4 posts from April, 2008

Wikinomics Blog Praises PatientsLikeMe Business Model

Posted April 30th, 2008 by

wikinomicsYesterday Naumi Haque of the Wikinomics Blog referenced PatientsLikeMe as part of a bold prophecy regarding viable business models for social networking companies, particularly Facebook.

First, we are honored that Wikinomics found our business model compelling given our decision to forgo an advertising-based revenue stream at this time. While Facebook is a pure-play social network (and defines the space), we are a personalized medicine platform with social networking components. The differences between our companies explain the differences in business approaches.

How? Social status on Facebook (and other social networks) relies on the number of friends one amasses as well as the diversity of activities in which one participates. Status on PatientsLikeMe, however, is conferred to each patient by how much data one shares with the rest of the community. We employ a MS iconstar-based incentive program for patients to keep their data up to date. A three-star patient shares a diagnosis date, is current with outcome, treatment and symptom information, and has provided a certain amount of Mood iconhistorical data. This deep data sharing provides credibility to the patient for all activities on the site (forum posts, private messages, treatment and symptom experience, etc.). Every interaction is dynamically linked back to a patient’s profile through our “patient icon” (see right) that graphically describes the patient’s current status with the disease. In essence, sharing data gives patients our version of “street cred”.

Since data drives the activity on our site, so must it drive our business endeavors. We are decidedly not an eyeballs play and will likely never reach the stratospheric numbers Facebook boasts in total members. So advertising isn’t as compelling an option as a revenue stream. Our goal, however, is to create new knowledge from the shared experiences of our patients. We won’t need 50 million people to participate to achieve that goal. We sell this deep information (anonymized) to companies that are most aligned with the needs of our patients (life sciences companies for treatments and health plans for health management).

It is true, though, that the more members we have, the more insight we’ll be able to derive about the course of disease—and maybe figure out novel ways to change that course. Patients already have many of the answers. We invite people interested in changing the course of their disease to join PatientsLikeMe.

PatientsLikeMe member dwilliams


PatientsLikeMe at the Parkinson’s Unity Walk

Posted April 28th, 2008 by

PUW logo

PatientsLikeMe was a proud sponsor of the 14th Annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City this past Saturday (April 26, 2008). Jeff Cole, Kate Brigham, Maureen Oakes and I (Lori Scanlon) were all onsite working at our sponsored booth. The event, which raised more than $1.3 million in donations this year, brought together thousands of people with Parkinson’s, their families and friends, support groups, non-profits and sponsoring organizations — all dedicated to advancing research and helping find a cure.

dsc00783.JPGI said this onsite and I’ll say it again: The energy at the event was absolutely intoxicating! In addition to meeting hundreds of people who stopped by our booth to learn more about PatientsLikeMe, we were thrilled to finally meet some of our very own Parkinson’s Community members (and their families) face-to-face for the first time.

“Unity” is the perfect word to describe this event. We got to literally see thousands of people in the same place with the same goal, and it was nothing less than inspiring. We got to meet our members, who not only share their health information and experiences so openly on our site, but also opened their arms to welcome us “in”…it touched us alldsc00788.JPG truly and deeply. We got to “feel the love,” as our members wore badges to represent those members who couldn’t be there. We then came home and read forum posts from the many more members who were at home watching us on the webcast and cheering on the walkers.

Here are a couple of many photos from the Unity Walk. Please take it all in. There was sunshine. There was energy. The smiles. The laughs. The love. The purpose. Can you feel it? Can you feel the (comm)unity? Good. Now, please pass it on…

PatientsLikeMe member lscanlon