Crowdsourcing Medical Expertise to Reduce the Health Gap

One World Doctors aims to distribute medical expertise to bridge the gap between strong and weak health systems.

von Nicole Winchell, May 1, 2017

One World Doctors has created a platform that aims to distribute medical expertise and facilitates the exchange of medical knowledge to bridge the gap between strong and weak health systems. We caught up with founders Tom Bley and Janko Brand to learn about how they plan to crowdsource medical knowledge. 

What social problem do you aim to solve with One World Doctors and what is your solution?

In a perfect world, medical expertise would be evenly distributed across the globe, and every patient would have access to a doctor with their needed specialization. In reality, medical expertise is clustered in certain geographies and lacking in others. One World Doctors aims to distribute this expertise- through a platform for the exchange of medical knowledge to bridge the gap between strong and weak health systems. We want to enable medical specialists worldwide to help their peers via a crowdsourced telemedicine solution. 

How is the medical expertise passed along to the individual? 

A medical doctor uploads anonymized medical data to One World Doctors, and we make it available to specialist members who provide conciliatory advice- resulting in a better diagnosis and treatment for the patient. 

Is there any quality assurance or peer-review system in place?

We validate users through established identification systems, for example in Germany it is the Lebenslange Arztnummer (LANR). 

You have a PhD in biochemistry, what motivated you to found One World Doctors?

My background is infection biology, which led to me being asked to support the Robert Koch Institute and the European mobile lab in the 2014 Ebola epidemic. My professional duties and the risk of self-infection prevented me from taking part in this aid mission on site in Guinea, but I was able to pre-evaluate patient data remotely from home in my spare time. That's where the idea for originated from and since than the One World Doctors team works on expanding the impact of this initiative.

In general, what do you see as the greatest challenges to global health in the next 10 years?

To find effective antimicrobial treatment plans will be of great importance. The world seen as a global village will become more fragile when it comes to the spread of infectious disease. We will have to work more cooperatively across countries and continents when it comes to the prevention of pandemics. This starts with stronger medical coverage also in rural areas. We believe that telemedicine will help to overcome the problem of low medical coverage in rural areas.

What countries are currently active in? 

We have a number of medical doctors registered on our platform, with a focus on Germany, Bangladesh and Switzerland.

What’s next for One World Doctors?

We will participate in the “3rd International Deutschland Forum”, where we will have the chance to meet Angela Merkel. Meanwhile we are interviewing medical specialists of all disciplines to join. 

Has it been a challenge to reach and convince local staff to use your service?

It is still a challenge to reach out to local staff, but a medical coworker in Bangladesh approached us with a medical case, and we provided expert advice, now we are in close contact and expanding the relationships.

What is your business model?

We run a hybrid business model with traditional fundraising on one side. On the other end, we offer medical device providers the possibility to connect to the OWD platform so that the data generated by the instruments can be linked to medical specialists, thereby the value of the medical device increases and we take a small share to maintain the platform. Since One World Doctors is a non-profit organization, we will offer tax back possibilities as incentives for the participating medical specialist. 

What makes you a Changer?

The idea of One World Doctors is to influence the global distribution of medical expertise to ensure healthy lives and well-being at all ages. The real changers are the medical doctors who donate their time and skills.