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American Well offers physicians the flexibility of providing online consultation and get paid for it. Why explain when I can just have you “see” how it works:


Who hasn’t watched the latest Grey’s Anatomy as medical residents fight tooth and nail to have a glimpse of cardiovascular surgeon Erica Hahn performing a double valve replacement on the father of medicine, Wiiliam Tapley? So little space in the operating room, so little opportunity for future surgeons to improve their cutting operating skills.

SurgyTec is an initiative develped by plastic surgeon Stevens MD, PhD to solve that. The site’s goal is to improve and share surgery techniques in order to improve one another’s skills. Physicians can now watch videos from ACL reconstruction to performing a midface lift.

So if you need a last minute refresher course on the use of robotic total mesorectal excision for the treatment of rectal cancer, SurgyTec is the place to visit!

Lets take a break from all the Health 2.0 web goodies and play a health game! Nutrition Sleuth is a game that provides kids and adults with an introduction to the essential vitamins and minerals important in keeping the body working as it should be.

Participants role-play as the famous nutritionist inspector Smarfengood whose goal is to figure out what essential nutrient is missing from each of his victims. Think of the game as “hang-man” with the category as vitamins and nutrients.

According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) Cosmetic Surgery Statistics:

  • Nearly 11.7 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2007
  • Top five non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2007: Botox Injection (2,775,176 procedures); hyaluronic acid (1,448,716 procedures); laser hair removal (1,412,657 procedures); microdermabrasion (829,658 procedures); and IPL laser treatment (647,707 procedures)
  • Top five surgical procedures for women: breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, abdominoplasty and breast reduction
  • Top five surgical procedures for men: liposuction, eyelid, surgery, rhinoplasty, breast reduction to treat enlarged male breasts, and hair transplantation

With Americans spending just under 13.2 billion on cosmetic procedures last year (ASPS), it was inevitable that a health-community site would sprout up centered around beauty through cosmetic enhancement.

RealSelf was developed by Tom Seery (who used to work at Expedia) in 2006 after his wife complained that it was easier to find reviews on hotels than laser surgery. Backed by investors with impressive backgrounds: Rich Barton (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zillow), Nick Hanauer, and Bill Gossman, the site is making a splash in the cosmetic industry.

RealSelf contains reviews by patients who has undergone cosmetic surgery. What makes the site so addictive are the stories told by patients complete with extremely vivid pictures. Besides patients’ contribution, the site has board-certified cosmetic surgeons answering questions, which further adds to the site’s credibility. This is a great site for those considering an enhancement to their beauty and need information from people who have gone through the surgery.

Is your doctor not listening to you? Do the words coming out of his mouth make you feel like he’s from another planet? Have no fear, MedHelp is here.

MedHelp is an online community dedicated to answering health questions from patients. Questions are answered by board certified physicians. The founders, simply known as Phil and Cindy, developed the site in 1994 after surviving through traumatic medical events involving their mother and daughter.

The site has had a major face-lift since last being introduced to me by Enoch Choi, MD. Besides the improved anesthetics, MedHelp has broadened its expansion into developing a stronger community complete with journal entries, groups to join, treatment reviews and even the ability to add friends.

What makes this site appealing is that answers are delivered by board certified physicians as opposed to a non-medically trained stranger. However, the site is not totally free. Some physicians charge to answer your questions.

MedHelp definitely has an edge over its other competitors such as DailyStrength thanks to its support by physicians and partnerships with major clinics.

We’re exposed to environmental hazards every waking hour of the day. Most of our waking hours are spent at work whether 300 feet off the ground as a construction worker or avoiding blood splatter as a practicing medical resident. So what happens when you get injured on the job?

The Injuries is a website aimed at helping those injured on work to connect, share experience, and most importantly take action. The injury list ranges from Mesothelioma to Silicosis, each with an explanation of the injury. While the idea is interesting, the discussion board is filled not with discussions related to injuries but rather spam.

Nonetheless, the idea of creating a way for those injured to connect is an intriguing idea but needs better execution. One could not help but wonder if the site was developed by someone who was injured or by an lawyer who has taken ambulance chasing to the web.

americandiabeesassociation.gifAmerican Diabetes Association (ADA)
This is as “must” source for newly diagnosed diabetics or those wishing to learn more about their condition. The site has sections for those who were recently diagnosed, those with Type 1, or Type 2 Diabetes along with an “Ask the Pharmacist” area. The ADA also supplies a newsletter that diabetics may subscribe to in order to receive news and events occurring in the world of diabetes.

For a much more interactive presentation on Diabetes provided by the ADA, users may watch Link for Life. Also available is a Diabetes Risk Test.

Not all glucometers work the same way and the importance of measuring ones blood glucose cannot be stressed enough. For those who need more help in learning to use your meter, please check this link. According to the FDA, it lists the Diabetes Education programs recognized by the American Diabetes Association. These Recognized programs meet the National Standards for excellence in diabetes education.

researchandwellness.gifDiabetes Research and Wellness
This is a non-profit organization that offers free diabetic resources including free a pocket diary, diabetes identification card and diabetes necklace. The necklace will alert healthcare providers about your condition before they treat you.


Drug Companies Diabetes Resource Sites
Drug companies offer online diabetic tools for diabetics and especially for those patients who are using their meters.

Novo-Nordisk: Diabetic management features such as a diabetes care plan, menu planning tools, and stories written by patients on ways to live with diabetes

BD Diabetes: Provides flash-based patient education animations on how to draw, mix, and inject insulin. It even has a section for diabetes and pets.

Health 2.0 Sites
Tracking sugar site that charges users for access. Allows users to track and monitor sugar levels.

Site that allows you to monitor your suguar levels along with your foods. It provides users with graphs and trends.

Community for those affected by Diabetes. The site contains social networking features such as blogging, adding friends, and groups.

Diabetes resource that contains Q&A with experts, recipes, the “Wall”, and blood sugar management, among others.

Other related:
Johnson and Johnson’s Tour de Cure

myopencarelogo.pngMyOpenCare, a health site that we previously mentioned has announced a compelling competition.

The site has announced the “Create an H-Book and Win Company Shares” contest. In an effort to encourage greater member involvement in the site, the company will offer the winner of the best H-Book 0.5% shares in the company and those finishing second through sixth place will each receive 0.1% of MyOpenCare shares. The H-Book, otherwise known as the Health Book, is is a feature that every User has access too. It allows users to display information about particular disease states and conditions. However, unlike Wikipedia, MyOpenCare gives credit to the author.

The contest is a smart marketing move by MyOpenCare – increase user participation while promoting quality information.


As mentioned earlier in an article on Disaboom, a site should be accessible to a wide range of users. A lot of sites incorporate flash which is not user-friendly for blind individuals who utilizes screen readers. In the realm of healthcare, sites that are developed for patients should take note to build a site that is user-friendly and accessible to different types of the patient population. With that said, an interesting article on Businessweek discusses and asks the question of: “Is your web site handicap-accessible?”

Highlights of the article:

  • Class action law suit against Target filed in 2006 Alameda County by National Federation of the Blind : Law suit alleges that Target’s refusal to make its website accessible to the Blind violates the Americans Disabilities Act
  • Having a site revamped for disability access may cost $5,000 to $15,000 but return on investment from increased search engine optimization
  • Find a web designer who is familiar with Section 508 Compliance

It is projected that internet usage baby-boomers and those over 60 will continue to rise. Just in the US alone, baby-boomers who use the internet will increase from 58.2 million in 2006 to 63.7 million in 2011. Over-60’s will grow from 17.7 million internet users in 2006 to 25.3 million by 2011. [Source: emarketer]

Here is a look at some social-networking sites dedicated to this growing segment:

eons.pngEons – “Lovin’ life on the flip side of 50”
Founder: Jeff Taylor, founder and former chairman of
Founding Date: August 2006
Target: users 50 and older
Investors: Sequoia and General Catalyst – $32 million over two rounds of funding
Website features:

  • Typical Social-networking features: groups, blogging, adding friends, personalization of profile with widgets
  • Brain Games
  • Obituary
  • Eon’s Entertainment: members rate movies, books, music etc
  • Articles on Travel, Fun & Entertainment

Notes: Eons have also launched a search engine which they termed “the age-relevant search engine for 50+.” The engine’s name is “cRanky.” It uses for its indexing and allows members to rate the sites.

Comments: The “obituary” option is a good idea with a bad name. This segment should use a more positive nomenclature like “passing on” or “a life remembered”.

Founder: Nathaniel Adam Briggs, CEO/Founder BSCS
Founding Date: 2006
users 50+
Investors: Self-funded
Website Features:

  • Love Seeker Ads
  • Forums
  • Online Pharmacy (check notes section)
  • Rating area on travel

Notes: pitch here. eGenerations was formerly called SeniorsGrandCentral.

Comments: eGeneration does not allow new users to browse what it has to offer without registering. This will turn a lot of potential users away. Why buy wine if you’re not allowed a “taste-test” first? The site is also somewhat laggy.

The “Love Seekers Ad” is a good idea. This generation often suffer from loneliness after a loss of a spouse. I predict that there will be a huge boom in the over 50 dating segment in the near future.

SGC Pharmacy: Lack of NABP VIPPs, a seal that is an assurance that an online pharmacy is meeting all applicable state and federal requirements to dispense prescription medication. This seal lets consumers know that the online pharmacy is in good standing in a state and that it is licensed. This is provided by the FDA and the National Boards of Pharmacy to ensure that consumers are not being given fake or non-FDA approved medications from non-legit online pharmacies.

teebeedee.pngTeeBeeDee – “Sharing experiences to thrive”
Founder: Robin Wolaner, founder of Parenting Magazine, former executive CNET Networks
Founding Date: Launched September 2007
Target: users age 40 and over
Investors: Shasta Ventures – $4.8 million Series A Funding
Website features:

  • Social-networking features: friends, groups,
  • Q&A area
  • Discussion area

Notes: “TeeDeeBee” is a derivative acronym for “to be determined” suggesting that the next phase of life is filled with opportunities.

boomj.pngBoomJ – “Social & Lifestyle Network for Baby Boomers”
Founder: N/A
Founding Date
: N/A
Baby Boomers
Website Features:

  • Sweepstakes
  • Articles
  • Social-networking features: Add buddy, send message, profile
  • Video Channels
  • Blogs

boomertowne.pngBoomerTowne – “A Destination for a Generation”
Founder/Team: Erin Madson, Lori Sansourcie
Founding Date:
Baby Boomers
Website Features:

  • Rotation videos of “Towne Council Members” consisting of celebrities
  • Online dating
  • Monthly polls
  • Contests – earn points for rewards
  • Discussion Boards
  • Chat rooms
  • Social-networking

Founder: N/A
Founding Date:
Target: Baby Boomers
Website Features:

  • Forum
  • Social Networking
  • Dating
  • Saving money opportunities
  • Q & A

Notes: new paid member site with no ads

General Comments
There’s a whole bunch of social-networking sites for older adults to choose from. How might a site distinguish itself from the others? Simple, any social-networking site for older adults should be empowering. These sites need to redefine the meaning of aging: beauty, wisdom, excitement and not adhere to what media has painted aging as – illness, death, fragility.

On another note, to develop a site for this target population would require having the actual users on the team or advisory board. Otherwise, it’ll be like creating a network for physicians without physician input. I think that a lot of these products need to revamp their marketing strategy and take a good look at some of the terms that they are using to describe this target population.


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[Last modified: 12/08/07]