We want to make a lasting difference in health of your family.
Our mission is to guide people to excellent health. This is how we are able to make a difference, it’s the driving force behind everything we do. World’s top medical experts share with you their wisdom, knowledge, and compassion in video conversations on medical and public health topics.
We also facilitate reviews of medical problems by panels of top medical experts (“medical second opinions”, but we don’t like this term). Our unique feature is an unlimited, global reach to experts, who we match perfectly to fit every aspect of your medical problem.
Jump to section:
1. Our Expert Advisory Board
2. Why Online Expert Centers?
3. Our mission | What we believe in
4. About Dr. Anton Titov (Founder)
5. Our story – why we started DiagnosticDetectives.Com?
6. Why video interviews? Conversations empower patients.
7. No conflicts of interest
8. ‘Art gallery’ strategy
World’s top medical experts support us
Leading physician-scientists from world’s top universities agree with our strategy. They support and guide our project with their wisdom and knowledge.
See our Expert Advisory Board
All video interviews with expert are free to watch
We group our expert interviews into easily accessible Online Expert Centers by organ system, a major disease, or approach to treatment.
We translate transcripts and introductions into 23 languages and run language-specific websites to share the wisdom of medical experts widely around the world.
All videos have “burned-in” captions for easier viewing on mute, because most people on mobile phones and social media watch videos without sound turned on.
90% of our viewers come from outside the United States. Most of our site visits come from mobile phones and tablets, especially views outside the United States and Western Europe.
See our Online Expert Centers
We also run a live YouTube channel. It broadcasts interviews with our experts 24×7 and can be embedded into any blog or website for free.
What we believe in | Our mission
We believe that excellent health is the foundation of personal and social happiness; it is the energy for positive change in the world – for everyone.
Staying healthy does not always require going to a big hospital, using sophisticated equipment, or “finding” a fancy doctor.
The key to excellent health is paying timely attention to seemingly small but crucial details: family history, lifestyle, disease screenings, and preventive medicine.
You can build upon this foundation by exploring your personal risks to continued health, and reducing them before they manifest into overt illness. We can help.
Should your health falter, it can be restored by getting not only correct, but also timely, precise, and complete diagnosis. You will return to health faster by making savvy treatment decisions that perfectly fit your unique situation. Most medical situations are not as bad as they might seem at first. But the right decisions must taken promptly. We can help.
We are passionate about serving the global community and helping people achieve and maintain excellent health.
It does not matter where you live or which language you speak. Modern medicine and communications technology transcend borders. To identify and reduce your health risks or to get the right diagnosis and treatment can be faster and cheaper than you could imagine.
About Dr. Anton Titov
Dr. Anton Titov has extensive international clinical and research experience. He was a Neurological Surgery Resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston (major teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School), a Research Fellow in Neurology at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a Research Fellow in Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (also a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School). He also had medical experience in the UK, including Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, University Hospital of South Manchester, and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Dr. Titov received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from The Rockefeller University (laboratory of Dr. Günter Blobel, who was awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1999). He was a Special International Student at Harvard Medical School, where he rotated at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Center, Lown Cardiovascular Group, and Neurosurgery department of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He holds an MD from St. Petersburg Medical Academy in Russia. He also studied mathematics at St. Petersburg State University.
Dr. Titov also held positions in the life sciences and investment management industry, including Director at Investment Department of Skolkovo Foundation; Healthcare Advisor to TVM Capital; Managing Director at Onexim Group, a Vice-President at Delta Private Equity Partners, and an Associate at Investment Banking division of Goldman Sachs International (London).
Dr. Anton Titov: “In 2014, a “fibrotic scar”, which my mother had in her lung for some time, expanded and was re-classified as a lung tumor. This was sudden and sad.
I consulted an experienced thoracic surgeon at a top hospital in Boston and received this gloomy summary:
“Just to be clear, the multiple abnormalities in the lung largely removes it from the realm of surgery. There is no hurry with the biopsy because we don’t have very good options. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but her best option is very slow growing tumor.”
I had no reason to challenge this surgeon’s verdict: I had interacted with this senior surgeon during my residency. He had the utmost competency, he is deeply respected by peers.
So all we could do was… nothing.
Nevertheless, I reviewed dozens of medical research articles on this tumor. I reached out to contacts accumulated since I started working at Harvard teaching hospitals in 1994 and during my PhD in Molecular Biology in a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory at The Rockefeller University.
Both medical literature review and contact network exploration focused me on two experts who made this exact type of lung tumor a major focus of their research and clinical work. One of these experts, interestingly, also worked in Boston. In fact, he worked almost next door to the first thoracic surgeon I consulted about my mother.
After reviewing the case, this other, “next-door” surgeon immediately put my mom on his operating schedule, and proceeded fast with pre-operative tests. In a few days, he reverted to us with a completely different assessment of my mother’s situation:
“All of the mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes are negative. I think we can proceed to right upper lobectomy on the original date of surgery. The plan would be to remove any extension into the right lower lobe. The other groundglass lesions will be left alone. The remaining lesions will likely pose little risk to her life.”
That was a completely different assessment and treatment plan for my mother.
While I had no reason to doubt the “we can do nothing” verdict of the first expert, my mother and I certainly preferred action to inaction.
Thus, just two weeks after – through literature search and professional contact network – I identified and reached out to the second surgeon, my mother underwent a minimally invasive (VATS) operation to remove her lung tumor. She was discharged home 6 days later.
I then had this follow-up message from the surgeon:
“Completely resected. It extended in the right lower lobe but we had an adequate margin. All [lymph] nodes were negative. All margins were negative. There is no need for chemotherapy or radiation, just surveillance imaging Q6 months for 2 years and yearly thereafter.”
This was 6 years ago.
My mother is now 88, she leads an independent life, walks for miles, and continues to have a close and joyous relationship with her granddaughter.
A true revelation in this story for me was not the fact that there I was, plugged into a Harvard medical system for 20 years, getting a pessimistic “nothing to do” verdict from one major surgeon. It was also not the fact that I got a completely different assessment and action plan from another expert. Who was working just next door to the first one, in the same hospital system. A true revelation for me was the specific reason why the second surgeon preferred to resect the primary tumor. That made the most profound impact on me. He explained:
“If we do not resect and let the tumor keep growing, however slowly it does grow, the risk of internal transformation of this type of tumor into a more aggressive “classic” lung cancer would become nearly certain. Whereas for other small lesions this risk is very small. So we have to remove the primary tumor.”
It is this explanation, confirmed by another medical oncologist who studied the behavior of such lung tumors, that convinced us of a need to act and accept risks of surgical operation and general anesthesia.
Both experts were profoundly knowledgeable in their field. Both experts were highly experienced. It was not a question of one doctor being “better” than the other. For me, the difference between them was the intensity of focus and awareness of the changing landscape of treatment for this type of tumor.
Imagine, if you had a stomach ulcer and reached out to the “best” gastroenterologist before the Helicobacter pylori was accepted as the cause of ulcers. Everywhere you would turn to, you’d get a “classic” advice to “lower your stress and reduce stomach acidity”. But if you were to find Barry Marshall and Robin Warren – you’d get a very different advice (which was ridiculed at the time by most medical experts). But it was Drs. Marshall and Warren who could cure your ulcer, not all other experts.
I realized that a similar situation befalls millions of patients around the world.
Yes, we all know that misdiagnosis and suboptimal treatment decisions happen all the time. But when you experience it first hand, in a loved one, it makes a personal impact.
Patients may think they have all corners covered, they have health insurance and perhaps they could reach a top-notch doctor in their community or at a fancy brand-name clinic. But just as my mother and I experienced, being at a top hospital does not guarantee a precise, correct, and complete diagnosis. It does not guarantee the most appropriate treatment, even when it’s available and affordable!
History of medicine is, of course, full of such examples:
In colorectal cancer, Prof. Bill Heald developed a superior method of colorectal cancer resection in the early 1980s (TME operation). It reduced colorectal cancer recurrence rates from 20-30% to 5-10%. But his surgical method was not widely accepted “until mid- or even late 1990s” – as a top rectal cancer surgeon from Stockholm discusses in one of our video conversations.
In the UK, a scientific review of epilepsy patients concluded that “Approximately 55% of the population of adults receiving treatment for epilepsy have never received specialist advice. Reassessment of these patients uncovers diagnostic uncertainty, failure to classify (leading to sub-optimal therapy), and lack of information and advice about all aspects of epilepsy care.”
Another UK medical review found that “As many as 20% to 30% of epileptics may have been misdiagnosed. Many of these patients may have cardiovascular syncope, with abnormal movements due to cerebral hypoxia, which may be difficult to differentiate from epilepsy on clinical grounds.”
Whether it’s multiple sclerosis, heart attack (especially in women) or ovarian cancer, a significant percentage of patients are misdiagnosed, delayed to receive appropriate care, or never get a personalized treatment plan – which the right experts could have provided fast.
A personal experience with my mother’s lung tumor has led me to establish the project focused on patient education around the world.
Our goal is to highlight and share as widely as possible an awareness of better diagnostic and treatment options that are often available. They are often available not far away from home but locally. A patient “simply” has to explore more options, talk more to local clinicians, dare to challenge the “first verdict” of a “grey-haired professor”.
It is not easy to convince patients, who are under stress and may not have the knowledge and wherewithal to push had the medical system to work better, until all options are explored, and until the right treatment is found.
It was hard for me despite my knowledge and experience with medicine. But it is possible. I believe that patient education via personal video conversations with top medical experts around the world is a more effective approach than reciting printed texts and convoluted articles.
Honest and direct talk with physicians from many countries encourages patients and their families to be more active and assertive in seeking a better treatment option, first and foremost locally in their communities.
Since I started the project I have been made aware (by Dr. Jason Hwang, co-author of Innovators Prescription, a bestseller by Clayton Christensen of HBS) of Project Echo (http://echo.unm.edu/), which indeed pursues a similar patient education goal thorugh technology. It validates the concept of global interaction between top medical experts, perfectly matched to patient’s problem, and local doctors who care for the patient.
It is about collaboration, not competition. It is about breaking the silos, not building barriers for better flow of knowledge and compassion. This is what we are about.
Why video interviews?
Expert video interview format provides personified, easily digestible, evidence-driven, bite-size medical information to people. This format is especially popular and accessible to people outside the “Western world”, because videos are perfect for mobile phones. That is often the only internet access people have. Bandwidth is not a problem, our videos are hosted on a platform that optimizes videos for low-bandwidth networks.
I am convinced that dry long-form medical texts on websites filled with blinking advertisements and sponsorships (“Web MD”-style) are not fit for 21st century. They are also riddled with conflicts of interest.
A video interview, where a knowledgeable and experienced medical expert shares professional and personal wisdom, makes an emotional impact that goes beyond transfer of factual information. There is an emotional impact. It matters more than facts do.
Conversations empower patients
Conversations with experts from different institutions and countries, who speak confidently on a topic of their life-long professional interest, who explore an issue from multiple angles, empower patients in 193 countries to be more confident when they discuss treatment options with their local doctors.
It is a significant part of our public health impact: empowering patients around the world to take better control of their health, to feel stronger during interaction with local medical providers. If you don’t know what’s possible, how can you ask for it?
No conflicts of interest
Importantly, our project has zero conflicts of interest.
We are 100% independent, we are not affiliated with any commercial or academic entity. We are absolutely “non-denominational”. We do not favor any hospitals or medical groups. In fact, we do not mention any names of hospitals where the experts we interview work at. We only mention a university name that an expert is affiliated with.
There is absolutely no advertisement or any sponsorship on our websites. Never.
Our strategy could be called an “Art gallery model”
An art gallery displays a Monet or Rembrandt or Goya painting. A thousand people pass through and see the masterpiece for free or for a small fee. Then one person might come along and buy a Monet. This one purchase will pay for whole gallery upkeep. In this way, tens of thousands of people benefit from seeing the masterpiece for free, and one affluent connoisseur pays for it all with one purchase.
Our project works similarly. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world see all our video conversations with world’s best experts for free. Without annoying and conflicted advertisements. Without conflicted sponsorships by hospitals or pharmaceutical companies. Our videos have information translated into 23 languages and we run many language-localized website mirrors.
It takes about $10,000 of all-in costs to make one video interview. The van Goghs, Monets, and Rembrandts in our “gallery” are the experts. Then one person, usually a “professional”, a management consultant, international lawyer, IT engineer or a banker, comes along. They may be interested to check if their family member’s diagnosis and treatment plan are on par with what the world’s experts, who totally focus on that specific situation, could offer. So they purchases one of our services. This enables us to sustain and grow the project with more interviews.
To date, a ratio of free video views to a paying client is >10,000 to 1. Thus, public benefit significantly dominates over commercial part. We think it s a fair deal.
Advertisement-driven business models are riddled with conflicts of interest. They require click-bait and sensationalist approaches to chase gazillions of page views. You need 500,000 to 1 million views on YouTube to make $1,000. This in turn leads to bait-and-switch, low quality content. Also, considering the fact that Facebook and Google draw 85% of online advertising budgets, it’s a futile effort to chase page views and ad cents.
Therefore, provision of a specific online service is the only way to sustain and grow a “medicine+media” project.
Obviously very few of site’s visitors can afford our services or, indeed, could grasp a real value of our services (although we work hard to explain it). But hundreds of thousands of people find and watch our interviews for free. That fulfills our mission of sharing expertise and wisdom of top experts with people who could use this information for their benefit.
How do we finance the project?
This project is financed entirely by facilitating expert opinions and routing clinical cases to those experts around the world who match the case most closely. This strategy seeks to replicate my mother’s lung tumor situation. The second surgeon’s expertise matched my mother’s situation perfectly, and, therefore, completely transformed her treatment plan and prognosis.
We also provide a referral system for patient to the experts around the world who match the patient’s situation like lock and key. And it’s a two-way benefit for both experts and patients. A given expert would much prefer to take care of the patient who fits perfectly their clinical and research interest.
Experts also benefit by communicating their clinical wisdom on medical topics of their interest to the whole world. After all, educating the public beyond one’s own patients is a part of physician’s professional calling.
“The genius within is the genius you can pass on” – brilliantly said neurosurgeon Dr. Philip Theodosopoulos, my former colleague and now Director, Skull Base Tumor Program at UCSF. Via personal video conversations, medical experts pass on their genius to the world.