PatientsLikeMe: An Online Community of Patients

Posted: 28 Feb 2012

See all articles by Sunil Gupta

Sunil Gupta

Harvard Business School

Jason Riis

Harvard Business School

Date Written: April 26, 2011

Abstract

PatientsLikeMe (PLM) is an online community where patients share their personal experiences with a disease, find other patients like them, and learn from each other. The company was founded by Jamie and Ben Heywood when their 29-year-old brother was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. In less than five years, PLM has grown to 15 patient communities where over 80,000 patients discuss 19 diseases. In December 2010, PLM is discussing its planned launch of a General Platform that would expand the number of diseases covered from 19 to over 3,500. Is it the right move, and what does PLM need to do to make it a success?

Learning Objective: To understand how an online community is built and monetized and to highlight the challenges in growing the platform to a larger scale.

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Sunil and Riis, Jason, PatientsLikeMe: An Online Community of Patients (April 26, 2011). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Case No. 511-093. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2012734

Sunil Gupta (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Jason Riis

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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