Crowdsourcing – The New PAP

PAP programs (or Patient Assistance Programs) have been around for years. This is typically where a pharmaceutical manufacturer will set aside funds for their medications (theoretically) for those that can’t afford the medications. There are many other foundations and groups that will help patients to afford their treatment.

Interestingly, patients are now the biggest traffic draws on GoFundMe which is a crowdsourcing website for people to raise money. It leverages the power of social media to get the word out and draw people in. This replaces the local bake sales to raise money for individuals. A recent Time article (Crowdfunding a Cure by Alice Park) gave several examples of people raising money for surgery (e.g., $14,000) and cancer treatment (e.g., $144,000).

Of course, the risk here is fake diseases to steal money from caring people. The article says that GoFundMe requires a link to a legitimate Facebook profile and gated promotion beginning with an individual’s social network. But, in a world where we can buy Twitter followers, I’m not sure this really gives me much confidence. This seems like a great opportunity for an mHealth app to jump in and raise money that is directly paid to a provider and not collected by the patient. This would certainly limit some potential fraud and abuse.

Another site I found when researching this topic was GiveForward.

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