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:
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.