fact that modern medicine will be able to diagnose their problem and get them on the path to a quick recovery. For a small percentage of patients, however, simply finding out what ails them can be a challenge. Despite countless visits to specialists and mounting costs, these individuals can struggle for years to find out any reliable information about their illness.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that in a heavily regulated industry like healthcare, words like “personalization,” “transparency” and “collaboration” are near impossibilities, leaving these patients locked into a system that can’t care for them. Enter CrowdMed, an online platform that uses the combined knowledge of its community to overcome these obstacles, getting people the answers and treatment they need.

…we spoke with Jared Heyman, the company’s founder, to understand how the crowd can deliver unprecedented efficiencies to a system sorely in need of them…. “CrowdMed harnesses the wisdom of crowds to solve the world’s most difficult medical cases online. Let’s say that you’ve been bouncing doctor to doctor, but don’t yet have a definitive diagnosis or treatment plan. You can submit your case on our site by answering an in‑depth patient questionnaire, uploading relevant medical records, diagnostic test results or even medical images. We expose your case to our community of currently over 15,000 medical detectives. These are people mostly with medical backgrounds who enjoy solving these challenges.

We have about a 70 percent success rate, bringing patients closer to a direct diagnosis or cure and we do so in a very small fraction of the time and cost of what it would take through the traditional medical system….

Every entrepreneur builds upon the tools and technologies that preceded them. I think that CrowdMed needed the Internet. It needed Facebook. It needed Wikipedia. It needed Quora, and other companies or products that have proven that you can trust in the wisdom of the crowd. I think we’re built upon the shoulders of these other companies.

We looked at all these other companies that have proven the value of social networks through crowdsourcing, and that’s inspired us to do what we do. It’s been instructive for us in the best way to do it, and it’s also prepared society, psychologically and culturally, for what we’re doing. All these things were important….(More)”