CrowdMed takes 10% of any money put up by patients as its commission. They claim they and anyone who offers an opinion are not legally liable since all medical opinions are anonymous, patients are told that only their real doctors can provide a definitive diagnosis, and all diagnoses are based on the pooled input of many contributors.
I have a friend who has knowledge of medical crowdsourcing that antedates CrowdMed.
He knows someone who is into self-abuse like marathons, triathlons, etc. She always has some ache or pain and goes to a massage therapist or a chiropractor, who offers a diagnosis. Then it’s off to the natural food market for some organic potion. The person behind the counter does the prescribing and maybe a bit of fine-tuning of the diagnosis. Friends and acquaintances are also free to lend their expertise. The most highly prized diagnosticians are wives of doctors, especially those who belong to the garden club. The patient would never consider a recommendation to see an actual doctor.
He has no data on the accuracy of the diagnosticians or the outcomes of the patients.
I was going to ask who in their right mind would ask a bunch of anonymous strangers for medical advice, but then I remembered that I had recently written a post about the people who ask me about their undiagnosed abdominal pain. It turns out there are a lot of such people.
On the CrowdMed website, most of the cases described are indeed true mysteries. Take this one for example:
Keturah, 39 years old, Oregon, United States—who describes symptoms in 11 different areas of the body using a mere 1689 words.
I wouldn't know where to begin to solve that one.
Unlike the combination of the massage therapist, chiropractor, natural food market clerk, and the doctors' wives, CrowdMed claims it has an 80% success rate in achieving a correct diagnosis.
When I started writing this post, I had intended to ridicule CrowdMed, but I have changed my mind. They may have found a way to monetize what I've been giving away for free. They also have a classically good business model which involves having other people do the work.