In one of the greatest honors in our young company to date, PatientsLikeMe was featured in today’s New York Times Magazine. The article, entitled Practicing Patients, appropriately discusses the pros and cons associated with sharing data-rich personal health information in an open community.
PatientsLikeMe seeks to go a mile deeper than health-information sites like WebMD or online support groups like Daily Strength. The members of PatientsLikeMe don’t just share their experiences anecdotally; they quantify them, breaking down their symptoms and treatments into hard data. They note what hurts, where and for how long. They list their drugs and dosages and score how well they alleviate their symptoms. All this gets compiled over time, aggregated and crunched into tidy bar graphs and progress curves by the software behind the site. And it’s all open for comparison and analysis. By telling so much, the members of PatientsLikeMe are creating a rich database of disease treatment and patient experience.
With amazing patient successes balanced by medical leaders’ skepticism, author Thomas Goetz strikes a critical chord within the current healthcare debate. Is the American health system broken? Can patients fix it through aggregation of collective experience? Are patients to be trusted to report their own health conditions? What does PatientsLikeMe mean for the medical establishment?
PatientsLikeMe is a tool that allows patients to manage their disease with a sophistication and precision that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. The 7,000 members of PatientsLikeMe, in other words, are beta testers — they may be the vanguard of how we all will care and treat our résumé of chronic diseases.
The article cites the PatientsLikeMe Openness Philosophy; the manifesto that draws our company line in the sand. Openness can lead to better outcomes and accelerate research like never before. This is our goal for PatientsLikeMe. This isn’t health science fiction. It’s happening today with the help of thousands of patients.
So read the article–and join PatientsLikeMe–to see where you stand.