Patient social media startup MyHealthTeams has created a new network for individuals facing “long COVID.” Dubbed myCOVIDteam, the new tool comes out of a partnership between the San Francisco company and South African payer Discovery.
Typically patients fully recover from COVID-19 after a few weeks. However, some experience symptoms related to COVID-19 even after their initial recovery, which is often referred to as “long COVID,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
The new community is designed to give individuals living with the condition foundational information, including risk facts, symptoms and treatment options. Patients can also tap into interviews with doctors about long COVID-19, and access studies about the condition.
There is also a patient-led experience, where members can share their personal stories and experiences.
“It’s still early in the effort to understand and mitigate long-COVID, and myCOVIDteam is a community of people who share firsthand experiences and can help each other more effectively work with their doctors.
“We’re also working with members of the MyHealthTeams Medical Expert Panel to create and curate content that dispels misinformation and helps people more quickly access actionable resources to effectively manage their health,” Eric Peacock, cofounder and CEO of MyHealthTeams, told MobiHealthNews.
The new community is launching in 13 countries, including the U.S., South Africa, the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, more than half of individuals who had COVID-19 will continue to experience symptoms six months after contracting the virus. Research on the effects of COVID-19 are ongoing. In February, the NIH launched a new initiative to study “long COVID.” This came after Congress approved $1.15 billion in funding for the NIH to research the prolonged effects of COVID-19.
Fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, joint pain, and memory and concentration issues are all common symptoms that linger after COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic. The clinic also noted that older people and those with serious medical conditions are the most at-risk for experiencing lingering symptoms.
As the medical community continues to search for answers about “long COVID,” MyHealthTeams is pitching this new network as a place for folks to share information and ask questions.
“People facing continued symptoms and long-term impacts of COVID-19 need a safe place to learn and talk about COVID. They are seeking trusted information from medical experts, practical tips from others experiencing similar challenges, and emotional support within the context of a secure social network. myCOVIDteam makes it easy for them to do all of these things,” Peacock said.
THE LARGER TREND
MyHealthTeams has a number of communities for patients with specific conditions, including autism, breast cancer, endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome. In 2020, the company launched a new resource for pregnant women with MS.
The company has $26.84 million in venture dollars, after closing a $9.44 million Series B funding round in 2019.
MyHealthTeams isn’t the only patient social network platform. PatientsLikeMe also has community networks for individuals living with specific conditions. In 2019, the company was sold to the UnitedHealth Group, becoming part of the payer’s research branch. This acquisition was met with mixed reactions from the patient community.