Crowd Wisdom for Diagnosis?

Jason Maude Jason.Maude at ISABELHEALTHCARE.COM
Wed Jul 17 15:49:51 UTC 2013

Diagnosis decision support tools already do this but in a much more structured and scaleable way as they are searching a vast database of evidenced based medical knowledge (effectively the sum of medical knowledge about the disease presentation built up over many years) with a set of clinical features.

Jason Maude
Founder and CEO Isabel Healthcare
Tel: +44 1428 644886
Tel: +1 703 879 1890<>

From: Ehud Zamir <ezamir at UNIMELB.EDU.AU<mailto:ezamir at UNIMELB.EDU.AU>>
Reply-To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine <IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG<mailto:IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>>, Ehud Zamir <ezamir at UNIMELB.EDU.AU<mailto:ezamir at UNIMELB.EDU.AU>>
Date: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 02:22
Subject: Re: Crowd Wisdom for Diagnosis?

Interesting idea. However, one has to remember that in primary care, most patients with unresolved symptoms (after medical assessment) have no serious or significant underlying problem. Not sure anyone has ever counted them, but I think one may safely assume that a competent GP is often required to conclude, correctly, "I don't know what the reason for your chronic headache is, Mrs Smith, but I can tell you it is unlikely to be anything serious". The risk of such a project, is that, statistically, in the majority of patients who believe they are a "diagnostic mystery", none of the ideas raised by the "detectives" will really help reach a significant diagnosis (simply because there is none). There will possibly be an occasional misdiagnosis needle in the haystack, but that will be diluted by a lot of background noise. That is the one of the challenges of primary care in the first place, isn't it?
I think it would be more likely to help if the cases were ones where doctors  posted their unresolved cases where they felt the unease of a truly unresolved, and potentially serious, problem. Statistically, it would increase the utility of second opinions.
Just my two cents

Ehud Zamir, MD, FRANZCO
Centre for Eye Research
Melbourne Australia
From: David Meyers [dm0015 at ICLOUD.COM<mailto:dm0015 at ICLOUD.COM>]
Sent: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 5:10 AM
Subject: Re: Crowd Wisdom for Diagnosis?

Dr Lisa Sanders, the NY Times medical correspondent, has been doing this for quite a while in the Sunday magazine.  See link:  There are also Twitter resources in emergency medicine like this.  One has to be careful to use the wisdom of crowds  (see James Surowiecki, 2004) and not the madness of crowds (Charles Mackay, 1841), if we can tell the difference.


David L Meyers, MD, FACEP
dm0015 at<mailto:dm0015 at>
Mobile: 410-952-8782
Fax: 410-367-0449

On Jul 16, 2013, at 1:59 PM, Bill Thatcher <BillThatcher at MINDSPRING.COM<mailto:BillThatcher at MINDSPRING.COM>> wrote:

Yesterday I posted a short piece from Mark Graber, MD about an intriguing new website: <> is a new online startup that uses the 'wisdom of the crowd' to suggest the correct diagnosis for patients with unresolved symptoms. The project is the brainchild of Jared Heyman, an internet-entrepreneur, who thought of the idea after his sister suffered through an undiagnosed illness for over three years. Cases are submitted by patients for a small fee, and anyone can register as an "MD" (medical detective - cute, eh? No license required) to suggest a diagnosis or vote on the suggestions already made.

You can read the rest of the post from Mark Graber here:

Bill Thatcher


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