Web MDs

Social media are changing how we diagnose disease

Like millions before him, Simon Turkalj created a Facebook page, on June 29, 2012, in search of a connection. But he wasn't seeking a lost relative or former flame. After the best doctors at Harvard and Stanford couldn't figure out why his wife was having seizures, he starting posting--with her permission--her medical history, test results and health updates, with a plea: "Help me ... grant my wife one wish--the wish of a diagnosis."

Crowdsourcing isn't a new phenomenon in health care--experts have long relied on mass surveillance to monitor flu outbreaks, for instance--but with the rise of social media, people like...

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