Putting Social Networks on Trial

Health Data Management: Tracy Granzyk Wetzel- FEB 1, 2012:

Recruitment of patients to fill clinical trials is a time consuming and project-limiting task required for the completion of a medical study. With advances in information technology being made across all areas of health care-from business practices in the C-suite to patient safety at the bed side, it would be logical to apply similar advances to the clinical trial process.

Patient social health networks have grown in number over the last few years, and as a result, the amount of data collected about disease has been augmented in tandem.

For example, since its inception in 2004, PatientsLikeMe, based in Cambridge, Mass., has been trying to speed the process of bringing new therapies to market by connecting its patient community of more than 125,000 and giving context to the millions of data points these patients provide about the more than 1,000 conditions they actively discuss.

PatientsLikeMe on one level is a social health network where patients can meet and share symptoms, treatments and experiences with others “like me”-struggling through a breast cancer diagnoses or living with multiple sclerosis, for example-says Chairman and Co-founder Jamie Heywood.

On another level, it’s part of a health analytics infrastructure that can augment more traditional data collection methods. Read Full Article