VisualDx is healthcare’s answer to the visual search trend led by companies like search-cube.com, like.com etc. VisualDx helps identify dental and medical diseases by letting providers search for diagnosis based on how a disease looks and presents itself.

Rochester, NY based Logical Images is the company behind VisualDx. Understandably enough, it was founded by two dermatologists from University of Rochester in 1999. At its core lies a pretty big repository of clinical images (they claim > 60K) that are tagged with clinical metadata like symptoms, location, history etc. A user can browse through diagnosis domains or input findings to reach a relevant set of images.

There is a 15-day trial for non-enterprise users, and individual subscription pricing ranges from $49.99 (Pediatric) to $99.99 (Adult) for a year. Student discounts brings it down to a very reasonable level ($29.99 and $49.99 respectively) in my view. The company has leveraged their content to create an online consumer health resource called Skinsight. Besides the clever name, I really liked their slick ‘Skin Condition Finder‘ tool. Overall, it’s a smart approach for gaining market recognition and expanding services.

The concept of Diagnostic Decision Support (DDS) often comes with the implicit notion of text-based query, so I really like the ‘visual’ DDS approach. Dermatology, Pathology are obvious choices to implement such an approach and situations like ER, bioterrorism, infectious diseases are prime contexts since there is not enough time to engage a pure text-based knowledge base. Also, some conditions are rare enough that most practicing physicians and non-specialists haven’t actually seen one in real life. Other factors like dark skin, atypical presentation can be confounding. It’s handy to have a this as a medical education tool and as a care delivery aid in facilities where specialists are not available all the time.

I’m bit surprised why it’s not a widely subscribed resource in hospitals, public health entities, medical education and general EMR vendor products. Anyway, it’d be interesting to see this visual content embedded in other consumer tools (like iTriage, FreeMD) and enterprise offerings (Isabel Healthcare, SimulConsult, Curbside.MD etc.). Wonder which firms are competitors for VisualDx today…