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More health 2.0: Healia on Facebook

Ah, to be unburied from a mound of stuff from my recent travels and a virtual mound of e-mails!

While I was still in Australia last month, the folks at health search engine Healia put up an application on Facebook to test people’s knowledge of health-related issues. (You have to be a member of Facebook to use it, but c’mon, everyone’s doing it! Even me.)

I actually wrote a blurb about this application as part of a project on telehealth (OK, so it was broadly defined) for a client in the UK. Here it is:

Summary
Studies have shown that informed patients are better patients and that healthcare in the future increasingly will depend on individuals learning about and taking more control over their own health conditions. Meanwhile, social networking sites have become popular homes on the Internet for interpersonal communication and exchange of ideas. With these trends in mind, Healia, a US developer of a health-specific Internet search engine, has created a game on social networking site Facebook to test consumer knowledge of health issues.

Those who accept the Healia Health Challenge pick multiple-choice and true-false responses to a series of health questions. Players start as pre-medical students and work their way up toward being chief of medicine, scoring points based on how quickly they can come up with correct answers. (The point value of each question declines from 10 as a 30-second timer counts down.)

After answering each question, players see the correct answer and an explanation, as well as a link for further information on the subject. For example: “Some people falsely believe that coffee, cold showers and other remedies can hasten the process of sobering up. To learn more, search: alcohol sobering up.”

As with other Facebook applications, users can share the game with friends and challenge members of their personal Facebook networks.

Technology
This application runs through Facebook, a popular social networking site, and questions are based on Healia research.

References
“Check out Healia’s new Facebook health application.” 30 August 2007. The Healia Health Blog, http://blog.healia.com/?q=node/check_out_healia_s_new_facebook_health_application. Accessed 3 September 2007.

Detmer, DE, et al. “The Informed Patient: Study Report.” University of Cambridge, Judge Institute of Management. March 2003. Viewed at http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/research/health/tip/pdf/crstudy.pdf/. Accessed 3 September 2007.

September 25, 2007 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Time for WebMD and Google to panic?

This is one of the most interesting M&A bits to hit my inbox in a long time: Health-specific search engine Healia has just announced a takeover by Des Moines, Iowa-based publishing company Meredith Corp.

That’s right, the publisher of such titles as Fitness, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens and Successful Farming has bought itself a healthcare search engine. I bet Wall Street didn’t see that one coming, and I wonder if they’re sweating over at WebMD, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

By the way, Dr. Tom Eng, Healia’s president and founder, says that Healia is hiring a CTO and Web designers at company headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., and VPs for online marketing and advertising sales to work in New York, where Meredith has a large presence. Eng is keeping his job.

June 18, 2007 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.