Services like HealthTap have proliferated over the last year as a way to let anyone with questions about their health connect with real, licensed physicians online and avoid the pain of waiting in line at the doctor’s office. While HealthTap and others are building up their health information databases to let people quickly find answers to a variety of health questions, the demand for personalized health information continues to grow.
While we use services like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter every day, these social networks are far from being the best places to ask health questions and connect with others experiencing similar symptoms, conditions, taking the same medications or receiving similar treatments — for privacy reasons, among others. That’s why Lyle Dennis, a practicing physician and neurologist, createdHealthKeep — a social network designed to connect people with similar symptoms and conditions and help them better track, manage and understand their health.
HealthKeep provides a forum in which everyday people can post about their health and medical issues and search for potential treatments. Unlike most social networks, i.e. Facebook, the service allows users to register anonymously and does not collect names, which means that its HIPAA-compliant. Once members register on the platform, they can create “Health Timelines,” where they can share any new symptom, medication, diagnosis, doctor visit, procedure or test result. A la Facebook, the timeline is updated in realtime, stream-style, allowing users to view updates and graph their health at any point.
Once a user adds an element to their timeline, they are automatically linked to every other member in HealthKeep’s community that has shared that element. An announcement is made each time a new member is added to that group, whereupon the community can then discuss their symptoms and treatments and share information, all of which takes place within feeds dedicated to those specific items.