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How crowds, not doctors or supercomputers, could diagnose rare diseases

Gigaom

When it comes to serious medical conditions, you probably want a doctor – or at least a medically trained supercomputer – delivering your diagnosis. But CrowdMed, a startup launched in public beta at TEDMED on Tuesday, is showing that the collective intelligence of the crowd can be just as good at getting to the bottom of medical mysteries.

For patients hoping to uncover the causes behind frustrating or painful symptoms, doctors and specialists have long been the most trusted resources.  Supercomputer Watson, predictive modeling techniques and other kinds of artificial intelligence are increasingly revealing their diagnostic power. But CrowdMed co-founder Jared Heyman believes there’s a third option that’s not getting the attention it deserves.

“I think a crowd can combine the best aspects of an individual expert with the best aspects of an artificial intelligence solution,” he told me. Crowds can blend an individual’s sense of intuition and judgment…

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