For someone with a persistent medical problem, going to their usual doctor may not be enough. They need to know more than their physician can tell them, and they need to know it soon. That is the idea behind the new company MetaMed, a personalized medical research service backed by Peter Thiel and Jaan Tallinn. In an interview with VentureBeat, CEO Michael Vassar aims to improve the U.S. medical system by demonstrating a “product that works better than the system.” By using doctors and researchers who understand statistics and how to evaluate the relative importance of research findings, MetaMed provides a diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and referrals to doctors in their network who can provide the treatments best for a specific patient. MetaMed provides “evidence based medicine” rather than vague suggestions solely based on domain-general knowledge.
For some problems, our health care system doesn’t cut it. 1 out of 3 patients are actually harmed during their hospital stay, and 7% are harmed permanently or even die as a result of medical errors. Autopsies have proven that doctors misdiagnose fatal illnesses as much as 20% of the time. Given all this uncertainty and error, it’s clear that there’s a market for personalized medical advice based on serious research and statistical understanding.
Holding back the implementation of ideal medical treatments is a lack of knowledge. More than half a million medical articles are published annually
Here are some unfortunate statistics on error in medical care:
* More than half of all patients do not get the recommended care for their condition.
* As many as 98,000 people die in hospitals each year as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented.
* The number of missed major diagnoses has not changed over the past 20-30 years.
* Mis-diagnosis is the leading cause of medical error in outpatient facilities.
40 million patients experience delayed or poor care as a result of missing information, including historical, examinations, tests, and medication reports.
* There were up to 1.2 million error-induced preventable deaths between 1996 and 2006.
* In the U.S., medical errors are estimated to result in more than one million injuries per year.
The basic package MetaMed offers starts at $5,000, and provides personalized research in seven key areas: the diagnosis, meaning of test results, risks, prognosis, genetic factors, a literature review, and an overview of treatment options. After research is complete, it is presented in a detailed report. The report delves into much deeper detail than we get from the usual, which is a couple minutes of information from a doctor combined with ad hoc internet searching. The linked sample report shows the level of detail to expect.