PatientsLikeMe has, since before we first featured them at Health 2.0 in 2007, been the patient online community continually pushing the boundaries for patients with rare diseases. It started with MS, ALS and Parkinson’s and slowly moved towards mental health. And along the way PLM developed some of the most unique reporting tools both for patients and for third party (read: pharma) researchers. However, it always stayed away from the really big disease categories, like diabetes. No longer. As of today anyone can start a community for any condition at PatientsLikeMe. As of right now there are 182 patients with type 2 diabetes. Of course this is minuscule compared to Diabetic Connect or dLife, but given PLM’s reputation and press coverage, the gloves are well off in the patient community contest.
When I first started writing about the potential of patients interacting with other patients, some of the doctors who read my works scoffed at the idea. They doubted patients interacting would have any medical benefits; and even went as far as to suggest this was bad for health since patients might pass on misinformation.
Fast forward a few years and patients can crowd source information and learn things about their conditions that their physician would never have time to discuss. This type of interaction will be especially good for accumulating information for post-marketing research on drug side-effects.