According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 25 million Americans (about 1 in 3 people) suffer from an undiagnosed condition. So many patients get referred from doctor to doctor without actually getting the diagnosis that they deserve. When you are not able to get the help that you need, the options may feel very limited. As it turns out, crowdsourcing has proven to be an extremely important element in finding ways to help patients receive the care that they need.
First of all, some of you may be wondering– What exactly is crowdsourcing? With the growing popularity with services such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, you may already be familiar with the concept of “crowdfunding”. Crowdsourcing is similar, except instead of several people giving money to a person, they are providing information. The amount of unique information gathered increases with every single person involved.
Here are a couple of interesting ways that crowdsourcing can be applied to the world of healthcare:
Chasing the Cure
Chasing the Cure has shown that it is possible to apply crowdsourcing in a way that can reach millions at once. Currently airing on TNT and TBS on Thursday nights, Chasing the Cure gives a platform to several pre-selected individuals with tough-to-diagnose medical conditions. Medical professionals on the show give a run down of the patient’s condition, and the patient is also there to discuss their ailments. While this is happening, the viewers at home are given the chance to call in and give their diagnostic suggestions. This model, somewhat reminiscent CrowdMed’s own, allows for one’s story to be heard by people who would not have originally been able to provide any input. With the amount of viewership that comes with being a show on a large network, Chasing the Cure is certainly a unique and impactful application of crowdsourcing.
CrowdMed provides a service that allows for a way to have constant and consistent access to medical professionals around the world in order to get a much-needed diagnostic suggestion. CrowdMed’s platform makes it easy for any patient to create a case on the website in a streamlined, anonymous way. The patient is given a placeholder name and the only information that is displayed about them is information that they themselves publish. From there, CrowdMed’s Medical Detectives can all look at the patient’s case and provide their input. With a success rate of over 60%, this system has proven to be extremely valuable to those who need an answer.
All in all, there are several ways that crowdsourcing can be applied in healthcare. With the prevalence and growth of technology in the modern world, we are more than likely to see other applications of the wisdom of the crowds. While none of the existing systems are perfect, it is clear that they can provide a great option to those in need.