Searching healthcare

One of the most frustrating parts of Google-ing for health information is actually finding anything that is relevant when 100,000 search results are returned. Enter OrganizedWisdom, one of several companies trying to make healthcare search easy, targeted and informed. OrganizedWisdom HealthOrganizedWisdom is the first human-powered, doctor-guided search service for health. So what does that mean? That knowledgeable physicians in collaboration with expert health guides like nurses, patient advocates and caregivers research and create each piece of health information found on the site called WisdomCards. I interviewed co-founder and company president Unity Stoakes for more in-depth information about the company as well as ways pharma could engage.

BE: Unity, you and Steve Krein (co-founder and CEO) are both successful entrepreneurs having built several technology, Internet and media companies. Why take on healthcare?

US: As we mapped out our plans and thought about the industry sector we wanted to devote our energy to next, we both were adamant that our next company accomplish one major objective: help a lot of people.

As we looked into the health care sector in greater depth a few years ago we were stunned by the gap in health services that leveraged the power of Internet technologies or social media. It was like having a crystal ball, because it was just so obvious how to help more people using these technologies that every other industry sector has been using for years. There's a huge opportunity for innovation, entrepreneurs, and consumerism to make dramatic improvements to our health care system and most of all the chance to help a lot of people.

And because neither Steve nor I had health backgrounds, it gave us the opportunity to look at the challenges of healthcare with a fresh perspective.

BE: You mean you're not jaded like the rest of us lifers? Just wait! In the meantime, what do you hope OrganizedWisdom can accomplish?

US: We believe it shouldn't be a time-consuming process to quickly find links to the very best resources when searching for health information. We are solving this problem by adding the wisdom of trained expert search guides and physician reviewers to the power of algorithmic-only search tools and social bookmarking sites. This human-powered model helps us deliver far superior health search results by eliminating search index spam from low-quality websites, links to duplicative libraries of licensed health content or potentially dangerous web sites.

BE: You call your search results WisdomCards. Can you describe what these are?

US: WisdomCardWisdomCards are hand-crafted search result pages for the most popular health search terms and phrases. They are built and reviewed by our expert health guides and physician reviewers. We have been growing rapidly over the past several months and have over 7,000 WisdomCards created which are serving over half a million targeted health searches each month. By the end of the year, we will have over 25,000 WisdomCards. We also developed a service called RequestWisdom, where our expert search guides will create a Wisdomcard for you within 24 hours on any requested health topic.

BE: I saw a statistic indicating that only a small number of people use health-specific engines today (less than 10%). How do users find you?

US: One of the big differences between OrganizedWisdom and other vertical health search engines is that our WisdomCards are indexed by the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN so people find us during their normal course of searching. As a result, we get all of our traffic from organic search results which is how most people use the Web. Much of our organic traffic comes from "long-tail" or very detailed health searches.

Additionally, we license our WisdomCards to hospitals and health foundations, and many health sites link to WisdomCards so we get a great amount of traffic from other Web sites.

BE: How is pharma interacting with your site? What opportunities are available for them?

US: Two years ago the pharma industry wasn't ready to leverage new health resources like OrganizedWisdom, but now we are getting great feedback. We've made it easy for companies to work with us by offering high value opportunities. There are two specific programs where we see a lot of growth: companies can sponsor WisdomCards and companies can co-brand and license our WisdomCard library to feature on their own site.

We've been working with many pharma marketing teams and recently, Humana and Cleveland Clinic joined as sponsors. Major hospital networks like Alegent are now featuring our WisdomCards on their patient portals.

We are selective about the companies we partner with and will only work with premium brands that share our mission of helping people get better health information. We are careful to keep editorial separate from our sponsorships and we clearly label all sponsors.

BE: If you were in Big Pharma today, what media would you be using to communicate with both consumers and physicians?

US: If I were CEO of any Big Pharma company, then I would immediately launch a blog to start reaching out and building a relationship with the public and media. I would also be working with Sermo to reach physicians. And I would most definitely make sure our marketing plans included connecting with consumers at their point of entry online - search.

BE: What other trends should we keep tabs on?

US: Three major trends to watch for include the rise of the online health advocate, new health services that will help people move beyond getting information to actually getting health care, and a major shift in healthcare marketing dollars moving online.

BE: Thanks, Unity. I have no doubt you, Steve and the OW team will make health search an important part of access to healthcare in the future.