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Medical Professionals Can Now Learn from Smart Patients

Anonymous Cases from Online Patient Community are Used in Curriculum for Clinicians and Trainees

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., November 13, 2014 -- Smart Patients, an online community for patients and caregivers, launched a new service today which allows health care professionals and trainees to learn from conversations patients are having online. The new service, called Learn from Smart Patients, is being piloted with collaborators at George Washington University School of Nursing, Allegheny Health Network, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Smart Patients co-founder and CEO, Roni Zeiger, MD, said that an increasing number of clinicians are requesting access to Smart Patients in order to listen to what patients are discussing online. Members of Smart Patients, however, generally prefer that their communities remain for patients and caregivers only. This led the team to build a separate website which allows clinicians to review and discuss de-identified conversations curated—with patient permission—from Smart Patients.

“It’s clear that patients and caregivers can learn a tremendous amount from each other. Many become remarkably knowledgable about their illness and all have unique and valuable experience,” said Zeiger. “With Learn from Smart Patients, we want to give medical professionals and trainees the opportunity to systematically learn from issues patients are talking about.”

Learn from Smart Patients focuses on areas where the perspective of patients and caregivers can be especially helpful. The George Washington University School of Nursing is piloting the service with Nurse Practitioner students studying the role of caregivers. “Caregivers are at risk for becoming ill themselves and often suffer physical, emotional, psychological and financial burdens. It is important that primary care providers are able to identify caregivers, assess for caregiver stressors and provide appropriate resources for support,” explained Dr. Sandra Davis, Assistant Professor and Director of the University’s Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program.

Physicians at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) will use the new service to better understand the needs of cancer patients. “The value of more fully understanding the needs of our patients must not be underestimated,” said Barry Bittman, MD, Chief Population Health Officer and Senior Vice President at AHN. “Learn from Smart Patients presents an extraordinary opportunity to improve the quality of healthcare delivery by recognizing the concerns and insights shared by our patients and families who are facing often overwhelming healthcare challenges. I personally believe this is a highly valuable patient-centric tool that can assist us in optimizing Triple Aim outcomes.”

Learn from Smart Patients is also being tested at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), where clinicians who care for patients and families affected by cystic fibrosis will be reviewing and discussing issues that arise in the Smart Patients cystic fibrosis community. Erin Moore, Family Partner at CCHMC, said, “By having a better understanding of the day to day challenges that patients and families face, clinicians can collaborate with patients more effectively and provide higher quality care.”

About Smart Patients

Smart Patients ( ) is an online community where patients and caregivers learn from each other about treatments, clinical trials, the latest science, and how it all fits into the context of their experience. Learn from Smart Patients ( ) is a website where clinicians and trainees can learn from de-identified conversations curated—with patient permission—from the online patient community at Smart Patients.

Smart Patients’ Partners

Former Google Chief Health Strategist Launches Online Community for Cancer Patients

“Smart Patients” is Applying Lessons from Google to its Cancer-Focused Social Network

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 18, 2013 -- Smart Patients, an online community for cancer patients and caregivers, launched publicly today after a preview at the at the TEDMED 2013 conference in Washington D.C. Members of Smart Patients use the free site to learn from each other about treatments, search for clinical trials and the latest science regarding their diagnoses, and share best practices from the patient’s perspective.

Smart Patients was founded by Roni Zeiger, M.D., former Chief Health Strategist at Google, and Gilles Frydman, who in 1995 founded the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR), the world’s largest collection of online cancer communities.

“I learned a tremendous amount during my six years at Google, from creating an online personal health record to using the web for health search. I discovered that patients are highly motivated to share knowledge and often search for clinical trials and new research when they have a life-threatening diagnosis,” said Dr. Zeiger. "Our goal at Smart Patients is to help cancer patients get better care by learning from each other in an online community with social networking and search technology. Many patients with cancer become extraordinarily knowledgeable about their specific disease, and when they get together in a network, the learning that happens is impressive.”

Partnerships with Smart Patients

Smart Patients is launching with several partners who will help seed the community. One of the company’s early partners is The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, based in San Carlos, California. “We are honored to be partnering with Smart Patients. It is a perfect fit with our philosophy that educated and empowered patients live longer,” said Bonnie Addario, Founder and Chair of the Foundation.

Cancer Commons, a nonprofit, open science initiative linking cancer patients, physicians, and scientists in Rapid Learning Communities, is also partnering with Smart Patients. “It's critical to bring patient data as well as patient wisdom to our research teams, to accelerate the development of personalized cancer therapies. We're excited to work with Smart Patients to close that loop,” said Sarah Greene, Executive Director of Cancer Commons.

Smart Patients will tap into the knowledge of networked patients to help speed the development of needed cancer treatments. Smart Patients is working with Oncosec Medical to incorporate patient input into the design of upcoming clinical trials of Oncosec’s skin cancer treatments. “We’re excited to learn from the Smart Patients community. We believe that by incorporating patient feedback into the design process of our clinical programs, we will improve the speed and efficiency of our trials,” said Punit Dhillon, CEO of OncoSec.

Another partner, WorldOne Interactive, has assembled the leading engagement platform for physicians, including Sermo, the largest online physician community in the United States. “Partnering with Smart Patients aligns with our mission to support the physician decision journey and improve patient outcomes. Oncologists, in particular, are interested in patient experiences and clinical outcomes. Providing physicians the opportunity to hear and learn from a robust network of patients having educated discussions on clinical trials and the latest science is a powerful educational tool," said Jake Coniglio, SVP Global Strategy & Corporate Development.

Smart Patients’ business model is to conduct occasional voluntary surveys and share anonymous insights from patients with partners in the healthcare industry to help them provide better care and incorporate the patient perspective into the design of future clinical trials. The site has no advertising or marketing.

About Smart Patients

Smart Patients is an online community for cancer patients and caregivers. The community includes a clinical trial search engine that presents trial data from in a patient-friendly format. The community platform has been in private beta testing since January 2013 and is now open to all cancer patients and caregivers. To learn more visit us at

Smart Patients’ Partners