MAR 11, 2015 3:00 PM PDT

Doctor Drug Ratings Give Patients More Power

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard
A March 11 article on wired.com brings our attention to a new online review service, joining the likes of Yelp, Amazon, Netfllix and Etsy.

Except this time, the service reviews prescription drugs.
4-star rating? Call your pharmacist.
Who needs that? Turns out that a lot of people do. When it comes to prescription medication, too often, we take what the doctor orders, no questions asked. That's a problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of Americans take prescription drugs, and sometimes-maybe too often the doctors prescribing those drugs are on the payrolls of the very companies that sell them.

Enter RateRx. Ron Gutman, CEO of the digital health startup HealthTap, aims to take on this lack of transparency. RateRx will let doctors from all over the world rate the effectiveness of certain medications for certain ailments. They'll also be able to leave comments about those drugs and rate other doctors' answers. From that data, patients will be able to surface the best answers to make informed choices about the drugs they take.

"Healthcare is like a black box. We're buying blind," Gutman says. "But obviously there are opinions out there, and there are multiple medications to treat certain things. It's good if we get informed about the state of the art in healthcare today."

RateRx is an extension of the work HealthTap is already doing to address the problem of the low-quality medical advice that runs rampant online. Its core business allows users to ask HealthTap's network of 67,000 doctors (and counting) any medical question and get an answer for free any time of the day. After serving up 2.7 billion doctor answers since its founding in 2010, the HealthTap team realized that some of the most frequently asked questions were about prescription drugs, and they decided to develop a product that spoke directly to that strong interest.

HealthTap, of course, isn't the only company that sees this lack of clarity as an opportunity. Iodine, a startup co-founded by former WIRED executive editor Thomas Goetz, crowdsources patient reviews, and presents them alongside clinical trial data and input from pharmacists. Another site, TheNNT.com, rates drugs based on the number of people who would need to take a drug in order for it to help one person - a statistical measure known as the "number needed to treat." And Google has been working with the Mayo Clinic to create a database of information on commonly searched medical conditions, which includes lists of frequently used treatments for each.

No doubt, this is only the beginning. It's too early to say if these new services will become the most trusted source for this type of information. But they may take some power from big pharma and put in the hands of patients.

Source: wired.com
About the Author
You May Also Like
SEP 28, 2021
Health & Medicine
Experts Urge Pregnant Women to Use Caution with Acetaminophen
SEP 28, 2021
Experts Urge Pregnant Women to Use Caution with Acetaminophen
Concern about the use of acetaminophen (paracetamol or N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP)) during pregnancy has prompted a gr ...
OCT 11, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Genetic Risk Factor is Shared by Alzheimer's and Severe COVID-19
OCT 11, 2021
A Genetic Risk Factor is Shared by Alzheimer's and Severe COVID-19
While amyloid plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the neurological disorder has also been linked to inflammat ...
OCT 17, 2021
Technology
AI: The Future of Medtech
OCT 17, 2021
AI: The Future of Medtech
Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving disruption in almost every sector with even the most passing involvement with IT ...
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
Over Half of Patients Infected in the Pandemic Experience 'Long COVID'
OCT 15, 2021
Over Half of Patients Infected in the Pandemic Experience 'Long COVID'
About 236 million people are known to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVD-19. Researchers hav ...
OCT 15, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Oxytocin Therapy Shows No Benefit for Autistic Children
OCT 15, 2021
Oxytocin Therapy Shows No Benefit for Autistic Children
Intranasal oxytocin therapy does not benefit autistic children and adolescents. The corresponding study was published in ...
OCT 18, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Decade After Gene Therapy, SCID Patients Are Doing Well
OCT 18, 2021
A Decade After Gene Therapy, SCID Patients Are Doing Well
For decades, scientists have been trying to find ways to cure disorders that can be traced back to an error in one gene. ...
Loading Comments...