TECH: Search engines revving up–Healia review

Got a press briefing from Healia, which is a new search engine focusing on health care. Their goals is to improve the quality and personalization level of the search, and cut out the spam results.

The approach is well thought out. Their engine also allows filtering by age/race/reading level/gender via a column on the left. They automatically behind the scenes assess quality by looking at the documents to
assess the page (rank by both relevancy and quality), and they assign it something called Healia’s Quality
Index Score. Finally they detect the general semantics of the
search term–drug searches will include dosages and side effects.

None of this makes much sense without using it, so you should go test drive it. You’ll see that results for standard medical terms bring back results from a more "authoritative" bunch of sites than a standard Google search, and if you search on specific disease terms (like diabetes) you get a series of tabs that divide the response up into categories like prevention, treatment, etc. You can also turn on or off the filters on the left that give you another range of result choices  or vary the font size right from the top.

So far the VA has licensed the technology, and they’re going both the licensing and portal rout. At the moment it’s small with only a few employees, but they’ve clearly done a lot of formal usability testing and lots of research and thinking about what would be  useful health search engine.
Healia’s founder is Tom Eng, Chairman. Craig Husa is the CEO. Marcos Athanasoulis who runs their tech of happens to be an old friend of mine and I used to work with his wife Monika, but I didn’t realize he was on board until this call!I’ll hopefully soon be getting a look at another major new search engine for health care, Healthline, (for which Enoch Choi appears to be blogging) shortly. But clearly in the post Google IPO world, there is now interest in figuring out the future of  consumer web search for health care once again.

CODA: Meanwhile. Tommy Thompson is pitching new health care software. It’s a self diagnosis tool. May well be very clever n’all, but I dont think it’s going to find a self-pay market at $30 a year. I might though be wrong!

AND: Another sorta health-specific search engine that’s supposed to help you find insurers and doctors that was called Healthia (not that that was confusing it with Healthline or Healia in anyway!) has changed it’s name to Vimo.

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