Medical crowdsourcing is a feature on SERMO that allows doctors from anywhere in the world to post real life cases and get help from hundreds of other doctors, at the touch of a button. Medical crowdsourcing on SERMO enables physicians to harness the collective medical knowledge of the global community, often directly from the exam room, to improve patient outcomes at no cost to any doctor, practice, hospital, or healthcare system.
By enabling doctors to access the wisdom of their peers in their own countries and across borders, medical crowdsourcing on SERMO is saving patients' lives and revolutionizing real-world medicine.
A vast majority of doctors report that most of their cases fall within a ‘grey zone’ and would benefit from the advice of a colleague. While doctors have always needed to learn from one another, in today’s fast-paced world they often make treatment decisions alone because there is little time to collaborate with peers.
SERMO offers a virtual channel where doctors can quickly collaborate across borders. Since experience, standards of care and treatment approaches differ around the world – and pandemics and other medical issues do not stop at national borders – the ability to exchange medical wisdom with speed and security in a doctors-only social network is highly valuable.
Doctors are responsible for life or death situations regularly, and medical crowdsourcing also provides much-needed support for physicians. When physicians feel comfortable dialoguing without repercussions, they ask for help, they share knowledge, they admit mistakes — and together advance the universe of medical knowledge. Anonymity in a physician-only environment is the hallmark of SERMO and what makes it unique compared to other identified physician networks. Anonymity is essential for doctors to feel safe to voice their opinions and to seek clinical input from their peers without fear of repercussions, and is always an option when posting or replying to a case on SERMO.
Studies suggest that medical mistakes are prevalent and have serious effects – but long before such studies were released, our network knew that working together and asking for help drives better outcomes. Over 7300 cases were medically crowdsourced on SERMO last year, and 89 percent of doctors who posted cases report getting the help they need within 24 hours. A few notable cases include:
E. coli was responsible for the death of a small boy, and two weeks later his sister got sick with the same symptoms. A Canadian doctor crowdsourced the case, and it was viewed over 1200 times within two days by doctors from around the world. The girl survived, thanks to the collaborative effort.
A 14-year old boy presents with a strange ‘branch-like’ mass, which a doctor posted on SERMO as it was sent to the lab. In 48 hours, 231 doctors weighed-in on the case, and one cardiologist nailed the diagnosis: Fontan-Associated Plastic Bronchitis, an extremely rare respiratory condition associated with previous heart surgeries that few primary care doctors will ever encounter. Confirmed by another doctor, the two diagnosing physicians urged the poster to get care immediately, which ultimately was the difference between life and death.
The posting physician needed the input of multiple specialists who were scattered around the country hundreds of miles away. Within 24 hours of posting the cancer case, the original poster had input from over 40 doctors — that’s impossible to duplicate in a normal clinical setting. The guidance received from peers helped get this patient treated on a university research protocol with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. As of 2015, the patient had survived over seven years, against difficult odds.
“I actually shared mistakes for the benefit of my colleagues on SERMO...but would not have done that if my employer or my peers could identify me.”
“I have asked for help (curbside consults) many times and just as often have had others ask for help from me. I have never negatively criticized those who asked for my input nor was I criticized for asking for input.”
“You can’t just Google medicine. We have to go beyond ‘cookbook’ medicine, and seek reasonable, experienced minds to think through difficult and diverse cases.”
“These days doctors are super busy and don’t have time to stop what they are doing and find a colleague with the appropriate expertise.”
“Had I not read a post on SERMO, I would not have nailed the diagnosis when I did.“
“SERMO has actually changed my management approach on some patients, based on a broader level of input from colleagues.”
“It is wonderful to be able to discuss a problem and have input from other physicians who have come across the same problem and how they solved their issues. Their input is priceless and helpful when you can't discuss this with anyone affiliated with your practice.”
“It was fun while living and working in Massachusetts, but now that I'm in the middle of rural nowhere, SERMO has become very instrumental to be able to communicate with other surgeons about cases that are either interesting or challenging. “
“SERMO docs have transformed me in the way I practice and the skill with which I practice”