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!
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 called The Patient Voice (starting with inpatient therapy for people with Mood conditions). Check out highlights from all these programs on these videos from the Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Mood communities.
Many of our members have also become fans of PatientsLikeMe on Facebook. Here are a few quotes posted to our Facebook page in ’09:
“I find this site so beneficial in looking for the tools to cope with the disease. People post research and real-life patient experiences of current trials and treatments. Hope is a major focus of PLM and I encourage others to join. We are strong in numbers and we have a voice.”
“PLM is a wonderful way to express what and how to live with this disease. It has changed my life for the better, have met wonderful individuals and we have shared, cried and grown by reaching out and expressing from our hearts, have made wonderful friends and have learned so much.”
This year our ever-growing research team continued their analysis of the real-world data being shared by patients like you. Awarded the inaugural JMIR award at Medicine 2.0, the PatientsLikeMe research team published pieces on compulsive gambling in patients with Parkinson’s disease in Movement Disorders, expanding the gold standard rating scale in advanced ALS in European Journal of Neurology, and “The power of social networking in medicine” in the highly respected journal Nature Biotechnology.
Throughout the year, the team has also shared insights via videos (like this series on the history of ALS or a recap of a study on the antidepressant Amitriptyline) and various presentations (such as an overview of our work at the at Eurordis AGM in Athens and updates on our lithium study at the International ALS/MND Symposium). In addition to working on the development of our new communities, the team took additional steps to incorporate genetics into the PatientsLikeMe platform. By participating in new partner studies (such as 23andMe and NEALS) and utilizing new product upgrades, including the launch of the Genetic Search Engine, patients are learning more about their condition and coming closer to answering the question: “Given my status, what is the best outcome I can expect to achieve, and how do I get there?”
Keep your eyes out for more to come in 2010 as our R&D team rolls out more insights and outcomes measurements (like the Quality of Life scale in HIV), more improvements to the PatientsLikeMe platform, and cutting edge research in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
The Business Side
As Ben said in a recent blog post, “we can’t have a business without you [the patient] and our communities can’t exist to help patients without a business.” Throughout the year, the PatientsLikeMe executive team traveled around the world to present to industry partners, researchers, healthcare professionals and government leaders about the power of real-world patient data-sharing. Here are some highlights from ’09:
- Partnerships: Earlier 2009, PatientsLikeMe announced partnerships with biopharma leader UCB to launch an epilepsy community next year and personal genomics company 23andMe to help people with Parkinson’s.
- Government: Piloted in our MS community this year, PatientsLikeMe members now have the ability to voluntarily report adverse events directly to the FDA; in fact, Jamie recently presented about adverse event reporting at an open FDA hearing on the “Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools.” PatientsLikeMe was also one of the collaborating organizations responsible for writing the Declaration of Health Data Rights and launching HealthDataRights.org this past June. Finally, Jamie testified before the National Committee for Health and Vital Statistics, and gave an exciting rapid-fire presentation on the future of medicine at the Gov 2.0 Summit.
- Innovation: As a leader in Health 2.0, PatientsLikeMe executives are often asked to speak at various industry events. Check out photos of Ben speaking at The National Summit and stay tuned for videos from Jamie’s presentation at TEDMED and David’s presentation at Bil:Pil. You can also tune in to our live event tweets on the PatientsLikeMe Twitter account in 2010.
- Media Highlights: PatientLikeMe members, data and executives were also featured in media mentions throughout 2009, including WIRED, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Fox Business Live, Newsweek, New York Times, as well as Seed magazine, Nature Biotechnology and Neurology Today.
Happy New Year!
– The PatientsLikeMe Team