I define crowdsourcing as people coming together to collaboratively solve problems. When it comes to health, crowdsourcing has the potential to have a huge impact - if patients, doctors, and researchers can all come together and share their unique understanding with each other, amazing discoveries can be made. I would even go so far as to say I think this kind of collaboration is actually essential for the next generation of medical discoveries.
Alexandra is the co-founder of CureTogether, a social network which helps people anonymously track and compare health data. They are tracking 239 health conditions, the most popular of which are vulvodynia, depression and anxiety. Over the past two months, Alexandra and a team of hundreds of others have co-created two crowdsourced books: Vulvodynia Heroes: 190 Women Share Their Experiences and Treatments and Endometriosis Heroes: 137 Women Share Their Experiences and Treatments.
Beyond sharing stories, patients can and do rate their treatments. They have strong opinions about drugs, discuss side effects in great detail and are encouraged to rate the efficacy of each drug using a 5-point scale.
Alexandra sees CureTogether as a natural hub for clinical trials recruiting. "We can efficiently recruit patients into clinical trials. Pharma companies can send us their inclusion criteria for trials they need filled. They can also send us surveys about adverse side effects, drug efficacy, or company perception for specific populations of patients. There are many opportunities for collaboration, and it's a wonderful scenario where everybody wins."
Alexandra is a prolific tweeter on Twitter @accarmichael and responds to emails quicker than anyone I've seen. I do not know her well, but can tell she is a dynamo who is going to have a positive effect on healthcare as we move toward a more patient-centered system.