by George Taniwaki

In a May 2010 blog post, I featured a new social media web site called PatientsLikeMe which allows patients to compare medical notes with each other. It also allows patients to search for each other and provides a forum where they can create a sense of community.

In February, PatientsLikeMe upgraded its site and added a bunch of new features including automatically adding patients to forums with other patients with similar conditions. They’ve also made it easier to measure and track how you are feeling and share that information with others.

If you are a kidney patient, especially a transplant recipient, I encourage you to check out the site.


New condition tracking page. Image from PatientsLikeMe


One thing that PatientsLikeMe is missing is the ability to communicate with other patients in real-time, using chat. To address this need for instant feedback from fellow patients there is a site called HealCam.

HealCam was developed by a California anesthesiologist named Michael Ostrovsky. Dr. Ostrovsky modeled HealCam on ChatRoulette. The difference is that ChatRoulette seems to be a rather pointless game while HealCam is intended to be a tool to help both participants cope with their condition.

One problem with HealCam is that even though it has been around for almost a year, very few people have heard of it. For instance, when I signed on, I was the only participant. Unless HealCam can increase usage, it will languish. Perhaps it should not be a standalone operation and just become a feature within a site such as PatientsLikeMe.


The HealCam user interface is clean and simple. Image from HealCam