The Wikipedia of Medicine?!

Two people over a laptop The internet is great for a lot of things: finding recipes, reading the news, watching cat videos, etc. But, how about searching for medical information? How about for getting a diagnosis? How about for getting a diagnosis from lay people? How about for getting a rare diagnosis from lay people? Getting uncomfortable? I am.

The new website, called CrowdMed, allows individuals (for free) to ask the collective on the website for help in finding a diagnosis (or, in other words, to “crowd source” a diagnosis). Many individuals offer a reward (most average about $200 –and CrowdMed takes 10%) and the site requires a $50 deposit that is refunded once the patient reports back with the best diagnosis/solution(s). The collective consists of medical professionals and students, as well as lay people. The organization says it’s not trying to take the place of your doctor, instead, it views itself as a “second opinion.” Needless to say, we (and many others) have some major concerns.

These concerns include:
-Individuals sharing private/personal information that, in the life of the internet, can never be “taken back.”
-Lay people playing doctor. While I would guess that most everyone has good intentions, that does not a doctor make.
-Group-think.
-People who do not go (or delay going) to a physician for a proper diagnosis.

That said, the website says that they’ve had approximately 200 cases submitted so far with an 80% solution-rate. Impressive? I don’t know.

Are you a health care provider thinking about participating in this or a similar type of website/problem-solving? We, of course, suggest proceeding cautiously. The website has a nice FAQ section, but we believe you still should check with your medical malpractice insurance agent about any liability you might assume by participating. Again, this is new territory and it always makes us cautious.

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