Crowd sourcing Medical Diagnoses Online- Is It Safe? - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Crowd sourcing Medical Diagnoses Online- Is It Safe?

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47 ABC - You wouldn't trust a complete stranger to give you a medical diagnosis, would you? Well, some people are doing just that, and asking people online to help them find solutions to their ailments.  They claim it is faster and cheaper to seek medical help online.

Sites like Crowdmed.com allow people to post medical histories and symptoms online anonymously for anyone to see.  Then, anyone who signs up to be a "medical detective" gives their opinions on a diagnosis of the patient.  No medical credentials are needed to be a detective.  

Patients can then offer a reward for the best solution.  This money is used as an incentive for more possible answers to be written.  Detectives then place bets on what they believe is the most likely solution to the patients problem.  The reward money is then divided amongst those who bet on the best solution, either after a diagnosis is made by a doctor, or after thirty days.

Doctor Chris Synder worries about the exclusion of face time by seeking help online.  He says, "History is only one piece of the puzzle. For me to do a physical exam is a large part of how I do my diagnosis."  He also states, that seeking help from these websites for everyday cases would not be a good idea.  He thinks it would put too many ideas in patients heads, that would likely be extreme, and cause worry.  But, for the five percent of rare cases that can cause doctors delay, he thinks sites like these could offer a helpful second opinion.  "I don't think its a bad thing for patients to bring information to us. In fact, the best patients are those who are informed," he says.

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