Usually I’m wary of putting time into big-budget health portals, but San Francisco based Healthline deserves a mention. They have a portfolio of healthcare search, navigation and content that is syndicated through a growing network of big web properties like AARP, Health.com, iVillage, AOL etc.
Healthline was founded in 1999 as YourDoctor.com and was re-launched as Healthline Networks in 2005. It’s got some deep-pocket investors behind it (Aetna, NBCU, Kaiser Permanente, Reed Elsevier, US News & World Report to name a few) so I’m not surprised that they have managed to create (what they call as) ‘Consumer Healthcare Taxonomy’ of >1 million terms and 250K medical concepts. That is what powers their proprietary ability to organize and present contextually-relevant health information to a viewer. Personally I don’t think of it as novel, given that there are plenty of precursors in the medical ontology area (SNOMED, UMLS…) that match this feat.
So Healthline can power health search in multiple ways (symptom, treatment, doctor, drug) and help consumers navigate to the right information. They have also branched out into health-specific ad network, PHR etc. Regardless, I’m interested in mentioning Healthline because of their excellent 3D Body Maps. They have a neat library of 3D animations that lets you partially control and understand body structure and function. Much like CareFlash. Development of these consumer-oriented educational health content repositories is a positive trend, although it’d be much nicer if all these individual attempts were cataloged in one place, giving a complete guide to educational 3D health and wellness content on the web. Like what Clicker does for Internet television.