8 posts tagged “patient-reported data”

A New Year with Jamie Heywood

Posted January 10th, 2014 by

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It’s 2014, and it’s a significant year for PatientsLikeMe and our members. Later this year we’ll mark the 10th anniversary of our founding. As we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going, there’s one thing that has never changed—our commitment to make sure your real-world experiences are a central part of improving healthcare. 

Changing medicine for the better is a journey. This year, we want all of you to join us on that journey, every step of the way. That’s why we’re starting a new initiative to get even more patient-reported data. Co-founder Jamie Heywood talks about the idea of data donation, and all the good it can do.

 

 

Wow, ten years. That’s a long time. What do you think are some of the most significant accomplishments of the last decade?

It’s been an amazing journey. We started this site so people, including my brother Stephen, could find information that helps them live better day-to-day and contribute data to research. We wanted to shake medicine up, to make it more about the patient, to help people connect with each other and see what their options were and take control of their health. At the heart of that has been this underlying goal to make patient experiences matter. We thought we could create a site that would make people happy with features like forums or condition trackers, but also allow them to contribute to research every time they logged in. When we started out, that had never been done before. We took a giant leap forward in validating patient-reported health outcomes when we announced the results of the lithium study in 2011, which showed the efficacy of lithium carbonate on ALS. That was the first time patient-reported data collected via a website was used to evaluate a treatment in real-time and to refute the results of a formal clinical trial. Since then, everything’s changed. Now we’re hearing more companies in the industry talk about the patient voice and the importance of listening to it. Together with our members, we’re making them focus on what matters most—the patients.

You’re talking a lot lately about “donating your data for good.” What’s that all about?

We created a kind of public service announcement for our members and the general public to showcase the good your health data can do – for you, for others, and for research. The more patient data we can get into the hands of researchers, the more we’ll learn about how to improve treatments and care. Every time you tell us how you’re doing, or add information about a symptom or treatment to your profile, or participate in a survey, you’re telling researchers what they need to know about what it’s like to live with a disease. I’d love to see every member update the information in their profile every week. If you can do that, we can really make a difference. If you don’t, we wait – we wait for more and more people to take part in research studies, one study at a time, year over year. Some people with some conditions don’t have time to wait. Some people don’t want to wait. I think we can change that, but it takes a village. We’re all in this together, and the only way anyone will learn more and really make an impact on healthcare is if everyone pitches in.

What impact has member-reported data had on research to date?
A tremendous impact! Our research team has published more than 40 publications in scientific journals using the data and experiences that members share on the site. We started in ALS and took the patient voice to the forefront in that disease, highlighting under-recognized symptoms and, with the help of an inspirational ALS patient named Cathy Wolf, upgrading the ALS measurement scale. In MS, we’ve had strong partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers to help them develop better products and services that have been informed by patients. For conditions like fibromyalgia, mood disorders, and HIV, we have published findings on how the support of patients like you can have a therapeutic effect on improving outcomes. In epilepsy, we found that members who have made more friends on the site see better clinical outcomes, too. And we’ve helped change healthcare policy working with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and many other government entities. All of this fantastic work was made possible by the active engagement of our patients, the data they make available on their profiles, and their willingness to share openly to benefit one another.

What is your ultimate vision of what patient-reported data can do?

I think of PatientsLikeMe as a dynamic learning system, one that can learn in real-time from the experience of every patient in the world. We want that system to be with you as you and your doctor talk about your treatment plan, to give you the most current data to help you understand where you are in your illness, to draw on other patients’ experiences so that you can create the best path forward based on your goals. That’s the impact patient-reported data can have on every patient’s life, and why we need to get as much of it as possible.


New Efforts Underway to Improve Care for Veterans

Posted January 22nd, 2013 by

With financial support from UCB, the Department of Veterans Affairs and PatientsLikeMe will study patient-reported outcomes.

Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE), biopharmaceutical company UCB and health data-sharing website PatientsLikeMe announce a new study to better understand what factors improve health outcomes for veterans with epilepsy.  The ECoE has recently completed a pilot study focused on collecting and sharing real world, patient-reported data on seizure frequency and severity, treatment adherence, patient and physician dialogue and overall quality of life. The study is now open and available to all veterans living with epilepsy at www.poemstudy.org.

“This collaborative effort, with partners from government and private industry, provides an exciting opportunity to improve the outcomes of the thousands of veterans with epilepsy. Our work together may also deliver insights into how we can improve the care for anyone with epilepsy,” says study lead and ECoE’s John Hixson , M.D.

As part of their initial partnership to help epilepsy patients, which began in 2010, PatientsLikeMe and UCB conducted a study of members of the PatientsLikeMe epilepsy community that showed that people with epilepsy who joined PatientsLikeMe better understood their own seizures and improved adherence to their medications.1,2 The new study of veterans will integrate validated clinical outcome measures alongside the patient-reported benefits of the online PatientsLikeMe community. The community platform allows patients to update their physician on aspects of their epilepsy, such as changes in symptoms and medication side effects, and enables physicians to view this patient data prior to clinic visits. The goal is to provide a complementary support system that enhances clinic visits and improves patient outcomes.

UCB, a leader in epilepsy, is providing the funding for the study. “We are committed to improving the standard of care for people living with epilepsy. We believe that this collaboration will address some of the unique challenges faced by veterans impacted by epilepsy and will be a model for other providers of care,” says Patty Fritz , Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Operations at UCB.

According to the ECoE, approximately 5.6 million veterans visit VA Medical Centers each year, and approximately 66,000 of these veterans are diagnosed with seizures or epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder defined as two or more unprovoked seizures.3

Adds Jamie Heywood , co-founder and chairman of PatientsLikeMe, “This is a great opportunity to validate our earlier findings, which revealed that epilepsy patients using our website reduced side effects, increased compliance and reduced ER visits. Our partnership further demonstrates how committed UCB and the VA are to advancing innovation in health care. Collaborations like this will build the foundation for a patient-centric future in medicine.”

References
1. Wicks, P., Keininger, D. L., Massagli, M. P., de la Loge, C., Brownstein, C., Isojarvi, J., & Heywood, J. (2011). Perceived benefits of sharing health data between people with epilepsy on an online platform. Epilepsy & Behavior.
2. De la Loge, C., Massagli, M., Wicks, P. PatientsLikeMe®, a data-sharing online community: benefits for patients with epilepsy. Presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (April 9-16 2011), Honolulu, USA.
3. Epilepsy Foundation. About Epilepsy. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/. Accessed 9/13/12

About PatientsLikeMe
PatientsLikeMe® (www.patientslikeme.com) is the world’s leading online health data sharing platform. PatientsLikeMe® creates new knowledge by charting the real-world course of disease through the shared experiences of patients. While patients interact to help improve their outcomes, the data they provide helps researchers learn how these diseases act in the real world and accelerate the discovery of new, more effective treatments. [Follow company news on Twitter.com/PatientsLikeMe and http://blog.patientslikeme.com]

About ECoE
The VA has funded the Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (http://www.epilepsy.va.gov/). The Centers of Excellence are charged with: (1) establishing a national system of care to all veterans with epilepsy, (2) educating veterans and others in their lives impacted by epilepsy about high quality epilepsy care, (3) providing health professional education and training in order to deliver the highest quality of standard of care to veterans with epilepsy, (4) utilizing national VA and other databases in order to inform providers and policy makers in Central Office about health care delivery and health policy decisions, (5) conducting state-of-the-art research about epilepsy, and (6) implementing an informatics backbone to meet the above objectives.

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).