Crowdsourcing is simple in principle: a group of people share knowledge in order to find a solution to a problem. We discussed crowdsourcing briefly in our last blog post, we will see today how this method is already used to solve other issues related to health. What is really interesting about it, is that it lets people with different ideas and experiences work together and present a new, sometimes amateuristic, but also unexpected point of view.
Crowdsourcing between patients
A notable example of crowdsourcing between patients is the Health Tracking Network. This network was developed to help people from across the world share data and monitor common illnesses like influenza, gastroenteritis or common cold. Its users spend 2-3 minutes per week answering questions about illness symptoms and other topics.
The three main goals of the Health Tracking Network are:
- To identify factors related to common illnesses;
- To promote members’ health by enabling them to track their personal outcomes easily on simple graphs;
- To generate donations to charities chosen by members.
Another example of crowdsourcing between patients is CureTogether. Alexandra Carmichael, a scientist (and also the director of Quantified Self) who is living with chronic pain, created CureTogether in July 2008. This platform helps patients share and track data and exchange experiences. Right now, it offers quantitative information and open infographics on over 500 medical conditions and gathers people from over 110 countries.
Crowdsourcing between health professionals
Not only patients can benefit from crowdsourcing. It can also be extremely helpful between doctors : thanks to joint effort, variety of expertise and collective knowledge, they are able to reach a diagnosis that they would not find otherwise.
Voxmed is a social media platform that allows professionals to share opinions, seek advice and connect with their colleagues. The members can learn about conferences, read about research, post their publications, ask questions, participate in forums, share patient cases and even get paid by industry sponsors for sharing their expertise and participating in surveys.
Medting on the other hand, encourages its members to share not only their experiences but also medical images and videos, in order to build clinical cases online. It allows doctors from all over the world to work together and share knowledge, by offering collaborative workspaces. Until now, 14,819 clinical cases have been registered on Medting and 21,854 multimedia files have been uploaded.
And you, would you like to take part in some health crowdsourcing projects? Would you appeal to crowdsourcing to find a solution to a personal health problem or do you feel that such matters are too private?