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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Kind Of Second Opinion — At A Price



Psychologist Sandor Gardos had seen 80 experts, including Nobel prize winners, but none were able to diagnose his serious medical condition — much less offer any effective treatment.

That’s when a friend told him about a new firm, MetaMed, which specializes in a different kind of second opinion. It offers personalized research for a price to people with difficult medical conditions.

The company gathers personal information and puts it to a team of not just doctors, but also researchers and information scientists, who take the information and analyze the data to come up with recommendations unique to each patient.

It’s sort of a directed crowd sourcing, and it’s not cheap — average cost is between $3,000 and 5,000 — though in one case, the bill ran to $250,000.

But Gardos told Here & Now it’s the only thing that has helped him. Gardos is still struggling with his illness, but he now has a working diagnosis and treatment.

The magazine Venture Beat calls it personalized health care for the 1 percent.

But MetaMed’s Sarah Constantin says the company is pioneering a new method in medicine that its founders hope will eventually help millions of people.


  • Sarah Constantin, vice president of research and analytics for MetaMed, and a PhD candidate in Mathematics at Yale.
  • Sandor Gardos, psychologist who used MetaMed for a serious medical condition.

Read more

New York Magazine “Last year, with $500,000 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, [Jaan Tallinn] helped launch a company called MetaMed, which, for fees ranging from $5,000 to (so far) $250,000, offers wealthy clients all the medical intelligence the smartest scientists and doctors can conjure.”

Bloomberg Businessweek “Researchers drawn from Google and top universities compare the patient’s case with the latest scientific studies, medical journals, and health data, seek out the procedures and hospitals that offer them the best chance at recovery, and give patients a wider look at their treatment options than a physician might provide.”

Wall Street Journal: “Since Skype was sold for $2.6 billion in 2005, making him tens of millions of dollars, [Jaan Tallinn] has moved on to bigger issues—like extending the span of a healthy human life and saving the species. And those are just this spring’s initiatives.”

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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