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San Francisco Entrepreneur Helps Solve Medical Cases Online

Jared Heyman is founder and CEO of CrowdMed, where the collective wisdom of 'medical detectives' is used to identify rare medical conditions that otherwise baffle medical professionals.

(Photo Courtesy of Jared Heyman)

Heyman has been featured on Bloomberg TV, Fox News, CBS, NBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, TechCrunch, BusinessWeek, VentureBeat, Wired, Fast Company, NPR, MedCrunch, New Scientist, Entrepreneur magazine and more. He appeared on the cover of Inc. magazine and delivered a 2014 TEDMED talk. On the academic front, Jared graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin in business honors.

How does CrowdMed work?

"CrowdMed is harnessing 'the wisdom of crowds' to solve difficult medical cases online, less expensively and more quickly than the traditional medical system. A patient with an unsolved medical mystery can post their case, or a loved one can do so on their behalf.

Using our patented crowdsourcing technology, CrowdMed has resolved over 1,000 real-world medical mysteries with over 60 percent success. The average patient had already been sick for 7 years, seen 8 doctors and incurred over $70,000 in medical expenses. The average CrowdMed case attracts two dozen case-solvers, is resolved in 2-3 months and costs less than $500.

CrowdMed's clinical results have been validated by top academic researchers and presented at prestigious healthcare events across the US."

What was your inspiration for founding CrowdMed?

"My inspiration to start CrowdMed was my little sister Carly, who saw 16 medical specialists over several years, racking up $100,000 in medical bills while desperately seeking a diagnosis for her illness. The highly-selective NIH Undiagnosed Disease Program in Bethesda, Maryland, finally discovered she has a rare disease affecting 1 out of 15,000 females.

Meanwhile at university, I was studying a phenomenon called 'the wisdom of crowds,' which shows that large and intellectually-diverse crowds tend to be much smarter than even the smartest experts, as long as the right mechanism is in place to aggregate their collective intelligence. I developed CrowdMed to be the optimal mechanism for crowdsourcing medical answers for patients like Carly."

Where do you see digital health going in the next 5-10 years?

"The internet has transformed so many industries over the past two decades, but healthcare has been sadly left behind, due a combination of overzealous regulators, a broken legal liability system, misaligned incentives and an ultra-conservative medical culture. Fortunately, the walls are beginning to crack. I think we'll see more innovation in digital health over the next 5 years than the previous 20 years combined.

Do you have any advice for those looking to enter the digital health industry as a career? 

"Please do! There are very few industries as rewarding as digital health. We enjoy all the benefits of the technology industry with the added super-benefit of changing lives. At CrowdMed, a handful of tech geeks have built a platform that's already saved or dramatically improved over 1,000 lives and will soon impact millions more. In how many other fields can you do that?"

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Bay City Guide, AXS, Examiner and more.


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