Helping users filter out online health information

Image-Disease-Health-Keys-ID-10094991The search for online health information can quickly overwhelm most people.  There is so much information available that it often requires users to sort through a maze of websites and medical information which may or may not be relevant.  However a new startup aims to change that.  Medivizor is a website that helps users sort through all the online health information to deliver relevant medical information.  Medivizor is the first company to provide truly personalized information and updates for people with serious medical conditions. It is founded and supported by doctors’ medical expertise and an interdisciplinary team of entrepreneurs with IT expertise.  Will they succeed ? It depends on whether users find their service valuable but more importantly if they can stay on top of new medical information.

 

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Currently Medivizor is by “invitation only” which is not good news for patients.  People want health information at THEIR convenience and are not likely to go back to a website that is not 100% up and running.   The other challenge is to ensure that the medical information they have is relevant and that they are allowed to use ALL the information available to patients from ALL health websites.  Some websites, for example, may not want their content repurposed on another site. However the idea is sound.I always though that Google should offer a special search option for health information removing the SPAM sites that so many people try to avoid but over the past few years Google has improved the user experience.  That alone is a challenge for Medivizor as a majority of people (close to 80%) start their search for health information with a search engine.  The other challenge is getting people to come back to the site.  Will, for example, people want to stay abreast of health information around conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol ?  It has been my experience through research with patients that they only search for health information at specific times within the healthcare transaction model.  There are some people though that want to stay on top of health information effecting them, Type one diabetics have a strong online presence and sense of community.

Time will tell if Medivizor is successful.  While a lot of startups sound like good ideas they often don’t have the money or time to conduct in-depth research and usability studies that can lead to a successful website.

5 thoughts on “Helping users filter out online health information

  1. Nice to virtually meet you. Allow me to introduce myself – I am Ronen Keinan, Chief Operating Officer of Medivizor. I just finished reading your article about Medivizor. Thanks for the thorough review and evaluation. We truly appreciate the time you took to put your thoughts in writing.

    Currently Medivizor is by “invitation only” which is not good news for patients. People want health information at THEIR convenience and are not likely to go back to a website that is not 100% up and running.

    Valid point. The main reason Medivizor is currently in invitation-only early access mode is that it only supports a limited number of important medical conditions. Diabetes is one of them, and so are several important cancers (e.g. breast, prostate, colorectal cancers, and melanoma). When a larger number of conditions will be supported, Medivizor will open up to accept all users. Meanwhile, we are perfecting the service based on the experience of those with the supported medical conditions. Upon sign up, the user is asked for their primary medical condition – if it is supported, we will most likely send them an invite expeditiously. If it is not, they will be notified when their medical condition is supported.

    The other challenge is to ensure that the medical information they have is relevant and that they are allowed to use ALL the information available to patients from ALL health websites. Some websites, for example, may not want their content repurposed on another site.

    Medivizor may not have access to “all” information. However, it intends to have access to all quality information. The extent of the information will continuously grow. Just like search engines can index all the publicly available information (and beyond that), we believe Medivizor will, ultimately, have access to all necessary information, or close to it. The information is made meaningful by correctly associating it to whom it is relevant (personalizing it) and “translating” it from medical jargon to a language people can understand and act on.

    However the idea is sound. I always though that Google should offer a special search option for health information removing the SPAM sites that so many people try to avoid but over the past few years Google has improved the user experience. That alone is a challenge for Medivizor as a majority of people (close to 80%) start their search for health information with a search engine.

    We anticipate that Google and other general health information will be the first place people will search for health/medical information. However, we believe Medivizor will become that one indispensible tool everybody would add to their toolbox when dealing with a serious or chronic medical condition. This may, initially, be additional to the other approaches and not replace them. We appreciate, that at first, we would need to gain the trust of our users until they can actually rely on us more and more over time.

    The other challenge is getting people to come back to the site. Will, for example, people want to stay abreast of health information around conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol? It has been my experience through research with patients that they only search for health information at specific times within the healthcare transaction model. There are some people though that want to stay on top of health information effecting them, Type one diabetics have a strong online presence and sense of community.

    The interaction model is somewhat similar to LinkedIn. The user signs up, fills in a medical profile, and then begins getting information specifically for them. As new information becomes available, they get notified via email and can click the email to go directly to the site to learn more about the new information. The new information might be a new research published, a matching clinical trial, a new guideline, a new community resource, or more. We agree that when someone is first diagnosed with a condition, they go into a flurry of research. Some get the information they need, and tone this down later. Others continue. But all people would love to know if there is something new – without the need to constantly check the Internet to figure out if something has changed. The problem with RSS feeds on keywords is that they bring way too much information – much of it repetitive, most of it, irrelevant to their specific situation. Medivizor cuts through the chaff and brings just new information that’s personally relevant. So why not remain subscribed to Medivizor even after the initial diagnoses and subsequent information gathering?

    Time will tell if Medivizor is successful. While a lot of startups sound like good ideas they often don’t have the money or time to conduct in-depth research and usability studies that can lead to a successful website.

    We believe we have the financial wherewithal and product development and research depth to be able to realize our vision. Time will indeed tell whether we are up to the task – but the time is right and all what we’ve heard from people, bloggers, journalists, analysts, doctors, healthcare providers, and more, reinforces that we’re on the right track. So, we intend to go ahead and “just do it”. We believe the world would be a better place as a result and we’ll be proud to be part of that revolution – the personalized health and medical information revolution.

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