Crowdsourced healthcare?

Tim Leberecht writes about the experiment that is the world’s first crowdsourced advertising agency:

It’s always good to be the first, and while crowdsourcing, the trend, may have jumped the shark, a fully crowdsourced creative agency is a bold creative experiment and still news. Two Crispin Porter + Bogusky alums, John Winsor and Evan Fry, together with Claudia Batten, the founder of Microsoft-acquired video game advertising shop Massive, have launched Victors & Spoils (V&S), “the world’s first creative agency built on crowdsourcing principle.”

The creation of Twitter’s logo, analyzed here by Ed Cotton, illustrates the beast that has been unleashed:

The story of Twitter’s logo appeared in Wired a few days back, the basics of the story suggesting that Twitter paid no more than $6 for its identity. In a world where product performance trumps image, this is going to be par for the course for many a new brand starting out.

The reality that logos can be purchased for $5 and ads can be sourced from the crowd, should be sending a giant reality check through the halls of branding and communication agencies worldwide.

What implications could this have on the delivery of healthcare (beyond logos…)? It’s not the care that needs crowdsourcing.  It could be argued that the majority of routine healthcare services can be delivered by relatively low-skilled practitioners.  The consultation where physicians figure out what’s wrong, while also becoming more prescribed each day through technology and decision support tools, is a valuable component of the healthcare delivery process.

A new service from Change:Healthcare provides an example of what’s possible, though the service is not explicitly crowdsourcing.  From Springwise:

ASKch is a new service from Nashville-based healthcare information provider Change:Healthcare that allows users to send quick healthcare questions via Twitter and have them answered within 60 seconds. Consumers can simply tweet a question such as, “what is diabetes” to @askch, which is now in beta; in return, they get a short description of the disease and a link to more information.

The request, in this case, is posed directly to an individual.  But extend the thought: what if medical questions were posed to a crowd of qualified medical practitioners?  The question wouldn’t be so much as “what is [insert condition]” but rather a list of symptoms with the results being potential conditions.  Another threat to the current model of primary care?

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