Crowd Sourcing Healthcare

June 2, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist wrote about the emerging practice of asking millions of strangers on the internet for help with medical problems:

  • There are at least 7,000 “rare” diseases – those that affect fewer than 200,000 people.
  • Doctors cannot possibly be aware of, and know how to diagnose all of them.
  • Even if they’re farsighted enough to know that they’re unable to diagnose a particular condition, they may not know who to refer a patient to.
  • In Europe 40% of those afflicted with rare diseases get an incorrect diagnosis at first.
  • Enter the crowdsourcing healthcare site CrowdMed. The site allows users to post a detailed list of their aliments and ask for a diagnosis.
  • Patients can offer monetary rewards to garner more attention.
  • Those who contribute are medical students, retired doctors, and other laymen who enjoy a challenge.
  • Those who provide a correct diagnosis rise in the website’s rankings and gain more prominence.
  • One analysis indicates that 80% of the suggestions offered through the site were accurate.
  • Surprisingly the most accurate diagnoses don’t always come from those with the best credentials.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, AI systems such as IBM’s Watson are also entering into the healthcare diagnosis business by using big data to come up with suggestions.
  • It remains to be seen if crowdsourcing or artificial intelligence will provide the most accurate medical evaluations in the future.

Read more in the truly excellent Economist over here.

Source: The Economistc