Patients like me(PLM) is a social network which covers different diseases. Members get access to a large database of information about other people who has the same illness as them selves.
They also have access to forums, which lets them communicate with other patients as well. This enables patients to get information about their disease and gain new insight, the possibility to ask for practical advice, which doctors do not know about. Other reasons for becoming a member can be to contribute to research about their disease, to help other people with the same medical problems, sharing experiences and having someone to relate to and who knows what they are going through. The site thus covers human needs for both information and emotional support when handeling complex problems in pressing situations.
Does the platform work for any diseases?
In the short term the platform is most useful on diseases that have a lot of daily practical aspects to it. This is because this is where other patients can best contributing with advice. In the longer term medical companies can use the information to research new drugs. 2. What are the reactions of physicians to sites like PLM?
Do you agree with them? Reactions for physicians are mainly issues of misinformation and for what purpose the information is used. When it comes to misinformation this is related to people self reporting on their illness and people without a medical degree voicing their unqualified opinion about drugs, other peoples symptoms ect. The statements on these pages can have consequences that unqualified person did not intend.
When it comes to misinformation I have agree with the physicians. There are limitations to the data posted by the unqualified members of sites like PLM. On the other hand I am also of the opinion that even though the information is self-reported, it can be a valuable lead and provide information that is good enough for a particular use. This large amount of self reported information could also be a way to gain new insights that were previously unknown.
3. Should PLM launch the General Platform? If yes, how does it ensure that it is as successful in engaging patients as its current platform? If no, how does PLM grow? From a business standpoint, PLM should launch the General Platform. This creates a business opportunity to start the first communities for a lot of different illnesses that does not yet have a social network. The first mover advantage is very significant in social media and should be taken advantage of.
There are a number of factors that make up a digital social network with engaged users. One of them is functionality and ease of use. This is very important so that the user experience is as enjoyable as possible and thereby barriers to usage are as low. Secondly, the content that is on the site needs to be of use for the members using it.
This means that there should be some sort of moderation on the site. This is important since bad/abusive/misinforming users tend to crowd out the good/contributing users. If abusive users are allowed to still be active on the site can make potential members shy away from the site. This will seriously damage the PLM brand and profitability in the long run.
By being aware of this and having prepared systems to handle this kind of problem the risk of this happening is limited.
4. So far, PLM has generated revenues by providing market research to pharmaceutical companies. Should it expand its business model to insurance companies and research institutions?
Does it have the potential of becoming the “Bloomberg of medical data’? PLM has opened a large amount of data about different patients that would otherwise not be avaliable to third party institutions. This makes it possible for them to become a ”Bloomberg of medical data”. It is without doubt that this can be a large business opportunity for PLM and the firms in need of medical information.
If insurance companies could get better insight into how the populations health is, they could write more precise policies which better descibes the risk that patients are exposed to. If the risk is overstated, this means more expensive insurrance. This can lead to a loss of marketshare for the
insurrance company and higher prices for consumers.
Research institutions can get access to data that they might not have been able to get or would have cost a lot of money to gather. This would be a win-win situation for both PLM, the research institutions, insurance companies and patients.