Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Treat Us Right: Mapping What Patients Think About Medications

One of the ways we can better understand whether you, as patients, are having a positive or negative treatment experience is to “listen” to the conversation you’re having in our forum.  By understanding whether you are having a positive, negative, or neutral experience with a particular treatment you are taking or are considering taking, we can measure the impact of different events on the overall community. For example, in 2008 we measured the impact on our multiple sclerosis community of a corporate announcement by Biogen about a serious and sometimes fatal side effect of Tysabri (occurs in about 1 in 1000 patients).  The results revealed that patients were indeed frightened by the announcement, but these patients were also so positive about Tysabri’s benefits, that most planned to continue taking the medication regardless of the risk. Visualizing Perception of Sentiment We visualize movement in your sentiment via perceptual maps and longitudinal bar charts.  The perceptual map here shows how patient perception (indicated via forum conversations in one disease community) is moving regarding different medications over four periods of time. (Note: each color represents one medication;  the shading represents the change of perception over time with the darkest shade being most recent).  …

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The Patient Rules. A Discussion with the PatientsLikeMe Executives

We recently sat down with our executive team here at PatientsLikeMe in our first-ever roundtable-format podcast.  In this PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM interview, we ask Co-founders Ben and Jamie Heywood, Chief Marketing Officer David S. Williams III, and R&D Director Paul Wicks PhD to discuss why our recent series themes are so important to the history and future of PatientsLikeMe. Blog Series Themes: “Share and Compare” – where you learned more about how and why patients like you are sharing their health information to put their experiences in context. “One for All” – including visualizations on how one member of a community can be the catalyst for a universe of unparalleled dialogue and support. While discussing how patients can continue to drive the health care process, they also help us preview this week’s discussion called “Treat Us Right.” Treat Us Right In this series, we focus on how you can see if your treatment is right, just by the information shared by patients like you; and how important your shared information is to research efforts – both for academia and industry to learn how they can help each of you make good choices about your treatments.  We’ve heard you tell industry to “Treat …

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Share and Compare: From the mouths of patients

As we round out our “Share and Compare” week, here are a few quotes that some of our members have shared regarding the impact of being able to see where you fit in. You’ll read in the quotes how patients like you can find solace in the fact that there are others out there experiencing the same thing;  you’ll see how your sharing is helping others make sense of their treatment dosages; and you’ll feel through these quotes how personal sharing can be within a community like ours.  Behind all the graphs and charts we’ve shared this week are people – here’s what they have to say. Stay tuned next week for a few follow-up pieces on Share and Compare, as well as a new topic series.  Have you learned from sharing and comparing?  Add a comment below, post in the forum or connect with us through private message inside the site. – – – “It’s so nice to share information with others who are experiencing the same thing. The most frustrating thing I remember as a teenager was when doctors couldn’t explain exactly what was happening to me or why. I used to feel as if I did something wrong and …

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Share and Compare Your Health Experience

“I want to know if what I’m going through is normal for a patient like me.” This is a sentiment we’ve heard from so many of you throughout our communities.  This week, we’re focusing our blog on some of the ways we’re trying to help you put your experiences in context.  It’s a concept we like to call “share and compare.” From a design standpoint, we’ve been focusing on how to help you see how your status relates to other patients with the same condition.  By showing where you fit within a larger group, you can begin to see if your experiences are typical.  The more data you share, the more you can compare your experience to others. Here are some of the changes we’ve made this year along these lines, as well as the benefits to patients like you: Treatment pages: Now you can view the most commonly prescribed treatments for your condition and see where you fit in with the treatments you’re taking.  Want to see if the dosage you’re on is in line with others?  Now, you can.  (You can also use this to discuss dosage questions with your doctor) Individual treatment reports: When you view a …

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Share and Compare: How are you feeling? Find out with InstantMe!

Here at PatientsLikeMe we strive to give you the tools and functionalities you want and need to gain insights into your conditions, including putting your experiences in context.  Today, we’re introducing a new tool in all of our communities called “InstantMe.”  Want to chart how you’re feeling day in and day out?  Now you can. All you need to do for InstantMe is answer this simple question – How are you feeling now?  You can answer this question as many times in a day or week as you’d like. InstantMe will appear on your profile to add more context to the other experiences you share there, as well as on your Doctor Visit Sheets so you can communicate more effectively about how treatment changes have impacted the whole you.  You can even sign up for a reminder and answer InstantMe right over email. Why InstantMe?  Many of you already use the measurement tools we have in place to put your experiences in context  – for example, there’s the mood map, quality of life scale, or clinical rating scales (e.g., ALS functional rating scale). These instruments (which you typically fill out weekly or monthly) measure the severity and impact of medical …

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What Data Do We Sell? A Continued Discussion about “Data Scraping”

In response to the Wall Street Journal article published last week, we’ve had a lot of great discussions about the role of honesty and transparency. Transparency is about you – members of the PatientsLikeMe community – knowing how we make money and what we do with the data you’ve entrusted to each other and PatientsLikeMe. To continue the dialogue, we’re writing this blog to respond to a few recent articles that have suggested we do something other than what we’ve said.  See BNET’s “PatientsLikeMe Is More Villain Than Victim in Patient Data ‘Scraping’ Scandal” and Internet Evolution’s “Personal Data Mining: Government & Business Share Blame” (since corrected). To start, the characterization as villain is nicely hyperbolic for a headline, but inaccurate.  Villains are dishonest.  As a company, we strive to be honest and transparent – both are key parts of our Core Values as an organization.  To that end, let us dig in on a few of your recent follow-up questions: Does PatientsLikeMe sell our identifying data (like name, photo, bio, etc.)? No. We’ve asked for a correction in the Internet Evolution article because their statement about scraping the names you use to sign up for the site is incorrect. …

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PatientsLikeMe in Wall Street Journal: Transparency, Openness and Privacy (cont’d)

Journalist Julia Angwin of the Wall Street Journal just published an article describing how a major media monitoring company, Nielsen BuzzMetrics,  scraped our forum last Spring.  (See my previous blog post on the incident – “Transparency, Openness and Privacy”) Julia’s piece includes details regarding how this incident happened, how we (and you) responded and more.  We are very excited about this article.  Having a rigorous debate about transparency, openness and privacy is critical to us achieving the trust we want to have with you, our patients. What Nielsen did was clearly a violation of our User Agreement.  However, we believe this incident (and this article) have spurred an important ongoing discussion about what is right, just and appropriate regarding how companies operate in this new networked world.  As I said to Julia, this is a new frontier.  We also believe there’s a lot for everyone to learn from this experience, especially around how to put patients first. Read Julia’s piece and tell us what you think.

Series Premiere of “The Patient Voice” – Meet Pokie Too!

“This represents my family, we share everything together.” – PokieToo, PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s Community “The Patient Voice” is here!  Are you ready to listen in?  Today is the official premiere of our new PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast, “The Patient Voice.”  Our first guest is Parkinson’s community member, PokieToo. Pokie is the founder and creator of the PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s quilt, a handmade and inspiring piece of patchwork pulled together by members all over the world.  A valuable member of the PatientsLikeMe community, Pokie is recognized in the greater Parkison’s community as a leader and advocate.  She has worked a lot with various nonprofits, including as a consultant for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Parkinson’s Quilt Project, and she’s the captain of our members’ Team PatientsLikeMe at the Parkinson’s Disease Unity Walk every year. As you’ll learn from hearing from other members throughout this series, everyone knows her and loves her.  Pokie is truly an inspiration to everyone she meets. Listen in to learn about how the PatientsLikeMe PD quilt was created, how it’s being used to empower other patients, and why she calls PatientsLikeMe her family.

Will Openness Bring About a Breakthrough?

Share your thoughts in an innovative online event with our partner Myelin Repair Foundation. Our Openness Philosophy is centered around the idea that patients sharing their real world health data allows for collaboration on a global scale; that it will accelerate new treatments; and that it can change our health care system.  In this same spirit of openness, The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) has recently announced a new collaborative event. This fall MRF is inviting scientists, industry experts, patients, policy makers, and other big thinkers inside and outside of the medical research enterprise and health care industry to two online “idea sourcing” events called “Breakthroughs to Cures”. These events are designed to explore creative ways to accelerate the pace of medical research and shorten the time to market for new medicines for all diseases. The two events will take place respectively on October 7-8 and November 9-10  and there will be as many as 600 individuals from a wide range of backgrounds in online conversation threads that are expected to identify new strategies for accelerating research.  Here is a chance for patients to come to the table, contribute your ideas, your experiences with illness, and your sense of urgency to …

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Flickr-ing PatientsLikeMeInMotionTM

Ever wonder what your fellow members were up to on their sponsored walks and runs in various states across the country? Last week, PatientsLikeMe launched a Flickr page for the PatientsLikeMeInMotionTM program. Now you can see photos of members just like you in motion!   We are excited to share the experience of sponsored teams and three-star members with everyone. Since its inception in 2009, PatientsLikeMeInMotionTM has sponsored more than 115 teams across seven disease communities.  With over 2, 100 participants to date, the program has given many members the chance to demonstrate their PatientsLikeMe spirit as well as connect with others who have shared similar experiences. It’s always great to see how PatientsLikeMe members are just as passionate offline as they are online.  Now, everyone can catch a glimpse our members in action from New York to Ohio to California!  The PatientsLikeMeInMotionTM Flickr page currently hosts photos from walks in the ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, Transplants, Fibromyalgia and Mood communities…with more to come.  We are proud to feature events such as The National MS Society‘s “Walk MS” series, ALS Association’s “Walk to Defeat ALS” series, Parkinson’s Unity Walk, and events run by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (just to name …

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