How can you tell when crowdsourcing has hit the mainstream? When it’s featured on one of TV’s hottest shows.
“House, M.D.” is about a doctor whose specialty is diagnosing unusual diseases. Each week’s episode features a patient presenting with unexplainable symptoms who requires tests and treatments until the diagnostic team finds the real disease. This week’s episode followed this pattern, but with one exception.
Cue up crowdsourcing.
The episode begins in the traditional style where a patient, a young, technologically “plugged-in” virtual video game creator, is admitted with a bizarre ailment. Unfortunately for him, the famous diagnostician he’s Googled (Dr. House) has quit his job and it’s up to House’s team to solve the mystery, led by his colleague, Dr. Foreman.
When the patient doesn’t think he’s being treated quickly enough, he turns to crowdsourcing for his cure, offering $25,000 for anyone online who can correctly diagnose him. Through a series of events, Dr. Foreman thinks the patient needs chemotherapy, but a team member decides it wouldn’t hurt to check the ideas submitted online before starting the patient on chemo. In the end, the crowdsourced idea was the correct one and the patient’s disease is correctly treated. The irony is that it was Dr. House who posted the correct diagnosis and received the $25,000 check.