jamie heywood

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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“To Measure Is To Know”

Always check primary sources…. This was the title of a brief message sent to me from Paul Wicks, our head of research here at PatientsLikeMe.  He was referring to a quote I have used as my email signature for the last few years; he had discovered I had wrongly attributed it to Archimedes. “To measure is to know” is the quote in question.  I originally sourced it when searching on Google for quotes on measurement, which is one of my passions.  I believe I found it on this website where it is listed among a number of business quips. The irony is not lost on me that the Internet fooled one of the founders of a company that sells scientific data collected on the Internet into using a false reference. I suppose it is possible that Archimedes, as one of the founders of modern science, believed in the value of measurement and might have said some Greek variation of the phrase.  Unfortunately for me though, a reasonably extensive search does not indicate there is any evidence he actually uttered those words or anything like them.  “To measure is to know” perhaps most appropriately belongs to Lord Kelvin and a search …

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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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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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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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Who’s #2 in Healthcare Innovation?
You guessed it – PatientsLikeMe

It’s been an exciting few months for PatientsLikeMe.  Here’s a quick recap… Today, Fast Company released its annual  ranking of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World.  PatientsLikeMe made #23 on the list alongside big league companies like Facebook, Disney, Novartis and Amazon.  PatientsLikeMe was also named the second most innovative company in healthcare, behind powerhouse General Electric (GE).  Read our news release about it here and the magazine article featuring one of our MS patients. To commemorate this honor, we’ve interviewed our President and Co-founder, Ben Heywood, in our first-ever PatientsLikeMe podcast (hosted by our own Aaron Fleishman).  Listen in! Speaking of innovation, what do Bill Gates, Al Gore, Steven Hawking, Goldie Hawn, David Blaine and PatientsLikeMe Co-founder Jamie Heywood have in common? All of these innovators have graced the stage at a TED event. A nonprofit that brings together innovative people from “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” TED’s mission is to simply spread ideas.  Isn’t that another way of saying “share?”  We do love that concept.  Here’s Jamie at TEDMED (the healthcare-focused TED event) sharing our vision on the future of medicine in his presentation, “The Big Idea My Brother Inspired.” Finally, we’d like to give a shout …

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You guessed it – PatientsLikeMe
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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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PatientsLikeMe @ The 20th International ALS/MND Symposium in Berlin

The 20th International Symposium on ALS/MND took place (December 8th-10th) in Berlin, Germany. This is the 4th ALS Symposium attended by PatientsLikeMe, and certainly the most exciting in terms of new findings. The annual symposium is a tremendous opportunity for researchers from around the world to meet and share new developments – it’s the big event for the ALS research community and attracts scientists from across the globe. PatientsLikeMe Chairman and Co-Founder Jamie Heywood and Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan, PhD presented three posters at the conference with some of the findings we’ve generated this year. The highlight was a poster describing our analysis of the patient-led study of lithium carbonate. Using new techniques that compared patients on lithium to carefully matched control patients, we determined that the drug had no effect on the progression of ALS. The poster was well received with good feedback from experienced experts in the field, and we are currently working on writing up a full analysis and description of our techniques. Our second poster described a small survey we did about emotional lability, also known as pseudobulbar affect (PBA). We found that although many ALS patients suffer from unusual or uncontrollable outbursts of laughter, crying, …

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Bil:Pil Conference Presentation on PatientsLikeMe

A few weeks ago, I gave a 30-minute talk about PatientsLikeMe at Bil:Pil, the unconference following TEDMED in San Diego (where Jamie Heywood made an amazing presentation, by the way). The topic of my presentation was “A Healthy Mix with an Economic Twist.” I focused on how difficult it can be to make money in the Health 2.0 space because companies must balance patient needs with commercial reality to keep the doors open. Central to that discussion for PatientsLikeMe are our core values. As I’ve discussed many times before, it is our imperative to keep patients first in all of our endeavors, including building the revenue base for the company, because we must honor the trust patients give us in sharing their deep health information. There was a mini-flurry of Twitter activity during the talk as well. Check out some of the thoughts from leaders in the space to the right. What do you think? Video from Bil:Pil will be available in the coming weeks. Kudos to Jonathan Sheffi and team for organizing a great unconference!

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