Sometimes doctors don’t understand what you mean. Because they don’t inhabit your body, they just don’t get it. Patients who have the same condition, on the other hand, know precisely what you mean when you speak about symptoms and side-effects of medication. This US-American platform was set up in 2004 to harness this potential of patient knowledge. People upload pictures and personal accounts of their experience with illness, its symptoms and different treatments, as well as the current state of research. This combination of statistics and the experience of others help people to work out which treatments are particularly effective. The value of the project means many people are prepared to share very personal information. The Long Tail is also at work here: the website unites above all patients with very rare and little researched conditions, who would otherwise struggle to find relevant and reliable information. Moreover, PatientsLikeMe overturns existing power structures by calling into question doctors’ knowledge on monopoly.
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