Clinical Crowd-Sourcing is emerging as the future of medicine and healthcare technologies. The medical field is always looking for new methods to provide better, and less expensive care for their patients. One method that has become more common is the use of clinical crowd-sourcing. The influence of crowd-sourcing in healthcare can be seen in eight categories.

According to MedCity News.com these eight categories of Clinical Crowd-Sourcing are:

  • Clinical Innovation
  • Virtual Visits
  • Caregiver Connectedness
  • EMR and Practice Management
  • Collaborative Asset Consumption
  • Data Visualization and Sharing
  • Collaborative Learning, Sharing and Social Benefit
  • Disease Surveillance

New Opportunities for Clinical Crowd-Sourcing

In the medical field, crowd-sourcing has the potential to provide benefits for professionals and the patients they treat. These benefits are starting to be seen in the treatment of rare diseases, the development of medicines, and making research easier and more ethical.

GeneMatcher allows a clinician to enter a newly found gene mutation in a database to search for other clinicians in the world who work with patients who have mutations in the same gene.

The use of crowd-sourcing is providing new opportunities is in the treatment of rare diseases. A major obstacle in the treatment of rare diseases, are the thousands that have been identified with many more are being added each year. According to globalgenes.org, there are approximately 7,000 rare diseases that have already been identified. “In the United States a condition is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 persons combined in a particular rare disease group.” Crowd-sourcing can assist researchers in identifying these diseases.

Traditional treatment methods often make it difficult to connect symptoms with a diagnosis. Crowd-sourcing can be an effective tool for connecting physicians treating individuals with rare or undiagnosed diseases. In a case highlighted by CNN, crowd-sourcing was able to connect two physicians with two patients that had similar gene mutations. This connection resulted in the identification of a new disease. An online program called GeneMatcher, helped aid in the connection. GeneMatcher allows a clinician to enter a newly found gene mutation in a database to search for other clinicians in the world who work with patients who have mutations in the same gene.

Influence on the Biomedical Industry

One area that crowd-sourcing is proving to be particularly valuable is in the development of new medicines. According to openhealthnews.com, pharmaceutical companies have only begun to utilize the possibilities of clinical crowd-sourcing for research and development. People are increasingly using technology to monitor their health and are more willing to share their information with researchers. This innovative connection between individuals and researchers through the use of clinical crowd-sourcing, can also decrease the cost of conducting clinical trials. This is accomplished through decreasing the cost of labor.

Along with decreasing costs, crowd-sourcing can provide greater access. Conducting research through the process of Data Mining allows researchers to access larger amounts of data than traditional research methods. In a study also referenced by openhealthnews.com researchers analyzed 82 million drug queries from 6 million web searches in 2010. The study explored the two drugs, paroxetine and pravastatin interacting negatively and causing hyperglycemia. “The results confirmed that patients who took both drugs at the same time were more likely to search for hyperglycemia-related terms compared to those who searched for only one of the drugs.” Researchers would not realistically reach those numbers using traditional research methods.

Management decisions are improved through Data Mining by identifying tends in the operation of medical facilities. The information can reveal trends such as risk of death after surgery, in hospital mortality, and length of stay. Identifying these trends can greatly improve the management of hospital resources. This can improve the overall service provided to the customer.

Beyond research, healthcare can benefit from data mining in the form of a fraud detection, improved management decisions, and more affordable healthcare Services. In a study done by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Data Mining is used in the detection of fraud by identifying unusual behavior, fraudulent claims, and inappropriate prescriptions.

Management decisions are improved through Data Mining by identifying tends in the operation of medical facilities. The information can reveal trends such as risk of death after surgery, in hospital mortality, and length of stay. Identifying these trends can greatly improve the management of hospital resources. This can improve the overall service provided to the customer.

The use of Data Mining can also aid in the improvement of customer relations. It helps to manage the customer relationship by using improved ethical research to create a customer oriented view, instead of product oriented view. According to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, this shift in orientation can improve relationships with physicians which improves hospital quality and profitability.

Industry Applications of Clinical Crowd-Sourcing

Medical companies are already using crowd-sourcing to its advantage. CrowdMed for example, is an online company that is designed to connect patients and Physicians. The company assist patients who privately submit their symptoms of their rare diseases along with background information, and tests they have taken. This allows doctors to collaborate on cases and use online predictive technology. CrowdMed is hoping to use “patented predictive technology” along with crowd-sourcing to reduce costs and identify undiagnosed illnesses that have stumped medical professionals.

Learn more

The 8 categories of clinical crowd-sourcing in healthcare

http://medcitynews.com/2015/01/8-categories-crowdsourcing-healthcare/?rf=1

Rare Diseases: Facts and Statistics

https://globalgenes.org/rare-diseases-facts-statistics/

New crowdsourced sites for rare diseases.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/29/health/rare-diseases-matchmaker/

The Growing Trend of Clinical Research Crowdsourcing

http://www.openhealthnews.com/articles/2015/growing-trend-clinical-research-crowdsourcing

Data Mining for Healthcare Management

https://www.siam.org/meetings/sdm11/dmhm.pdf

Other companies have been using crowd-sourcing techniques to find new investor revenue streams. Companies have been putting on crowd-source marketing campaigns for new products or services. The advantage of this is that it simultaneously helps create awareness about the product or service to the public, while being funded by them at the same time! These crowd-sourcing fundraising campaigns help companies amass the cash-flow to create their new service or product, and they can gauge the public’s response to the product/service before development, based on the crowd-sourcing campaign’s success. Logistically, this helps companies cut down on advertising costs, increase cash flow, and experiment with products/services without commiting millions of dollars upfront.

While the use of crowd-sourcing is impacting many industries, in the medical field it is providing opportunities that were previously unavailable. Improved diagnostics and treatment will continue to expand its use. Growing interest in the use of Crowd-Sourcing is attracting the interest of major corporations. According to MedCity News.com, money is currently entering the crowd-sourcing market faster than social media at its peak. With this money comes the influence of the investors, the healthcare industry will certainly follow along.