From Discover Magazine: NCBI ROFL: Who needs a doctor when you have Facebook? | Discoblog

It’s Facebook week on NCBI ROFL! All this week we’ll be featuring papers about everyone’s favorite social networking site. Enjoy!

Laypersons can seek help from their Facebook friends regarding medical diagnosis

In contrast to Internet search engines, social media on the Internet such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. reach a large number of people, who are ready to help answering questions. This type of information aggregation has been dubbed “crowdsourcing” i.e. outsourcing a task to a large group of people or community (a crowd) through an open call. Our aim was to explore whether laypersons via Facebook friends could crowd source their way to a medical diagnosis based on a brief medical history, posted as a status update on Facebook.
The participants posted a brief case story on their Facebook profile and asked their “Facebook friends” to come up with possible diagnoses.
The correct diagnosis was suggested in five of the six case stories, and the correct diagnosis was made after a median of ten minutes. The quality of the responses varied from relevant differential diagnoses to very silly diagnostic suggestions.
Based on this study, we believe that laypersons can use his or …

from Discover Magazine

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