Epilepsy

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.

Drug Safety: It’s About More Than Just Compliance

Engaging in social media presents a number of uncertainties to pharmaceutical companies. In a world where much of the medical dialog has moved online, these uncertainties have emerged due to absent or unclear guidelines from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), privacy and regulatory concerns about engaging directly with patients, and the potential for significant consequences. When I recently spoke before the FDA, we highlighted how our pharmaceutical partners are taking a leadership role by navigating through these issues. In so doing, our partners are learning about real world experiences of patients and how to meet their adverse event reporting responsibilities in the PatientsLikeMe Epilepsy, Organ Transplant and Multiple Sclerosis communities. “…as the FDA contemplates the Internet and social media as an emerging source of drug safety data, it is essential to consider what characteristics distinguish a social media site as being capable of contributing to drug safety in a meaningful, computable and quantifiable manner.” Meaningful, computable and quantifiable are three words that underscore all that we do at PatientsLikeMe. This includes the creation of our patient safety program. Early on, we approached patient safety proactively with a pilot program in our Multiple Sclerosis Community. Launched in 2009, this program allows …

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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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It’s Official: Sharing Health Data Improves Outcomes

(Listen here to the PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast on this topic) Last week the PatientsLikeMe R&D team published a study entitled “Sharing Health Data for Better Outcomes on PatientsLikeMe” in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), the leading open access peer-reviewed journal on health care in the Internet age. The study aimed to find out direct from our users how they were using the site and whether the information they’d learned was helping to influence their interactions with healthcare providers, their decision-making, and ultimately their outcomes. Because JMIR is an open-access journal, you can download the whole paper for free here, but here are some of the highlights from the 1,323 patients that completed the survey: Almost all of our patients (94%, N=1,249) were diagnosed when they joined the site; an important factor in joining a community of “patients like me” The majority of members (72%, N=952) agreed that the site was helpful for learning about a symptom they have experienced (check out our symptom reports to see what they’re learning!) Many respondents (57%, N=757) agreed that the site had helped them to understand side effects of their treatments (check out our treatment reports to find out more!) and 42% (N=559) …

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Know Thy Self – Measuring Your Quality of Life

Last Fall, PatientsLikeMe introduced our Quality of Life (QoL) tool which is displayed on the profiles of members in the HIV community.  By answering a few questions, patients can see how HIV is impacting them – physically, socially and mentally.  Today, this same QoL measure is used by thousands of patients across the HIV community and other communities, such as Epilepsy and Organ Transplants. PatientsLikeMe Research Scientist, Michael Massagli, recently spoke with us in a PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast interview about the goal, outcomes and benefits to measuring your quality of life. Listen here: “[In the HIV community], we’ve taken a look at the relationship between QoL and CD4 level and find the average score of patients with CD4 below 200 is significantly lower for physical, mental and social well-being.  People with the most comprised immune systems have worse quality of life, across all 3 domains, than other patients… “ To date, several of our members have at least three QoL scores on their profile.  Mike says, “Multiple uses of the QoL instrument by the same person over time helps researchers determine how small a change in QoL scores is meaningful to patients or important enough to evaluate how a treatment is …

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PatientsLikeMe – Out & About and OnCall

The PatientsLikeMe team has been traveling around the globe recently talking about the power of real-world patient data in changing healthcare.  You may have heard about our executives at industry conferences, government hearings, or even on TV.  Highlights below. Last month, PatientsLikeMe Co-founder and President Ben Heywood was on Fox Business News talking about how industry is engaging directly with patients and tuning into the “unvarnished truth” patients are sharing about their real-world disease experiences. Watch the latest business video at <a href=”http://video.foxbusiness.com/” mce_href=”http://video.foxbusiness.com/”>video.foxbusiness.com</a> Earlier in March, we launched our PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast series to bring to you our leaders’ perspectives on topics that impact you, the patient, and the healthcare industry as a whole.  We kicked off the series with Ben’s interview regarding Fast Company recognition.  You can check out that one and the rest of our podcasts on iTunes or click on the links below to start listening to a specific interview.  As podcast host Aaron Fleishman says, “thanks for stopping by and listening and we’ll talk to you next time.” Listen | Ben Heywood (Co-founder, President) answers questions about the launch of our new organ transplants community and our collaboration with Novartis Listen | David S. Williams III …

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Where are the Cures?
An interview with Myelin Repair Foundation

PatientsLikeMe partner, Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), is a nonprofit organization devoted to reducing the time it takes to discover and develop treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.  Recently, the MRF launched a campaign called “Where are the Cures?” – a site dedicated to a greater understanding of the barriers slowing the discovery and development of new patient treatments in all diseases.  PatientsLikeMe co-founder Jamie Heywood asked Scott Johnson, President and Founder of MRF, about the campaign. (Jamie) What’s the big idea behind Where are the Cures? (Scott) The big idea? Finding a way or ways to accelerate the development of new patient treatments.Developing new medicines or treatments for complex diseases is extraordinarily difficult. But it is not impossible and it should be happening at a faster rate than it has been. I believe the single most rate-limiting factor is the failure to move promising scientific discoveries made in academic laboratories into the commercial development pipeline.The problem is fairly simple. On the front end of the value chain, academic laboratories are spending upwards of $40 billion a year in government and non-profit dollars to make basic scientific discoveries that may be potential drug targets. On the back end, the pharma industry …

Where are the Cures?
An interview with Myelin Repair Foundation
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