Smart Patients is an online platform that connects cancer patients and caregivers, allowing for an exchange of knowledge and support. Co-founded by Gilles Frydman and Roni Zeiger, MD – Google’s former chief health strategist – Smart Patients is a platform where users can share stories about their personal experiences, talk about the current leading research in the field, as well as access a library of clinical trials. By combining a message board community and archive of clinical trials, cancer affected patients, friends and family have an invaluable resource in their own home.
Roni Zeiger describes Smart Patients as “clinical trials search engine meets social networking for cancer.” Not only will this website build a bridge between caregivers and patients, it will serve as a launch pad for further innovations in the healthcare sector, particularly in the way that the healthcare system can learn from patients. The hope is that there will be individualized discussions around each clinical study by people who are affected or hold direct knowledge. By further informing “micro-experts” that are extremely knowledgeable about their disease, the platform can connect these individuals and create a larger pool of information. The foreseeable downside to this could be the possibility for crowds to agree on incorrect ideas or facts. However, Gilles Frydman has been building online cancer communities since the mid-1990s, and notes that the good communities are self-correcting, because they have many active and informed patients who are as motivated as anyone to maintain high quality conversations.
The digitization of healthcare is bringing forth a lot of benefits for all sides of the equation, and there is a lot of pressure for quick implementation by healthcare providers. For example, the Affordable Care Act will penalize hospitals and providers that do not adopt electronic records by 2014. Patients should expect to find doctors, records, diagnostics, treatment options, and prescriptions more accessible. At Oncosec, we are excited to be partnered with Smart Patients, in an attempt to support a positive community that seeks to make patient well being a key component before, during, and after treatment.