In my last column, I discussed the need for a better way of connecting the discrete healthcare-related problems identified by patients and physicians with solvers who might be able to develop a solution – perhaps an immediate fix, perhaps a longer-term effort.
I’m grateful for the volume of feedback received about this idea, which has included specific suggestions from patients; an introduction by several CEOs to a range of relatively-new efforts designed to tackle different key elements of this idea; and a few frustrated entrepreneurs who poignantly describe their struggles trying to change a fairly intransigent system.
A few observations about some of the online patient communities that I’ve encountered: First, there appear to be a number of patient-support (peer-to-peer) communities, both disease specific and more general. Several in the general category (e.g. MDJunction, Inspire, HealingWell) seem at least superficially similar; presumably the user experience depends upon the level of participation within a particular patient community.
Other models seem obviously distinctive: for example, AskaPatient provides fairly detailed patient-submitted reviews of various medications; the prose tends to be a bit less dry than the typical drug label – for example, a recent user of one neuropsychiatric medication reported that “Having an orgasm is like smashing a pimple. I am not sure if I want to continue taking this drug.” Yes, think that one over.Continue reading…