Two weeks ago I wrote a piece explaining the conundrum of HealthMap, the incredibly user-friendly free online medical resource often recommended to tourists and patients in need of information about medications. It helps doctors and patients find and fill out all sorts of information about them, and for many of them, that’s enough. But that doesn’t do much to help medical students, physicians, researchers, or anyone else who wants more.
So today, ePharmacy Ro, a medical information site with the same search capabilities but also some truly useful medical content, is launching. Available at ePharmacy Ro’s dedicated health portal HealthGuide as well as its mobile app, HealthGuide is ePharmacy Ro’s standalone site designed to help users make the best decisions about their health.
There is also a free custom Health Guide for doctors that lets them provide more detailed patient-specific information. Users can select their diseases from a list of more than 100, including HIV, cancer, autism, bipolar disorder, hepatitis C, trauma, smoking, pregnancy, drug addiction, and obesity.
Beyond covering covered areas, HealthGuide includes other helpful information. It gives users a chance to take a short quiz to determine how much and what kind of information they’ll need. Its camera-equipped journos take surveys on current health issues like “How often do you feel pain or even loss of control?” and “What is your biggest fear about being sick?”.
Meanwhile, HealthGuide hosts features like a Healthcare Inbox that lets users message doctors about pressing issues and gives them a chance to call on their networks. There’s a page with what’s trending in health, and health tips from the experts like an over-the-top doctor who assures his patient that the crazy Halloween mask he’s worn all week is benign.
You won’t find every medical tool and technique on HealthGuide. There’s a sidebar about side effects, for example, that’s uncomfortable to read without finding out more first. Some of the simple answers in the quizzes also don’t answer whether the ailment will affect you long-term. But HealthGuide is designed with travelers, doctors, and patients in mind, so it’s got enough info and details to answer some questions and treat others with plenty of discretion.
The standard search terms will take you to some interesting corners of the Web, and a user rating system lets users vote up the site’s content. Whether this is time-sink, feel-good wisdom or helpful, there’s enough content here to merit your time. ePharmacy Ro feels like it really wants to be a resource for health; it even includes a feature that lets users map out hospital pain management.
Even with more info, some of the solutions put forth by ePharmacy Ro don’t make sense. The questionnaire you fill out to find out how sensitive people are being gets general answers about how they react to pain. I imagine a doctor could use that to make a diagnosis if they wanted to, rather than making somebody check off that they consider themselves sensitive. Similarly, the constantly running poll with health tips focuses on using apps or asking friends rather than what medical techniques might work.
Either way, I think HealthGuide will make your next trip to the doctor more productive.