Healthline healthline.jpgis a “taxonomy-driven Medically Guided Search platform.” It seems to be a cross between a search engine and health portal. Results are returned with “Trust-Marks,” showcasing the legitimacy of a link either being “Doctor-Reviewed” or accredited by “HONCode, URAC, etc. Users are allowed to “save” or”e-mail” search results. Upon saving a search result, users can rate, add notes, and tag it.

The left column offers “Top Results,” and Health Maps that suggests other possible search inquiries. Other features include the ability to subscribe to articles written by health experts, firefox plugin, and health news alert based on your indicated area of interest.

Healthline is easy on the eyes, the layout is uncluttered, and it’s user-friendly. It reminds me of a “Yahoo” but for health. However, I do not see an option for users to develop “Groups” centered around a disease area on Healthline. I know that when I chit-chat with patients on the sites that they use, a popular response is always “Yahoo Groups.” Group formation may assist in building a relationship with a site through the formation of a user’s sense of herd mentality, turning one-time-users into members. It’s an important feature for any site, especially for a health site where support is the core of healthcare.

Healthline’s option of “saving” links reminds me of HealthVault‘s “Scraps” feature. As mentioned in a previous HealthVault analysis, I wonder if the search engine plans on incorporating a user’s “saved” searches into the engines’ algorithm. Delicious is one of the first sites I go to if I need to search for useful links. Why not allow users to see the number of “saves” that a particular link has and allow users to filter results based on the number of saved links? If a user saves a searched site, it must mean that the site is useful.

The “Health Experts” area contains a multitude of very knowledgeable and smart contributors. However, I am surprised to see that Healthline has not added Health Experts who focus upon some of the most popular health areas and largest disease states: Diabetes, Asthma, Cardiovascular Conditions, Women’s Health, and Drug Management with information on Medicare and Geriatrics.