Top 5 Ways Crowdsourcing Can Improve Health and Medical Diagnosis

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.

Crowdsourcing in healthcare and medical diagnosis combines the wisdom of crowds and global knowledge with intelligent technologies to help filter signal noise and produce the most accurate and relevant answers. At its heart, crowdsourcing gathers input from large communities, using votes or “bets” and other mechanisms to gauge confidence levels and probability, combined with various incentives to encourage participation by those with the most applicable expertise and highest rankings and success rates within the community.

2. Crowdsourcing empowers patients.

Crowdsourcing enables patients to connect themselves with vast interdisciplinary “teams” from around the world, all at once, as opposed to just consulting one doctor at a time. By taking their own medical cases and symptoms to the crowd, patients are increasing the odds of connecting with more people who have strong knowledge and expertise around their cases.

3. Crowdsourcing saves time.

Healthcare startup CrowdMed is proving crowdsourced medical diagnosis can significantly reduce the amount of time required to identify health issues. On average, people using CrowdMed’s service had previously gone 6 years with no answers, through 8 doctors and numerous tests, while racking up nearly $50,000 in medical bills. After taking their cases to the crowd, patients have received insightful diagnostic and solution suggestions within days or weeks.

Not only has crowdsourced medical diagnosis proven to more quickly alleviate patients’ anxiety, pain and suffering, but clearly can also reduce the overall costs related to healthcare. Simply, less time means less money.

4. Crowdsourcing saves money.

Using crowd wisdom to help solve medical issues in days or weeks, compared to months or years, has a direct relation to reducing costs – both for consumers and healthcare providers. A recent study [1] showed the initial diagnosis, the first 15 minutes of a patient’s medical encounter, can determine up to half of all healthcare costs related to that issue – even though roughly 1 in 5 diagnoses are incorrect [2], while many other conditions simply go undiagnosed for years.

On a macro level, if crowdsourcing services like CrowdMed could reduce healthcare costs by even a fraction for just the 5% of the US population that incurs over half of the nation’s healthcare expenses [3], total savings to the system would add up to hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the US alone.

5. Crowdsourcing saves lives.

It is incredibly surprising and frustrating to know so many serious and even common medical issues can take months or years to diagnose, if at all. One recent study found it takes 10 years to diagnose rare medical conditions [4]. Even under the best circumstances, it may take months or years, with dozens of doctor visits and tests, before these patients receive an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, people can die waiting for answers to their medical questions.

By empowering both medical experts and patients to share and contribute answers to medical issues, CrowdMed is helping people figure out what’s wrong, faster and more accurately, leading to better outcomes and saving lives.

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About CrowdMed, Inc.

CrowdMed is an innovative healthcare startup harnessing the wisdom of crowds to help solve complicated medical cases more quickly and efficiently. The company offers individuals, insurance providers, and self-insured corporate customers the ability to reduce their healthcare costs without compromising care. Founded by veteran technology entrepreneur Jared Heyman and based in San Francisco, CA, CrowdMed has received more than $2.4 million in funding from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms including NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator. The company’s advisors have founded and run some the world’s most successful online healthcare companies including WebMD. CrowdMed graduated from Y Combinator’s Winter 2013 class, and was officially launched during the TEDMED 2013 conference in Washington DC. Visit www.crowdmed.com for more information.

Published by

Thomas Krafft

California kid, troublemaker, geek, VP of marketing at CrowdMed. Family, ♬ music, politics and chocolate addict.