Behind Every Piece of Data Is a Patient

Posted February 17th, 2012 by

(This post has been repurposed from an article written by PatientsLikeMe’s Ben Heywood for eyeforpharma’s Patient’s Week 2011.)

PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and President Ben Heywood

Real-world, patient-reported data is becoming more important to you, the patient, as well as everyone in healthcare. One source of that data is patient registries.

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a patient registry is “a database of confidential patient information that can be analyzed to understand and compare the outcomes and safety of health care.” Ultimately, the goal of capturing and analyzing this data (shared by multiple sources like hospitals, pharmacies, physicians and patients) is to learn from one another and improve healthcare. Like registries, PatientsLikeMe understands the importance of capturing data in a meaningful, computable and quantifiable way.

However, behind every piece of data is a patient.

So, in the spirit of putting patients first, we began thinking about the next generation of a patient registry where you benefit in real-time from what you share. It would need to be a situation where you could openly share longitudinal demographic and clinical data about your disease while using online tools to improve your outcomes. It couldn’t be just silos of health data focused on one disease at a time; it would need to encompass data on all diseases and inspire you to share information about those co-morbidities too.

If this next generation of a “registry” could ensure long-term data sharing, can you imagine how much meaningful insight would be available for patients and industry alike? We could…and that’s what we’ve been building at PatientsLikeMe for the last five years. We’re excited about what that means for patients like you each day, as well as what it means for the future of medicine.

We know you believe in community—we’ve seen it in your one-for-all mindset where you can share what you experience and see the same for every other patient like you; a mindset where you expect us to then pass on those experiences to researchers, companies and others who want to learn together and improve healthcare. When we tell you how we make money (by sharing your de-identified data with our trusted partners), many of you have said, “Great. Share! Share! Share!”

We have no doubt that sharing is the essential ingredient in accelerating research, ensuring patient safety and making better treatments. As we look beyond the chat room and beyond the traditional patient registry, we see a world where patients like you are openly sharing meaningful, computable and quantifiable data with each other to make your lives better…and, in turn, making all of medicine that much better too.

Can you see it too?  Tell us your thoughts on what the ideal patient registry should include.

PatientsLikeMe member bheywood


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