2009 Holiday Appeal Letter

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Hello All, Happy Holidays!!

As Congress aims to insure more Americans and lower healthcare costs, we our building "OurMed" to make reform of our own.  In this past year, OurMed has applied a unique non-profit approach to gather a medical community of professionals, patients and consumers.  Our technical team has built a plan to add physician verification to go one step further than the wikipedia model we created this year.  Having assessed dozens of web developers, we have selected one who will partner with us to create an incredible global resource-- Adding consumer ratings to make a first rate website that will be of the highest quality and totally transparent. -- And we will begin the first week of the new year but we need your help.

Today, we extend a hand to you. We ask for your financial support, but also — equally important — we invite you to join us, share the excitement and be a part of this historical movement this coming year.  With your tax-deductable contribution OurMed will impact the lives of millions around the world.  Click here and donate--just $10 or more will make a huge difference.  For more information, please read below or click here to see a video of our plans.

[Your Name]

A member of the OurMed Community

Thanks to modern medicine we are no longer forced
to endure prolonged pain, disease, discomfort and
- Robert Orben

Missing on the Web:
According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 61% of adults look online for health information[1]. But surprisingly three-quarters of those searching don’t consistently check the source and date of the health reference they find [2]. OurMed was created as a response to the lack of unbiased and well organized information on the internet.

While many health websites already exist, the information that is provided is often times cluttered and biased by advertisers who support the site and influence its content. Government sites, though helpful, tend to be too complex for non-professionals and have limited information on controversial or alternative forms of medicine.

Many current models of disseminating information such as Wikipedia do not verify the credentials of their authors. Wikipedia’s medical entries are prone to manipulation and are not reliable [3]. Moreover, in many cases you don’t know who has contributed content nor their background or expertise.

OurMed’s Near-Term Goals:
Having built the framework of a Medical Encyclopedia as a Phase One “Wikipedia Model” for health information, 2010 will see the launch of Phase 2 including consumer health ratings on a whole suite of features.
Going beyond the public wiki approach, funds for this project will enable all health and wellness participants to sort through unreliable, outdated and irrelevant information by offering an accurate, non-partisan and free source that users can trust. By using a combination of "wiki" technology and a new layer of user preferences and experiences, we are committed to provide a free and non-commercial resource with the potential to revolutionize healthcare information as we know it.

Organizational Strength:
OurMed was founded in June 2007 as a non-profit charity to benefit all health and wellness participants including healthcare facilities, physicians across all disciplines, as well as practitioners of both Eastern and Western medicines, and patients throughout the world. OurMed is governed by a Board of Directors which includes experts in Public Health, Information Technology, and the former head of Wikipedia.
Florence Devouard, the former Board Chair at the Wikimedia Foundation, was a key professional in fostering a community of volunteer authors to create the "Wikipedia Encyclopedia Project" in which 75 thousand active members contributed to writing over ten million articles. Through her expertise in building online communities, Ms. Devouard helped OurMed apply the same "wiki" approach to healthcare.
OurMed works with computer scientists from New York Presbyterian’s Cornell Weill Medical College, the Indian Institute of Technology, the Health Innovation & Technology Lab at Columbia University Medical Center, and Carnegie Mellon/ Silicon Valley Campus to launch Phase Two in the summer of 2010–a dynamic portal that uses an algorithm to verify physician credentials.

Accomplishments this past year:
This year we built a community. We have gathered medical researchers and practitioners to discuss what they need to do their jobs better--We have queried vast numbers of healthcare participants to find out how best to allow their input, in a constructive manner. In fact, only through partnership — both participation and support — has the dream of a free and fair medical knowledge has become a reality.
Whether patients with mild symptoms or of disease, students of medicine, PHd's, researchers, physicians, or friends like you, community volunteers helped make this a very exciting year. We shared ideas, creative inspiration, expertise, and designed a powerful plan to produce further development of an extensive resource of free, non-biased healthcare resource. What we’ve accomplished, working together, has been meritorious and profound.

Wisdom of Crowds
This past year, we have built up a community of medical professionals and interested reform minded innovators from around the world--OurMed is now poised to take advantage of new “wisdom of crowds” model for innovation on the Internet in which collective knowledge is thought to be superior to the intelligence of the few. Nevertheless, not all crowds are wise. Recent cases and new research suggests that crowd-sourcing is only truly successful when it is focused on a specific task and when the most effective collaborators are involved [4].

OurMed.Org is a long-term, worldwide initiative to develop an online collaborative source of health and medical information for medical professionals and the general public. With your support, we intend to make OurMed a repository of up-to-date unbiased medical information, contributed and maintained by health experts around the world and freely available to the general public. Unlike Wikipedia, which allows anyone to modify pages, OurMed content creators and editors are required to have an M.D., D.O. or Ph.D. in a biomedical field; each contributor will have an author page detailing their qualifications and background.

The goal of The OurMed Project is to evolve a new model for how the world accesses medical knowledge. Launched in October 2008, the website is largely an encylocpedic Wiki of medical information. The OurMed knowledge base will consist of articles divided into two pages: a “Plain English” page for the lay public and a “Clinical” page for professional users.
OurMed will allow Professionals to Network and allow users to find and maintain contacts. Designed as a LinkedIn for the medical community, in addition to direct user-to-user messages, the platform will employ a Facebook-like Wall to communicate with other users, working groups and associations.

Lastly, OurMed Communities provide a section for medical experts and patients to share information and communicate inside OurMed.
Over the last ten years on the Internet, remarkable breakthroughs have taken place in collaborative knowledge sharing and communication that have yet to be provided to the medical community. We’ve added to these breakthroughs, adapted them for medicine and health, and are putting them in one free platform for the medical community. The OurMed Platform will continue to expand as the medical community finds even more uses for it.

Impact on Healthcare Consumers:
To the healthcare recipient “clean” (unbiased) and “clear” information on medicine, health and the body will allow for cost savings. Users will be able to share preferences and personal experiences marking an exciting milestone in the “Democratization of Healthcare”. Addressing the need to improve disparities throughout the healthcare system, user ratings will establish dynamic standards of accuracy. Users will then be able to provide location-specific queries of the most effective drug and treatment options.

Benefits to the Medical Community:
OurMed will serve the medical community by creating a professional repository of data. Medicine will be fairly represented. As emerging issues are debated, OurMed will be in effect a clearing house of professional research and publications.

Our neutral-point-of-view policy will ensure credible, unbiased medical information driven by the medical community. On a global level, we are thrilled at the prospect of enhancing medical knowledge by providing data from clinical trials around the world, thereby providing access to cross-cultural references of disease conditions and treatments. The coding platform will be open-source with free license and entirely free to the end-user. To maintain a high level of ethical accountability and transparency, all project and organizational financial reports will be posted online.

The net effect will be no less than the advancement of medical knowledge. This is an ambitious project and it has the potential to have a global impact. We aim to launch by the Summer of 2010 and expect tens of thousands of unique visitors by the end of the year.

A short 3 minute video is available on YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgYfFxEkLk

With your help, we can further our work on this groundbreaking project which aims to significantly advance healthcare innovation. A donation of $10 or more will go a long way and is very appreciated.
Thank you,
The OurMed Global Family

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