11 posts from September, 2012

What We’ve Uncovered About Psoriasis in the Summertime

Posted September 24th, 2012 by

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Uncovering Psoriasis 2012 Summer Survey

Are people with psoriasis more likely to cover up with pants and long sleeves in warm weather?  Or are they okay with “showing some skin” in shorts and tank tops?  This is just one of the things we set out to learn in our seasonal survey of more than 300 members with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune condition.

Participants ranged in age from 10 to 80 years old (with an average age of 43), and 68% of them were female.  What did they have to say?  In response to some of our more playful questions, 62% of participants said they are okay with “showing some skin” in the summer, and 32% said that summer made them “happy as a clam.”  Conversely, 14% said it made them “cranky as a crab,” while 54% said it was a little of both.  What might be causing that crankiness?  49% of respondents reported that bug spray was the biggest skin irritant in the summer, with 30% citing sunlight itself and 22% pinpointing sunscreen.

How PatientsLikeMe Members Responded to the Question, "How Does Summer Make You Feel?"

We also asked some important research questions about how psoriasis affects quality of life, including social activities, sports, personal relationships and more.  These important lifestyle factors were captured using the Dermatological Life Quality Index (DLQI).  Internally, PatientsLikeMe refers to DLQI ratings as a person’s “skinpact” because it quantifies how much of an impact psoriasis can have on your lifestyle.

To share what we learned, we’ve put together a new Patient Voice report entitled Uncovering Psoriasis.  Don’t miss this in-depth look at how our psoriasis patients rate their “skinpact” as well what specific factors can increase it, from age to the location of an outbreak to the percentage of the body covered with itchy, red plaques (a measurement known as the Body Surface Area or BSA score).  You’ll also find tips and insights shared by our patients for coping with psoriasis during summer.

Click Here to Read/Print Our Free Report, "The Patient Voice:  Uncovering Psoriasis"

Like digging into the data and learning directly from patients?  Check out our previous Patient Voice reports on preparing for life after an organ transplant and getting the most out of inpatient psychiatric therapy.

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A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Quality Assurance Engineer Brian Boyle

Posted September 19th, 2012 by

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris NecocheaResearch Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison DuttonResearch Scientist Timothy VaughanBiz Dev’er Arianne GrahamProduct Manager Maureen Oakes and Community Manager Jeanette DeVita.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Boyle, who joined the company six months ago to help us maintain excellent quality assurance (QA).  What that means is that when you find a bug in our platform, Brian is the guy who makes sure it gets fixed!

PatientsLikeMe Quality Assurance Engineer Brian Boyle

1.  What’s surprised you the most since joining PatientsLikeMe in March?

PatientsLikeMe is an amazing office to work in. I was immediately welcomed by a team of talented and brilliant individuals. The people here are so nice to be around. The bar of excellence is raised daily, and we challenge ourselves to produce the best possible product. Every morning I arrive to an atmosphere that is rich with confidence and satisfaction of our product.

2.  Tell us about the role of the Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer.

My job at PatientsLikeMe is to collect bug reports from users and co-workers and send them to the engineers. The engineers take the information, locate the problem and fix the code that caused the error. When I collect the bug reports, I research what is causing the problem and prioritize the bug queue. The bugs on my radar are ones that a user would find and that could disrupt their experience on the site. Solving these problems is very rewarding and important for the user experience.

3.  What do you find satisfying – as well as challenging – about your job?

Working closely with users to understand their perspective and then carrying that viewpoint to the engineers is my first priority. It can be challenging working through the volume of requests and researching all of them, while putting them in an acceptable order to be fixed. Fortunately, the engineers are very helpful, offering insights and understanding. I sit with a team of amazing developers I can turn to and ask for help. Working with the engineers to solve problems is immensely satisfying.

4.  I understand you have a lot of active hobbies, such as rock climbing and skiing.  How does that fit into your approach to wellness?

I have found that engaging my mind and body in physical activity encourages a healthy perspective to my thought process. My time away from work is spent working on goals and physical challenges. I have a few different levels of activities that I use to distill my thought process and better serve my prioritization skills.

Brian Boyle Doing His Favorite Activity:  Skydiving

Skiing and team sports are hobbies that I do every once in awhile that allow me to focus on something new for a day. The next level of activities are accomplished a few times a week; rock climbing, yoga, mountain biking and road biking are things I can do after work. My favorite activity is skydiving. I have been jumping out of planes (almost) every warm weekend since 2007. I have over 550 jumps, and I am a tandem instructor at Jumptown in Orange, MA.

My passion in skydiving is tandem jumping and big way jumping. Tandem jumping is hooking up a first jump student to my parachute and taking them on their first skydive. Big way jumping is when I take my own parachute and go up with 60 of my closest friends and jump out of three different airplanes at the same time. I use skydiving to set long term goals. It can take years to attain certain skills in skydiving, and accomplishing those goals is very rewarding.

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Interested in making a difference in patients’ lives?  Check out our Careers page to see our current job openings.  Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, PatientsLikeMe is looking for a Marketing AnalystOutcomes Research Scientist and more at the moment.