It is likely that many medical professionals will bristle at the idea of crowdsourcing diagnoses. After all, it takes years of training and lots of practice to become a good doctor, so having a bunch of people with suspect credentials expound theories on a website is an insult to the profession. However, the creator of CrowdMed believes that relying on the traditional system can sometimes leave people waiting for years to be diagnosed and saddle them with hefty bills in the process. CrowdMed, which went live only last month, aims to tap the collective wisdom of the crowd to help people get diagnosed, Fast Company has reported.
Jared Heyman, the founder of CrowdMed, was prompted to consider alternatives to the traditional route because of his sister Carly. Her condition went undiagnosed for three years although two dozen doctors racked their brains to come up with the answer. Meanwhile, Carly was stuck in bed and the wait cost over $100,000 until she finally got a diagnosis.
CrowdMed employs the gamification principle, with people posting their "cases" and "medical detectives" sinking their teeth into the puzzle. Participation is rewarded by points and positive diagnoses give detectives more credit. The submissions for a case are filtered to the three most likely answers and the patient can then present the diagnoses to their doctor for further assessment.
As a test, Heyman put his sister's symptoms and history on the website and the crowd solved the mystery in three days. While some doctors may take the idea as an insult to professional medicine, there are also many who would be fine with it, Heyman says. He notes that some doctors admit to having patients with greater knowledge of their condition than the professional treating them. All in all, Heyman hopes that CrowdMed will be accepted as an educational tool with elements of fun thrown into the mixture.