Ben Heywood, co-founder and President of PatientsLikeMe, recently participated in live chat session (see transcript) hosted by the World Health Care Congress. I was particularly interested in his several comments related to the value of his site to disease management programs now sponsored by health plans and other health care organizations.
I think one of the areas we have expanded into earlier then we thought was in the payer/health plan space. Payers are looking at PatientsLikeMe as a lighter-weight disease management platform. A peer-based DM, sort of like an online version of AA (the most successful peer-based DM program around) . . .
The discussions we are having is around offering PatientsLikeMe as a service to their (health plan) members – we have seen some strong anecdotal evidence that patients are using healthcare more efficiently by learning from other patients experiences and data.
We think that using our site makes patients more compliant – we are working on several pilots to prove this out. . .
Our business model is really about engaging industry into these communities – so one consideration as we look at new diseases is for whom this will help make better products. First and foremost, we need to make communities that help patients – so that is always our first consideration. . .
We get a lot of amazing feedback from out users from… depression patients who say using the site keeps them out of the hospital to a patient in MS that said that the site saved her life as her doc over-prescribed one of her medication. . .