A CEO's Mission To Create A Facebook For Medical Patients

Forbes recently published an article about a young CEO and co-founder of a startup getting ready to take on the tech industry. This occurrence of some new visionary, full of vibrance, energy and a refreshing perspective bringing his or her idea to the market has become pretty routine in the tech world. The idea either flops or soars into the annals of Silicon Valley lore. Well, the following story goes a bit differently.

Joey Tuan, co-founder and CEO of HealClick, did not always have the robust energy it takes to stand at the helm of a fledgling startup. A few years ago, after completing his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Berkeley, Tuan decided to let out some pent-up tension on a 17-mile hike in Yosemite. In the middle, he became ill, completely consumed with severe flu-like symptoms.

Upon finishing, Tuan’s doctor said that nothing was wrong. But throughout the following months, Tuan was unable to shake his symptoms. He connected with people on online forums who were experiencing similar symptoms. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed Tuan with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a largely misunderstood illness.

Tuan says M.E. currently has no FDA-approved treatment, but can gradually get better over time, albeit never completely on its own. It was his struggle with the illness that fueled the motivations for his startup, HealClick, which he says is "revolutionizing patient-sharing." Essentially, HealClick allows patients to list their medical conditions, symptoms and treatments.

Then, users are matched with others based on compatibility in the aforementioned categories. Then, HealClick anonymously shares data with researchers who are performing related clinical trials and studies.

By providing social support, medical information and treatment reviews, HealClick aims to create a Facebook of sorts for patients to crowdsource help. Like all social media platforms, HealClick users opt to be as active in the community as they wish and, of course, they do not have to participate at all.

HealClick estimates that there are 50 million patients facing "poorly-understood, frequently-overlapping autoimmune diseases," who could potentially benefit from the service.

Additionally, Tuan insists that HealClick will branch out to other illnesses. Moving forward, Tuan's challenge will be to raise capital and user interest once the site goes live in mid-January. Having already sunk more than $200,000 on working to find a cure for his own illness, he hopes, through HealClick, to help others avoid such high medical costs.

Photo via HealClick