Archive for September 21st, 2006

Healia Search Engine Launch

September 21, 2006

Healia, a health search engine reviewed in beta previously here, has launched. Still considered beta but improved, the tool is rich with features. I like the filters for gender, age cohorts and heritage which can also be hidden, the font size widget and search history. But one of the best features is the ability to go more general or more specific on each topic.There are also methods to incorporate the search into your site and an offer of business solutions.

The algorithms appear sound from a sampling of key health topics and the drug search has even more – a suggested result from sources like Medline, dosage, uses and side effects in tabs. The search results appear to be from trusted sources like WebMD, hospital websites, NOAH, government websites, Merck, etc. Attributes are assigned to each search result, such as, Advanced Reading, whether the site has a privacy policy, fast loading, and formatting for text browsers.

Can’t review a search engine without a comparison to Google and in this case, Google Co-op health. While Google is working on developing trusted sources through a subscription model and helping users narrow searches for some health categories, it does not provide the richness of a niche tool like Healia. Hospital websites should recommend tools like this which produce focused and reliable results.

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David Brailer’s Op-Ed in the New York Times

September 21, 2006

On September 19th, the NY Times published a piece by Dr. David Brailer on EMR and PHRs. In discussing current legislation on EMRs, he says, “These rules help doctors improve care, and at the same time push health information portability into the mainstream.” The difference in House and Senate bills are highlighted by a difference of opinion on portability: “Congress must confront as it tries to reconcile the competing versions of the bill: opposition to portable health information is, by definition, support for proprietary health information.” He cites the imporatance of portability as a do no harm issue – that is, that a vote against portability is harmful.

Couldn’t agree more with this and also his admission that getting there is costly and requires a significant commitment.

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