January 2nd, 2008 by David E. Williams of the Health business blog
PatientsLikeMe is one of my favorite Health 2.0, social networking websites. The online community enables patients with serious illnesses to build content-rich connections to similar patients. Patients are motivated to provide all the relevant information about themselves and to stick with the site over time to help one another. As a consequence, PatientsLikeMe users collectively generate robust data sets that have the potential to generate meaningful insights for researchers and commercial entities. That leads to some interesting business opportunities for the company.
During the relative lull of the last week of 2007 I had the chance to sit down with Ben Heywood, CEO and co-founder of PatientsLikeMe to catch up on the company’s progress. We talked about the differences between PatientsLikeMe and other Health 2.0 communities, the extension of the platform from the original focus on ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) to a broader set of conditions, the company’s Openness Philosophy, and how the company intends to monetize its offering without alienating its users.