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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Consumer health information discoveries

I have been finding a lot of consumer health information websites, both local and international - a whole bunch of them - and I think it all started when I went to the announcement yesterday for the CISCO/McMaster University Professorship in Integrated Health Biosystems, as well as a Research Chair in Bioinformatics. This doesn't have a consumer health informatics label on it, but should have a Big Data one and be a separate post. Patients come into it when data from clinical trials will finally not go to waste but will be cross-linked with research databases to be put to use for medical research. If personal health records ever catch on, and patients consent to have data (whether de-identified or not - but probably de-identified) used for research, this would also be a mine of information as the original vision for PHR was to include genomic records, the intent being the development and perfection of personalized medicine.

This made me think of Dr. Danny Sands who teaches Medical Informatics at Harvard and is working for CISCO. He had a presentation at a conference (AHIC) where I was also delivering my first student paper presentation. Anyway, I read Danny's bio at CISCO which lead me to a blog he participates in called e-patients.net. It has interesting links to the Society for Participatory Medicine, and the Journal of same.

Impressed with that find, I came across by happenstance the meforyou.org website - a website that can cure you. For some reason this site reminded me about some research and journal articles I read, on how intercessory prayer doesn't work scientifically speaking.  It is a website inspired by Facebook new media but created by U of San Francisco:

UC San Francisco is the only university exclusively focused on human health. For 150 years, we've tackled the world's most vexing health issues, from diabetes and malaria to AIDS and cancer. We are driven by the idea that when the best minds come together, united by a common cause, great breakthroughs can be achieved. Because we believe it is perhaps the greatest single breakthrough that can be achieved, we have committed ourselves thoroughly to the realization of precision medicine. We began this movement knowing that we could not do it alone, and continue assured that we will do it together. Join us.

And then I found this surprising and local "searchless" health information website - hi - consumerhealthinfo.ca (a URL I wished I could have claimed). You can't not appreciate the layout, and user interface (think old people with no time to read extensively.) I think Dr. Mike Evans  ( Dr. Mike Evans curates the best health information found online. ) contributes to this site which lead me to his blog and website, which is simply brilliant, and this viral video!




And finally after this amazing journey just seemed to be beginning, Dr. Evans recommended the ultimate consumer health informatics website NHS.UK  I had recently read on a Yahoo website the UK's National Health Service was in the top ten biggest employers in the world! Well, a lot of them were busy preparing this website, and I relish reading their entire medical encyclopedia someday.