I was recently introduced to HealClick, a brand new website that matches chronically ill patients with similar conditions so that they can share relevant treatments and experiences with each other. The site is also working to make sure all this valuable health data is available to researchers (anonymously, of course) instead of wasted. I think there are some really novel ideas at play here!
HealClick is a free site created by patients for patients. It will give you a percentage match to every other member to show you at a glance how similar you are with regards to diagnosis, symptoms, and even treatments. You can ask questions, review treatments, and find support from others in similar situations.
Obviously there are some caveats with a site like this. For one thing, the site is only for patients, which means that no one on the site is actually qualified to offer you medical advice. Anything you learn through the site should of course be checked with your own doctor (which is basically also true about every site on the internet!) I think it is also important to remember that everyone is different, and even patients with the exact same diagnosis won't necessarily have the same experiences. HealClick is also designed to cover a wide array of chronic illnesses. In general, I think that patients with a single, solid diagnosis are probably better off at a site specifically tailored to their condition. For example, if you have RA I think you will probably find more useful resources and patient interactions through RheumatoidArthritis.net and their Facebook page. (Not just because I write for them but because the info on that site is specifically meant to educate and support people living with RA!)
However, for patients who are trying to balance more than one diagnosis or for people who are still struggling to get diagnosed, HealClick may offer an invaluable resource. So I recommend checking it out!