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Getting the Information Out

by John Moore | October 29, 2007

There is a ton of health-related information out there on the Web, but getting to it is not always easy. Sure, there are any number of health-specific search engines e.g., Google, Healia, HealthVault, Praxeon, WEGO, Yahoo to name a few.  Each has a slightly different angle to them, but honestly, we probably now have more health search engines than the market can support.  But what I find most puzzling is that with all these solutions out there, I can’t find one that answers these basic questions quickly and simply:

  • What should I consider in looking for a doctor and/or a clinic/or hospital?
  • How good are the doctors in my area?  Who comes recommend and why (beyond what a neighbor may tell you)?
  • What is the quality of care provided by local hospitals for various, common procedures?
  • What is the cost of that care? How does that cost compare to others in the region?
  • What should I look for in evaluating health insurance coverage?
  • How should I manage my medical records and if I wish to use a PHR, how do I evaluate the multitude of offerings today.

All these questions are (or will be) increasingly common as consumers are asked to shoulder a greater burden in their healthcare decision making via the new push for consumer driven healthcare (CDHC).

An attempt has been made at addressing this challenge here in Massachusetts by The Partnership for Healthcare Excellence.  While I congratulate them on their efforts to provide a website that attempts to answer many of the questions above, I find it provides only nominal value-add.  this site really falls short of what it could be as it is very simplistic and more of an aggregation of links that send you off into the proverbial wilderness.

Hopefully, what we are seeing here today is a very early beta version and that future enhancements are forthcoming that will move this site beyond simplistic links by leveraging some of the newer tools on the Internet to provide more interactive functionality.  Then they will have something that not only helps me get answers to those questions above, but does so much more readily than what can be done today.

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