Meddik Summons The Crowdsourced Doctor
Talking about our health is difficult. Many of us view our health as a private matter to begin with. When we need information, whether caring for ourselves or for others, asking for help can be an embarrassing, intimidating, if not frightening process. Need I add frustrating? Meddik is a health care search platform that tries to give consumers a better way to search for health information and find personalized support. A content organizer, Meddik collects anonymous medical data–for example, feedback about devices or treatments or medication–that members of the general public interested in the same medical issue can share.
Illness often forces us into becoming quasi-experts on a wide range of subjects we’d rather not know anything about. But it’s not so easy to pass firsthand information along. Meddik hopes to become a repository of that information where others can benefit from collective knowledge and experience.
Co-founder Tim Soo became a tech entrepreneur by way of medicine and family first. He felt like he couldn’t directly help as many people in medical school as he wanted, so he took leave from the University of Pennsylvania to help launch Meddik this summer. Soo watched firsthand as his mother struggled to find information about a chronic illness then pass her learning on to fellow sufferers. He wanted others to be able to find and share information faster.
Why Not Use WebMD Instead?
Patients already have access to abundant resources. Yet, the majority of health sites gear searches to focus of specific conditions. The volume of facts can sometimes become a hindrance, bogging down searches or overwhelm a user to the point of abandoning a search altogether. Meddik aims to quicken searches by trying to match symptoms or experience. A large ontology table connects common health language to medical code.
Anonymity is meant to increase willingness to share information. At the same, because the search engine works to pair clinical similarities, the unidentified user can enter sensitive data and still expect personalized results.
Worried About The Quality Of Answers?
Soo notes that the benefit of crowd-sourced information is that it tends to be moderated by the users themselves. If 1,000 people recommend an asthma inhaler, a new viewer will come across that information first. A bad inhaler will fall to the bottom of search results and eventually filter out of the conversation. Of course, drawing a large pool of users will be a huge priority for the early life of Meddik.
Meddik is a graduate of the New York City-based accelerator Blueprint Health. Earlier this year, the company raised $750K in seed funding from angels and early-stage VCs, including Chris Dixon, Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg, Bob Stern, Vivek Garipalli, as well as Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Great Oaks, and Silicon Badia. Just goes to show that not all the startup money is in mobile apps. The health care and healthtech markets are immense. Meddik is one example of how smart technology might unlock better health solutions for us all.