Treato and Medify: two ways of looking at patient reported information

I have come across two different ways of looking at patient reported information in the last 24 hours that I would like to share with you.

Both have their merits, but to me one looks like the past, and one looks like the future.

Medify aims to ‘help you and your family more easily navigate, stay current, and manage the often complex process of finding answers, while empowering you to get help from those you trust most’.

The ‘evidence from real patients’ the platform presents allows users to hear the patient voice indirectly, mediated as it is through Medify’s analysis of research studies by medical researchers about patients:


Medify envisions the benefit its service confers upon patients being transferred in the following manner:


Whether patients either discover or use the platform in this manner, and whether these behavioural expectations on Medify’s part map on to patterns of use in practice remain to be determined.

Medify’s home page contains a search bar:


Results are displayed in the following manner:


Treato aims to ‘enable people to understand the real life experiences of other patients, letting them make better informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their loved ones’.

Unlike Medify, Treato allow users to hear the patient voice directly. The data it presents is filtered by search restriction rather than the analyses of medical research, and as such is structured rather than mediated.

Treato’s simple homepage is effectively a custom patient reported information search engine:


Here is what a search on COPD resolved to at the time of writing. Note the supplementary search refinements in the top right hand corner that Treato offers automatically on the basis of the search term entered (as an aside, Treato’s success in filtering out the high level of spam in the social health conversation is impressive):


Clicking on the ‘compare drugs’ button causes the main pane to resolve to a collapsible medication comparator, with tabs for drug comparison (default) and drug switching, with an additional in-frame filter.

Note also the social optimisation via Google+ and facebook, although intriguingly not Twitter. Seeing how much conversation Twitter drives across the Social Web, it is to be hoped that this sharing option (perhaps with Tumblr and other drivers of interest and awareness) will be added in due course.


Immediately beneath the comparisons, users encounter recent examples of the actual discussions that Treato has searched. Compellingly, a link is provided to the conversation’s point of origin so that the passive searcher is one click away from becoming an active participant:

patient reported information

Of the two platforms, Treato seems to me to capture more of the Spirit of the Age:

  • Treato offers direct access to patient reported information; Medify offers indirect access to patient reported information.
  • Treato views patient reported information as dynamic: something to be engaged with and participated in rather than analysed, mediated by medical research, and only then delivered back to the patient in the manner Medify does.
  • Treato looks forward to a future where patient reported information will actively inform every stage of the drug development and licensing process in real-time rather than be considered in isolation in the historic moment of a particular scholarly or clinical context.

In my opinion, the drug development process is more likely to evolve socially and incorporate elements of Treato’s functionality and feedback loop potential than it is to retro-fit medical research with the appearance of social engagement without manifesting any of its defining characteristics in the way that Medify currently does.

Hat tip to Ritesh Patel and Gideon Mantel for bringing these platforms to my attention.

8 thoughts on “Treato and Medify: two ways of looking at patient reported information

    • Hi Carmen

      Welcome back to STweM, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      I think you identify a key benefit here in listening directly to the patient voice. We’re just beginning to appreciate the significance of the changes in communication that are taking place within the health conversation, and I think we’re all going to continue writing and talking about this until it becomes the norm.

      And it will. 🙂

  1. You nailed the issue on the head, Andrew! Very insightful analysis. If one is to support patients by *insights* into other patients’ views, they should be authentic and not processed. If one wants to *add* “objective” perspectives, than better do so directly in providing the information one thinks is relevant. But surely, Do Not mix perspectives! Transparancy will be lost and hence trust is lost.
    Again I think a lot of “Information providers” do start from the assumption that there’s just one “right” information to be given instantly. Although that may be so from a scientific perspective, it never will be so from a patient perspective! The difference? Data becomes information with meaning to a person through a process that we use to call learning!
    So the best attitude in my view to provide information is to allow for learning processes by patients.

    • Hi Rob

      Thank you once again for adding such value to this post – and indeed to this blog, over time – with your insightful comments.

      The closer we listen to the patient voice, and the more the patient voice is not only heard but responded to, incorporated, and acted upon, the better the outcome for everyone involved.

      • Superb analysis Andrew. I completely agree. The seal on the deal for me with Treato was when you said “the passive searcher is one click away from becoming an active participant.” So often tools that are seeking user participation and user-generated content forget to make participation easy and to enticing.

        I, too, second Rob’s addendum to your analysis and your response to it. Let the patient voice be heard, responded to and respected.

        • Thanks once again for your having taken the time to comment, Colleen. Yes, Treato does have that contemporary, connected feel to it. As well as being a powerful resource in its own right, as an adjunct to patient communities like CureTogether it constitutes another potent tool in the patient toolbox.

  2. Andrew … first, thanks for the coverage and the continued exposure of companies that are innovating in this space! We are impressed with the progress that Treato, and other innovators, are making in connecting people with common conditions to share experiences and learn more about their options.

    Medify is taking an approach which we believe is complimentary, not competitive, with Treato. We are founded on the premise that accessing and understanding the scientific evidence behind choices that people are making with their doctors is as important as learning what other people are experiencing and saying about those choices.

    Medical information is complex; the search for it shouldn’t have to be … our goal is to help bring this to reality for the millions of people who are facing life-altering decisions.

    • Hi Lisa

      Thank you for your gracious reply.

      My observations revolve around the variance between the passive (Medify) and active (Treato) patient voice on the two platforms I consider above.

      Reading your strapline ‘evidence from real patients’, I suppose I was expecting Medify to offer direct access to patient voices rather than ‘hearing’ them (and are we really hearing ‘them’ at all?) through the mediation of ‘studies written *by* medical researchers *about* real patients.’

      I hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but I felt a little short-changed by the product itself solely as a consequence of the expectations that the promotional language engendered an expectation of compared to what is actually delivered.

      Chronology is also an issue here. Whilst platforms offering unmediated access to the patient voice have the potential to present conversations in near real-time, platforms offering mediated access by definition are going to have a (potentially considerable) lag between collection, analysis and publication, only subsequent to which they become available to you.

      In essence, I suppose real-time, unmediated, direct access to the patient voice looks most like the future to me on the basis of:

      1) an expectation that patient reported information will begin to *inform* the science you speak of much earlier in the drug development process than it currently does when we are able to manipulate big data in a more effective way, and regulatory issues that this may pose have been resolved (or circumvented, which seems more likely)

      2) a personal belief that the peer-review of scholarly communications (and that includes the communication of science to non-scientists) will move from a filter>publish to a publish>filter model, and that this could and should include the patient voice.

      3) the co-creation of care, personalised, participatory medicine agenda will both demand and require patient involvement at an earlier stage than the mediated analysis model allows for.

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