This Start-Up Might Transform Medicine — With Help From Dr. McDreamy

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Ever since the early days of Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey's brilliant, brain-surgeon alter ego, Dr. Derek Shepherd (more commonly referred to as Dr. McDreamy), has always been my favorite. Can you blame me? Yes, the intense blue eyes were part of the appeal, but, more importantly, he always seemed like he truly cared.

Just as I was beginning to accept that this was television and not reality, Dempsey's life appears to be imitating art — with potentially great implications. Shape reports that the actor has teamed up with CrowdMed, an exciting new health start-up, to help spread the word about its game-changing service.

The company's aim is simple: to help harness the power of the web to solve the most difficult medical cases. Patients whose symptoms have stumped their doctors can present their cases to CrowdMed's network of thousands of doctors, med students, researchers, and other experts, as well as laypeople, who work together to come up with a diagnosis remotely.

Since the service debuted in April 2013, over 250 extraordinarily complex cases have been cracked, thanks to the teamwork of CrowdMed's thousands of razor-sharp medical minds. According to CEO Jared Heyman, the system works out to "about 50 times faster and about 200 times cheaper than a traditional approach of the patient bouncing from doctor to doctor." So, keep this in mind next time an actor humbly mutters that he just plays a doctor on TV.

To read more about the cases CrowdMed has helped solve, and the company's partnership with Dempsey, click over to Shape.