Iodine launches web site, turns real-life experience into data-driven tools
Iodine, a provider of online interactive tools, has officially launched at www.iodine.com and has begun offering consumers in the U.S. a new way to find and interact with information about their medications. Iodine creates data-driven tools that allow consumers to engage with massive amounts of data in personalized ways, letting any one individual filter data according to demographic information, such as gender and age, to better understand what happens to real people in real life with hundreds of medications.
Iodine allows individuals to:
- Filter real-life data from 100,000 Americans to drill into the experience of specific populations with hundreds of medications
- Search and explore side-effects data from the FDA on more than 1,100 major medications—covering more than 95% of prescriptions filled in the U.S. —both prescription and over-the-counter
- Explore pharmacist cost data, including whether a drug has a cheaper generic alternative, and whether it's cheaper to buy with or without insurance
- Compare people's experience with similar drugs and explore how different populations rate different drugs
- Share their own experience with medications, contributing to a new understanding of how drugs work in the real world.
Iodine gathered this data through an innovative application of Google Consumer Surveys (GCS). GCS infers demographic information such as age and gender, allowing Iodine to create a broad assessment of how real people feel about the medications they're taking. Using GCS, Iodine was able to reach more than 5 million people and collect useful data from more than 100,000 of them.
"Given the right resources and tools, ordinary people have the capacity to engage with information and make better decisions for their health," said Thomas Goetz, co-founder and CEO of Iodine. "The more personal that information, the more meaningful it is to people and the more likely they'll be to make good decisions. The mission of Iodine is to create these tools and to give people the opportunity not just to learn from their peers' experiences, but to contribute their own. It's a benevolent feedback loop."
Matt Mohebbi, co-founder and chief technology officer of Iodine, and a former engineer on the GCS and Google Flu Trends teams said, "We are entering a new era of healthcare, where data science is uncovering new insights for better medicine. Iodine brings this to consumers. Iodine taps massive amounts of data from established sources like CMS, pharma and insurance companies—and we're creating new data, based on ordinary experience, that can complement clinical data to improve people's decisions and health."
Susannah Fox, who ran Pew Research's health surveys for more than a decade, worked with Iodine as an adviser on the survey project. "Iodine is pioneering a new approach to research, leveraging the participatory nature of the Internet, bringing consumer drug reviews to scale," said Fox. "Searching online for drug information always has lacked a social component. Now, people can connect not only with information, but also with others who take the same drugs. It's an evolution that we have seen in other sectors, now coming to health."
Iodine is available free to consumers at www.iodine.com. There, individuals can search the database of more than 1,100 drugs, engage with data-visualization tools, and get answers to questions that people have about their drugs. Visitors can share their experiences with medications in detail, noting how effective they felt a drug has been, and contributing their stories and experiences. Ultimately, these stories and experiences become part of a growing database of shared knowledge, a dataset that can guide new insights into how drugs work in the real world.