Oh, how the health-related websites proliferate. They're popping up faster than frozen yogurt shops in the 1980's. At least a dozen new health-focused search engines and patient community sites have graciously contacted me in recent weeks asking for feedback on their functionality and patient karma. Sadly, I haven't been able to do them all justice.
Which makes me think they can't possibly all survive. I'm guessing that most of you are as busy as I am. At some point, we'll all wheedle our online activities down to a handful of health-related sites that feel like home.
So what exactly determines which of these "houses" feel like "homes"? Credibility, high-quality content, and friendly interface design are givens, of course. But what else are we really looking for? A place that is exclusively devoted to our own condition (for us PWDs, dLife, Talkfest, or TuDiabetes.com)? Or are we interested in spending time on the diabetes pages of a broader health network like HealthCentral.com or Revolution Health?
Seeing as I'll be hosting a panel on "Social Media for Patients" at the upcoming Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco — which explores the convergence of the Health Boom and Web 2.0 -- I'd like to hear your thoughts on the topic.
So tell me, Dear Target Audience (that's how they see you):
- What makes a patient community site work for you?
- Do you want to post "your story" in detail, or read a multitude of bloggers on a single medical site?
- Are you interested in a search engine where a real live medical expert "walks you through" your research?
- Or are you doing just fine with the Google/WebMD combo?
- What makes any health/medical site bookmark-worthy for you?
- And/or what would you like to ask (or tell) the country's top web-health luminaries if you could?
Not familiar with any of the current offerings? Check out a few of these before you answer:
Health Community Sites:
OurHeatlhCircle (from UC Berkeley)
Health-Related Search Engines:
MedHelp International (also with community forums)
** UPDATE: Check out Hospital Impact's posts on Healthcare for the Facebook Generation (why do we need to build NEW sites for health stuff?) and Is RevolutionHealth's Revolution Dead? (user fatigue - you try out a new site, but do you go back?). Excellent points, both. **