More than 30 years after being an identifiable and reportable illness, Lyme disease continues to be a hotly debated issue inside and outside of the medical community. There is a wide spectrum of opinions when it comes to how the disease manifests itself and how frequently the medical community believes the disease should be diagnosed. Are the current tests accurate or inaccurate, how long should treatments last and what should those treatments look like? Can this disease become chronic?
The CDC is one of the most respected sources on disease information in the United States. However, when it comes to Lyme disease, they have a history of not reporting all of the facts. With such a powerhouse source relaying so much misinformation, confusion surrounding this debilitating disease remains one of the primary reasons it goes so under and misdiagnosed, as well as untreated.
When searching for a cure for an uncommon disease, doctors and medical detectives are confronted with a difficult knowledge problem. The correct answer is out there, but it’s likely known only to a handful of people, dispersed among a lot of people who haven’t a clue, or worse, have the incorrect diagnosis. How can we separate the knowledgeable from the clueless? The solution might have a lot to do with balloons.
Practically since the internet was invented, people have been using it to try and figure out what ails them. And today, the practice is so widespread that it is practically ubiquitous. According to a recent Pew study, “80% of Internet users look for health information online, making medical inquiries the third most popular web-based pursuit, following only email and search engine use.”
In other words, whatever any experts say or do, the act of attempting to diagnose ourselves on the internet isn’t going anywhere.
But it would be a fair question to ask, though, if the internet is the right place to go. Are we helping ourselves or hurting ourselves with our attempt to put the medical system back in our hands?
Let’s take a look at the facts.
Because we work with a community of patients who are having trouble with the way some of our healthcare is structured in the United States, we tend to run into many patients who have expressed a lot of frustration with America’s healthcare system.
After seeing so many examples, we decided to do some research: were the people who use CrowdMed exceptions to the rule? Or was there something worse, something more prevalent, happening?
“My son feels like an old man. He suffers from constant, debilitating fatigue, painful body aches… he feels like he’s dying.”
Those are the words of a desperate mother. Her son Joseph had always been an active and athletic child, but starting at the age of 12, his health began to deteriorate inexplicably. Over the next 5 years, Joseph and his mother consulted with 14 different doctors, endured dozens of tests, and racked up more than $75,000 in medical expenses – but still couldn’t find answers. Continue reading When Crowds Are Smarter Than Doctors
Crowdsourcing as a Medical Tool: Interview with CrowdMed CEO Jared Heyman.
CrowdMed is an online medical crowdsourcing platform where people submit medical cases with information about symptoms, medical history, family history, and other pertinent data. Subsequently, the community of “medical detectives” suggests diagnoses and places point bets on the outcomes they think are most likely. CrowdMed’s patented prediction market algorithms aggregate the medical differential set by the crowd and distills it down to a probable list of diagnostic suggestions for each patient. Continue reading Solving Your Medical Mysteries Online, with Crowdsourcing
1. Crowdsourcing can help solve even the most difficult medical cases.
Not even the famous (and fictional) Dr. House M.D. can know everything about every one of the more than 13,000 known medical conditions, diseases and disorders. At the same time, public web forums can turn even the most rational person into a total hypochondriac. So, where can you turn for help, if the internet is driving you crazy and your doctor has no answer? Crowdsourcing. Continue reading Top 5 Ways Crowdsourcing Can Improve Health and Medical Diagnosis
Doctor-to-be Neil Dubey ponders healthcare innovation, internet-empowered patients, and what it all means for the future of medicine.
As long as the Internet exists, patients will utilize it. Doctors have a unique opportunity to embrace and help shape the future of health, while engaging with patients who now have access to a world of open information and diverse input. Continue reading Diagnosing Medical Cases Online: Threat to Traditional Medicine?
Healthcare is costly, but it’s no easy task trying to reduce costs without compromising care. One answer might be found in the wisdom of the crowd, or in crowdsourced medical diagnosis which is already helping doctors, patients and healthcare providers more quickly identify many conditions that would otherwise take months or years to figure out. Continue reading Using Crowd Wisdom to Significantly Cut Healthcare Costs