Crowdsourced health research studies: an important emerging complement to clinical trials in the public health research ecosystem.
This paper looks at the role of crowdsourcing research as a potentially valuable addition to more traditional scientific methods.
While some of the examples cited lead to some questionable results stemming from small numbers of participants to lack of standard controls, it concludes that
“Crowdsourcing has cost and speed benefits; it may allow science to be conducted at scales of magnitude greater than before (thousands recruited in months versus years [43,70] and billions of data points per person ), potential novel discovery in the patterns of large data sets [72,73], and the possibility of near real-time testing and application of new medical findings. Larger cohorts and more granular data could enable investigation in a much more detailed range of parameter-stratified sub-cohorts. Crowdsourced participatory health research efforts are helping to expand the conceptual scope of medicine from the traditional focus on disease cure to the personalized preventive medicine of the future.”