3 posts tagged “working at PatientsLikeMe”

A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Community Manager Jeanette DeVita

Posted August 3rd, 2012 by

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris NecocheaResearch Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton, Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan, Biz Dev’er Arianne Graham and Product Manager Maureen Oakes.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeanette DeVita, who came on board as a Community Manager in February 2011.

PatientsLikeMe Community Manager Jeanette DeVita

1.  What were your first impressions upon joining PatientsLikeMe?

I was very excited to see the job listing for a Community Manager at PatientsLikeMe. I have a background in nonprofits, and I was looking to shift to the for-profit sector. I was thrilled to find a job at a company that was for-profit but with the heart of a nonprofit.

It was clear that the employees at PatientsLikeMe wanted to make a difference in the lives of patients and that was something I wanted to do too. It’s important to me to feel like my work makes the world a better place and working at PatientsLikeMe gives me that feeling.

I was also impressed and excited by the company culture at PatientsLikeMe.  Every Friday there’s a lunchtime presentation and everyone eats together; there are no cubicles, there’s interesting artwork on the walls; teams take meetings sitting on couches together and blow off steam by playing Guitar Hero and ping pong.

2.  Tell us what’s involved in being a PatientsLikeMe Community Manager.

Every day I start by reading my messages from patients who have contacted me on the site. I work on a team of Community Managers with Emma Willey and Liz Morgan, so if I need feedback before working through an issue, I talk to the rest of my team. Then I move on to the forum. I read the new conversations in the communities I moderate, and I tag threads [with a topic category] as I read them so that they are easier for patients to find. I also check out the rest of the site, answer questions about how to find information and try to help patients connect with one another and get their questions answered.

Being a Community Manager is a role that involves wearing a lot of hats. On the site I’m a hostess, a source of information, tech support, librarian, conflict manager and a listening ear. On the larger PatientsLikeMe team, I represent the voice of the patient, and I relay what I learn from patients back to my colleagues.

3.  Congratulations on becoming a mom! Did you manage your health online during your pregnancy? Have you kept up with that since your son was born?

Thanks so much! I started monitoring my health online as I prepared to get pregnant, and I did it through my entire pregnancy. I began with monitoring my temperature and then I kept track of my exercise, my weight, my size and, of course, I kept a close eye on the calendar. Since I suddenly had so many appointments to keep track of, I found myself more reliant than ever on my calendar.

I saw a strong correlation in how I felt with how much walking I did and how much water I drank. By monitoring those two pieces of data I was able to quickly learn that I felt great when I drank 64+ ounces of water a day and walked to and from work.  I felt not so great when I didn’t.

After my son was born, I was glad I had already adjusted to keeping detailed records about myself and my health.  Now I monitor his feedings, sleep and other baby business using an app recommended to me by a friend. It makes it much easier to remember when he last ate when my husband and I both have an app that tells us.  I also continue to keep up with my exercise online and how many steps I take each day. I find it motivating, and I’m hooked on personal data now.

4.  What kind of comments from PatientsLikeMe members really make your day?

I love hearing that a patient’s life has been changed because of PatientsLikeMe. For example, when a patient connects with others like them for the first time; when they find real feedback and experiences from other patients who have already tried a treatment they are considering; or when learn about home modifications or life-changing tools from other patients, I go home feeling great about the work I do. Life can be very lonely, and life with a serious medical condition can be even more isolating. Making that burden a little easier for our users to bear is a great reason to come to work in the morning.

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Interested in making a difference in patients’ lives?  Check out our Careers page to see our current job openings.  Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, PatientsLikeMe is looking for an Analytics Strategist, Marketing Analyst and more at the moment.


A Day in the Life of Biz Dev Team Member Arianne Graham

Posted May 16th, 2012 by

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris NecocheaResearch Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton and Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan. Today we hear from Arianne Graham, a Harvard MBA graduate who joined the business development team in 2010.  What current project is she most excited about?  And how is working at PatientsLikeMe different than her previous healthcare jobs?  Find out that and more in our interview.

1.  What’s it like to be part of the business development team?

When spending time with friends and family or even meeting new people, I’m always excited to answer that small talk question: “What do you do?” I happen to think I have the best job ever.

Arianne Graham, Business Development at PatientsLikeMe

As part of the business development team here at PatientsLikeMe, my colleagues and I work with everyone who cares about patients (including providers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, pharmacies, and many more!). We look at how the real-world data shared by our members can transform their businesses for the benefit of patients everywhere.

Sounds like fun, right? Most of the time, it really is. This is also hard work, though. Sometimes I feel as though the rest of the world is not yet ready to hear the patient’s voice. The truth of each patient does not always fit perfectly inside the constraints of a randomized clinical trial or a research protocol. But it’s here to stay, and we are actively finding ways to layer this emerging data source on top of the world in which we live. That’s reason enough for me to get up every day and come to work with my very talented team.

2.  What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?

I am often the first contact for individuals and organizations that contact us via partners@patientslikeme.com or support@patientslikeme.com. We receive multiple messages a day with ideas regarding how PatientsLikeMe might work with another company or integrate a new technology. It’s up to me to prioritize which opportunities to pursue now given the market landscape, and which to save for later.

One of our most basic and popular services is clinical trial recruiting. On any given day, I have to do something related to one of these campaigns. The members that use PatientsLikeMe are probably more likely than most to be motivated to try investigative therapies, to access better healthcare, or to simply participate in research. Finding the right patients for a study can be so difficult, but thanks to the demographic and health data patients report to us, we can easily let patients know about clinical trials for which they may be eligible.

The Clinical Trial Matching Tool at PatientsLikeMe

The project I am most excited about, however, is a clinical trial of PatientsLikeMe as an intervention. We have partnered jointly with a pharmaceutical company and an integrated payor/health system to empirically test the effects of the website on patient activation and health literacy. Additionally, this is one of the first projects to really integrate PatientsLikeMe into the clinical encounter between doctor and patient. We haven’t publicly announced the details yet, so stay tuned. I can’t wait to tell you more!

3.  How have your parents – who are both doctors – influenced your career?

As the child of two pediatricians, I know I was exposed to the healthcare industry and certainly aware of it more early in life than most people. I noticed and appreciated that they treat their patients as people, not diseases. They remain committed to serving their patients, to helping them get better so they can lead productive lives. For them, the medical field is not so much a job as a calling. I know I felt led to serve, too. Even when I abandoned my pre-med plans in college, I knew that healthcare is where my heart is. I just found another way to pursue it.

I cannot imagine working outside of this industry because it appeals to me on so many levels: I can serve others, and I’ll never get bored. Healthcare is what we used to call in consulting a “big, hairy, ugly.” It is messy and complicated, it affects us all, and there are no clear answers. All of that makes this sector intellectually stimulating and extremely rewarding.

4.  You’ve worked for pharmaceutical companies, a hospital and a consulting firm.  How is working at PatientsLikeMe different?

I think all of my previous work experience has prepared me well because I lean heavily on what I know to be true in healthcare in my current role. While I knew exactly what to expect in pharma, hospitals, and in consulting, PatientsLikeMe has proven to be a bit like the Wild Wild West. We are creating a world that never existed before: where patients take charge, and their real experiences are being integrated into the healthcare system around them. There are absolutely no rules yet. It’s exciting and uncomfortable; inspiring and frustrating. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Interested in making a difference in patients’ lives?  Check out our Careers page to see our current job openings.  Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, PatientsLikeMe is looking for a Marketing Coordinator, Community ModeratorResearch Client Manager and more at the moment.