A California startup has developed a tool that allows medical professionals to share their knowledge, and opinions, of various treatments on a point-of-care platform. SharePractice provides peer reviews of procedures and products to facilitate clinical decision-making.
Experience as Evidence
Andrew Brandeis, MD, founded the company after he and his fellow doctors were continually faced with unusual cases in their San Francisco urgent care office, which catered to patients without health insurance. Brandeis recognised the utility of a national network of doctors, nurses and medical students sharing their experiences on a shared platform.
SharePractice users, whose credentials must be verified in advance, rate treatments based on a scale of one to four stars depending on how strongly they favor a given procedure or treatment. They are also free to contribute their own therapeutic recommendations for different diagnoses.
The value of SharePractice’s service is apparent to Brandeis’s fellow physicians and other medical professionals, and to investors as well. The mobile health startup based in Silicon Valley has attracted 1.3 million dollars in funding.
Crowdsourcing Clinical Insight
The combination of clinical expertise and social networking is unique in the digital world. Other social medicine applications focus on one or the other: Epocrates is a popular reference tool and Doximity is a social network.
SharePractice is positioned somewhere between those services. It is an example of “experience based medicine”, which allows medical personnel to search for and to share best practices using crowdsourcing technology.
Brandeis compares it to travellers searching for a good place to eat in an unfamiliar city. Zagat and other prestigious rating services share the impressions of professional food critics, but peer-review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor allow travellers to rank vendors from low to high on a sliding scale and also to write their own impressions of what they liked the most and what could be improved.
Innovation Spurs Innovation
The novel approach to medical education makes room in the discussion for unconventional advice, in addition to traditional recommendations. Highly rated treatments are not always the ones that have received widespread approval based on costly and time-consuming research studies.
Users of the SharePractice platform benefit from their peers’ innovative and imaginative solutions to tricky cases, and can read reviews of commonly prescribed treatments. Whenever possible, there are links to research articles which support the reviews of the verified physicians contributing to the platform’s knowledge-base.
SharePractice is available to medical practitioners via iPhone, and funding is being applied to the development of Android and web versions of the platform. Since its debut late last year at TechCrunch Disrupt, more than 5,000 members have used the service. It is free to join with the required credentials.