Wednesday, September 23, 2009

4 health sites that offer something new (or improved)

Blog entry submitted by Katelyn Phillips, one of our "Stin-terns"

For the past few years, I’ve been getting all my medical advice from my most trusted health advisor: WebMD. Unfortunately, we’ve had a rather tumultuous relationship. It’s always the same thing: I feel a new pain somewhere on my body, I enter my symptoms on, and I am told that I basically dying from either some form of cancer, or a rare strain of some awful virus. So imagine my relief after I encountered the article, “What’s New (Or Improved) In Health Sites” in the Wall Street Journal.

According to the article, health-care sites are dramatically evolving into more than just medical “encyclopedias for dummies” and symptom checkers. Sites are finally being receptive to consumer health concerns, “including prescription drug safety, quality of care, and the ability to network with other patients facing similar health problems.” Sites such as Microsoft Health Vault even offer patients the option of storing – and later sharing – health records online. Of course, this is controversial due to privacy issues and whatnot, but for patients with multiple doctors performing multiple tests, it can be extremely helpful, even lifesaving.

Even more sites are focused on helping patients manage their care more effectively and efficiently. Here’s a quick sampling of some new – or improved – health sites to whet your appetite: - Option to “fill out an online form on the medications you take, and the institute will send you information on drug-safety ratings, possible interactions among your medications, side effects, and reviews from other patients” – all for free! - Allows consumers to compare how hospitals in their areas are performing on various measures of safety and care

HazMap ( - Database providing information on “exposure to chemicals and biologic substances at work and with certain hobbies”
- Links together 24 separate health sites, including for pregnancy and for posting patient progress, as well as provides custom health resources

It’s nice to know there are more options available for patients and consumers to reference as a second opinion when WebMD is diagnosing a death sentence. For more information on other new or improved health sites, click here to check out the rest of the article.

No comments: