Health IT Startup: CrowdMed

Jessica Greenwalt, co-founder
Jessica Greenwalt, co-founder

CrowdMed is a website that uses the “wisdom of crowds” to solve medical cases quickly and accurately online. We provide a place for patients to post their symptoms and broadcast their cases to our medical detective community, which includes doctors, med students and patients themselves. Our medical detectives collaborate to solve each case and suggest possible diagnoses. Our system assigns a probability to each diagnosis based on our research and the behavior of the medical detectives who worked on the case. Once enough medical detectives have participated in a case, we deliver an extensive report to the patient. Just like that, we’ve gotten a patent a second, third, 50th opinion without any invasive tests and unnecessary doctor visits.

We tested our system on cases with known diagnoses that cost patients hundreds of thousands of dollars, lasted many years, and taken dozens doctors to solve—my case included. We were able to solve these cases in a matter of weeks, at a fraction of the cost.

Now we’ve helped diagnose 200 of the world’s most difficult medical cases, and that’s only the beginning. By designing a site that simplifies complex medical data, connects patients with the people who understand this data, and uses statistics and technology to uncover answers, we’re making medical diagnoses more accessible to everyone.

Elevator pitch

We’re crowdsourcing medical diagnoses.

Founders’ story

During my junior year of college I got sick. My appetite disappeared. I had difficulty remembering things. I always felt cold, and I started losing my hair.

I visited the university health center. They sent me to a doctor, who sent me to a specialist, who sent me to more specialists for testing. I was biopsied, scanned and blood tested—often multiple times a month. The uncertainty, stress and financial burden this placed on me was crippling—especially as a college student.

After months of poking and prodding, I finally got my diagnosis: a thyroid disorder with a very simple treatment. I take one pill in the morning, every day. Compared to all the terrible possible diagnoses and treatments my doctors were considering, this was a huge relief. The process of finding the name for my condition, so that I could get the proper treatment, turned out to be far more painful than the treatment itself.

Continue Reading