Mental Health

PatientsLikeMe Acquires Online Pain Management Company, ReliefInsite

Today’s news release announcing acquisition of ReliefInsite.  Want to receive future announcements?  Sign up for our RSS feed on the press page. – – – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PATIENTSLIKEME ACQUIRES ONLINE PAIN MANAGEMENT COMPANY, RELIEFINSITE 20,000 Patients Reporting Moderate to Severe Pain on PatientsLikeMe Cambridge, MA and New York City, NY – February 16, 2010 – Today, PatientsLikeMe, the leading online community for patients with life-changing diseases, announces the acquisition of ReliefInsite, a pioneering online pain management company. “Right now, there are more than 20,000 patients on PatientsLikeMe experiencing real pain,” says Ben Heywood, President and Co-founder of PatientsLikeMe.  “By acquiring ReliefInsite, we can improve the way we help patients effectively manage their pain.” Conceived by founder Fred Eberlein in 2000, ReliefInsite’s patented online pain management technology developed into a secure HIPAA-compliant platform designed to help patients monitor their pain levels and share that information directly with their doctors. “I’ve spent more than a decade inventing and advancing the technology platform at ReliefInsite to help patients manage their pain and improve the patient-doctor relationship,” says Eberlein.  “I’m excited this work has led me to my new home at PatientsLikeMe, where we can work together to better align industry’s interests with …

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A Year in Review: PatientsLikeMe in 2009

As 2009 comes to an end, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, partners and general fans for another great year.   Here’s a recap of some of the exciting happenings at PatientsLikeMe these past 12 months.  Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Community Milestones This year, the 15+ disease communities at PatientsLikeMe became an online home to more than 50,000 members.   The fibromyalgia community was expanded this past fall to include patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and we announced a new community scheduled to launch early next year for people with epilepsy.  In addition to celebrating our communities’ awareness days and months within the site and right here on the blog (including Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, MS and PD Awareness Months, National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day), many of our members also participated on PatientsLikeMe teams in walk/run efforts to raise awareness and money in the name of their disease.  Congrats to the 40+ teams walking at events to support non-profit organizations like ALS Association, National MS Society, NAMI, Parkinson’s Alliance, APDA, and the MS Society of Canada. The real-time sharing and learning happening on PatientsLikeMe was also highlighted in the report series …

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The Patient Voice – Loud and Clear

We are excited to present the first member video for the PatientsLikeMe Mood community and what better way to kick it off than with one that represents the voice of the patient. In June, we launched The Patient Voice with the inaugural report on inpatient therapy, a topic often discussed by our Mood community members.  At the time of the report, 63% of patients on our site reported an efficacy of “moderate” or “major” for inpatient therapy. Many patients have already benefited from the information in the report, so we decided to create a video that highlights our patient members’ tips and experiences. Check it out on our YouTube or Facebook page, but if you visit the latter don’t forget to become our fan! If you want to know more about patients’ experiences with inpatient therapy, you can download the full report here. It includes even more tips and personal stories, interesting facts about the PatientsLikeMe community and a worksheet that will help you make the most out of your hospital stay. Of course, none of this would have been possible if patients like you were not willing to share. We are always eager to hear what you have to …

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Sharing Is A Right As Well

We do not live our lives alone. We live our lives in collaboration with others. We communicate our needs and our goals, and together we work to achieve them. This is exceptionally true for families and individuals dealing with illness. Whether you’re dealing with depression, or pain, or perhaps the fear and stigma of HIV, or the impairment that comes from MS, Parkinson’s or ALS, what helps us the most is when those around us reach out and share their support and advice. You would think that your ability to share would be as much your right as speech, but is it? It’s not clear that is true in healthcare today, nor is it clear that such a right will be protected tomorrow. Privacy is also a right – a right to not share what you do not want shared. It’s a fair and just expectation that the doctors and clinicians you employ to support you in your illness will not share your information without your permission. Today, I fear that privacy has become much more than a right; it has become a goal. When that happens, people begin to find ways to make it difficult to share in the …

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The Patient Voice: Interview with Mountabora (Mood Conditions Community)

Yesterday, we announced a new report called The Patient Voice for Inpatient Therapy, which highlights patients’ top tips for having a positive inpatient therapy experience.  Maureen Oakes, community manager for PatientsLikeMe Mood Conditions Community (for people with depression and other mood conditions), recently interviewed 3-star member, Mountabora, about her experiences with hospitalization.   Here’s what she had to say: (Maureen) You note in your member profile that you have been hospitalized a few times. What were those experiences like? (Mountabora) Being in a psychiatric hospital is kind of like being at summer camp. You’re away from home, living in close quarters with strange people, and participating in structured group activities which may or may not have a purpose. There are a lot of rules, and you lose privileges if you don’t follow them. You have to get up way too early in the morning and eat three meals a day at the cafeteria. There’s a lot of emphasis on learning coping skills, typically through classes and worksheets. There’s also a lot of emphasis on medication; most patients are on at least two or three psychoactive drugs. You go to therapy and you see a psychiatrist, but much more often than you …

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Introducing “The Patient Voice” – First up? Inpatient Therapy

Today’s patient has a loud and strong voice.  At PatientsLikeMe, we hear you.  You’re saying, “I know this disease, I know how it acts in the real-world, and it’s time to share that with others.” With thousands of patients sharing data and experiences every day on our site, we’ve decided to launch a report that takes what you, the patient, knows and shares it with you, the patient community at-large.  For obvious reasons, we’re calling it The Patient Voice. The Patient Voice is a collection of wisdom, sentiments and experiences shared by patients like you regarding important issues you face today.  The reports include PatientsLikeMe member tips, suggested checklists and questions to ask yourself, and real-world patient experiences, as well as some fun facts from about the PatientsLikeMe community. The first report is from our Mood Conditions Community, representing patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD and PTSD, on the topic of inpatient therapy (or hospitalization).   It’s a topic that comes up quite a bit in our forum, and patients are openly sharing their positive (and negative) experiences with one another.  We’re now sharing some of the positive experiences with you.  Take a look at the free report and let us …

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Annoyed or Impressed By Your Therapist? PatientsLikeMe Mood Members Chime In

In a recent blog post by New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope, PsychCentral highlights “The 12 Most Annoying Habits of Therapists.”  Launched a year ago this week, our very own Mood community has more than 1,300 patients using “Individual Therapy” as a treatment for their condition.  We asked them to tell us some of the habits they find most annoying and elaborate on the ones outlined by Parker-Pope.  Here’s what they had to say about some of those respect issues: I had a [therapist] fall asleep during the session!  I walked out (without paying of course). My biggest peeve is with therapists who refuse to work in conjunction with my psychiatrist and his diagnosis. I hate it when therapists talk down to me. I’m crazy, not stupid! [Therapists:]  Don’t look at patients as if they’re wacky or as if they’ve just said something wacky.  We are always reading faces and reactions, the last person we need to be judged by is our therapist.  Be mindful of how “tuned in” we are to your body language. I love my current therapist, but…he once took a call in the middle of a session, obviously from a friend or family member (nothing critical), it …

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Happy 1st Anniversary Mood Community!

A year ago today, PatientsLikeMe launched our combined Mood community for patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, obesessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  It was first announced to the world in Thomas Goetz’s article, Practicing Patients, featured in New York Times Magazine. Since then, more than 8,700 patients have joined the community, sharing detailed information about their symptoms, treatments and overall progress to learn more about themselves and others. Besides specific drug therapies (like Clonazepam or Lamotrigine), did you know many patients cite Listening to Music and Journal Writing as top treatments as well?  Check out what they have to say. Do you have problems concentrating?  That’s the number one symptom reported by our members.  Other top symptoms include muscle tension, headaches, back pain and stomach pain. In the coming weeks, we will continue to share some interesting tidbits about the community, including some powerful personal stories straight from our members.  Stay tuned!

PatientsLikeMe and The Power of Peers

Over the weekend, PatientsLikeMe was an exhibitor at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s 2008 National Conference, which took place September 11-14th in Norfolk, Virginia.  The theme was “The Power of Peers.” While I spent most of my time at our sponsor table answering questions about PatientsLikeMe, I overheard other attendees discussing a concept I found very interesting. A talk called “I Am Not My Illness: The Importance of First Person Language” by Stephen Propst prompted a lot of discussion from attendees about the distinction and power of saying “I am bipolar” versus “I have bipolar.” He noted that people with other conditions do not say “I am cancer” or “I am diabetes” and that the language we use has the power to change how we think about the intersection of our health and our identity. As I listened to people hashing out the details and implications of being more thoughtful with our language, I thought more about how it relates to the collective power of peers.  Face to face conversations are a time-tested method for empowering others and making change, but having conversations online can magnify your message far beyond a two person discussion. Having read over 2000 threads …

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PatientsLikeMe Corporate Update: Q1 2008

This month marks the two-year anniversary of our flagship ALS community. It’s amazing to reflect on what we’ve achieved in just two short years. Not only did we build the world’s largest treatment and outcome sharing communities for ALS (1,800+ patients), MS (4,500+ patients) and Parkinson’s (1,300+ patients), but this year we began evolving into the powerful research platform we always envisioned we could be. At the heart of this research initiative are our new community reports, which analyze the makeup of our patient communities. In January, we released our first MS Community Report covering factors such as first symptoms, age of diagnosis, disease type, etc. Recently we released our ALS Community Report, with the Parkinson’s Community Report to follow shortly. You can find the much-anticipated results on the blog as well as the ALS forum. But that’s just the beginning. Your commitment to collaborative learning has now driven our evolution to the next level. On March 7th, we launched the ALS Lithium Study. As co-founder Jamie Heywood wrote in a recent blog entry, “Today, we allow patients to begin to answer how to treat ALS.” What could be more central to our mission than that? We are delighted to …

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