By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
Harvard Medical School recently conducted a research study to evaluate the clinical accuracy of symptom checkers, the results of which were published last week by The BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal. For the study, the Harvard team selected the 23 most comprehensive, free symptom checkers globally to rank in their study. Not only did Sharecare’s AskMD make that “short list” of 23, but also ranked in the top 5 symptom checkers for all 3 diagnostic categories evaluated in the study.
However, over the last week, several media outlets have written stories questioning and, in some cases, condemning, the use of symptom checkers in lieu of seeing a doctor – but these stories misinterpret some valuable information about the study’s results. In response to that, we have published an op-ed by Dr. Darria Gillespie that sheds light on what people really need to know about this study: that clinical accuracy is paramount; and the right digital health tools can be a great complement to the doctor-patient relationship.
At Sharecare, we are committed to developing technologies to help consumers manage their health and wellness that not only are user friendly but also are evidence-based and scientifically validated. In January 2014, PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes primary scientific and medical research, published a study validating the RealAge test, which was a landmark moment for Sharecare. Regardless of the media coverage, being named one of the world’s most clinically accurate symptom checkers in The BMJ is another such moment. All of our users, partners, experts and employees have contributed to making AskMD what it is today – and we want to thank you for making this possible.