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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Context in healthcare is a good thing

Posted by direwolff on November 11, 2006

I’m on the advisory board of a company called Healia, that is a healthcare-focused search engine. This is one of those services that after using it once for any healthcare need, it becomes obvious why it will forever after be your first choice when it comes to finding information about maladies you or your loved ones are dealing with. While Google does a pretty good job of finding lots of information on most things, even healthcare matters, there is a context that Healia brings to its responses that is unmatched and much more thorough and deep than anything Google currently aspires to provide. Granted I’m biased, but the “proof is in the pudding”.

I did a search for “malignant neoplasms” (the less generic term for cancer) and what you should note from the results is that in addition to the standard list, a set of tabs appear across the top with such categories as “Prevention”, “Causes/Risks”, “Symptoms”, “Diagnosis/Tests” and “Treatment”. Further refinement and segmentation of the results can be done off of the left margin where in addition to demographic filters (gender, age group, heritage), there are also filters for facilitating the review of the information or qualifying it better.

Context really lends itself to taking simple ideas and going very far with them. When I think of the future of search, it will come in having either many of these services where people will begin to know where to go search to address their specific needs or we will see a new breed of meta-search engines appear that facilitate selecting the context for our request and they will then drop us off on the most appropriate search engine with its results. I could envision meta-search engines like Metacrawler or Dogpile, that today enable the user to select from the search categories of “Web”, “Images”, “Audio”, “Video”, “News”, “Yellow Pages”, and “White Pages”, evolve to supporting additional categories like “Healthcare”, “Financial”, “Sports”, “Entertainment”, “People” and “Products/Merchandise”. Perhaps other vertical search engines for broad interest categories will emerge and also make their way into this list. I could also envision natural language front-ends applied to meta-search engines that would try to infer the search engine selection from which to provide the best results.

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One Response to “Context in healthcare is a good thing”

  1. J said

    Thanks for the tip. I saved to delicious and will check it out, probably sooner than I’d like to think.

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