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Winner of Amgen Patients | Choices | Empowerment Competition Emerging Star of HealthCare Engagement Award
Mayo Clinic Award - LeftA winner of the Mayo Clinic iSpot Competition for Ideas that will Transform HealthcareMayo Clinic Award - R

MarketIntellNow

February 25, 2009

We quizzed the folks at CureTogether.com– here’s what they say on their well-designed website:

Feel Better. Help Find Cures.

CureTogether is a platform for open source health research.
Use it to:

* Compare symptoms with people like you
* Find treatments that work
* Optimize your health

1) Tell us about CureTogether.com– what was the impetus to start it?

Daniel Reda and I started CureTogether because we have loved ones who suffer from chronic illness and wanted to combine our scientific and technology skills to help them. Our previous startup was Redasoft, a bioinformatics software company that we grew to more than 450 customers in 37 countries before selling the technology to Hitachi Software.

CureTogether helps people anonymously track and compare health data – to better understand their bodies, make more informed treatment decisions and contribute data to research. We started with the following foundational philosophy, and weave everything we do at CureTogether through these ideas:

a. If you measure yourself over time, you’ll learn valuable things about your health.
b. If you compare your measurements with those of others, you’ll learn even more.
c. Many people living with chronic conditions would suffer less if they could learn from the cumulative knowledge and experience of their peers.
d. If we gather and analyze data from thousands of people, we’ll discover new approaches for diagnosing, managing and treating disease.
e. The more active you are in managing your health, the better you’ll feel.

2) Tell us about your book?

This is the first crowdsourced women’s health book. It’s being released this week, called “Vulvodynia Heroes: 190 Women Share Their Experiences and Treatments.”

Vulvodynia is a painful chronic condition that affects 16% of women at some point in their lives. It’s one of our most active communities at CureTogether, with information about symptoms, treatments, and causes added by almost 200 women with vulvodynia. By compiling this information into a book we hope to spread awareness, reach out to people in pain who may not
have heard of vulvodynia, and increase interest and funding for future research.

The most surprising thing for us was to learn how many women – 51% of respondents! – live with multiple, co-morbid health conditions, and what these conditions are. This opens up new questions for research and understanding of how human bodies work (and don’t work).

For more information about Vulvodynia Heroes, visithttp://www.curetogether.com/VHeroes/

3) How does crowdsourcing figure in CureTogether?

Everything at CureTogether is crowdsourced. We chose 3 conditions as case studies, but our members soon expanded the number of conditions to 214, from Acid Reflux to William’s Syndrome. People add their symptoms, treatments, causes/triggers, and resources for their condition. Everyone else who has that condition can check off whether they have that symptom too, how well that treatment worked, or whether they have the same triggers.

Individual data is private and anonymous, and the aggregate statistics are open, so patients can get a sense of where they fit on the spectrum. Joining CureTogether is free, so anyone can participate and contribute to the crowdsourced health knowledge being generated.

4) How are you driving traffic to your site, and will you have a partner program?

CureTogether did a soft launch in July 2008, and traffic so far has been largely by word of mouth – through condition bloggers, health 2.0 enthusiasts, foundations, and a bit of press. We are exploring a variety of partnership options at the moment.

Posted by Matt C.