What is Healthline?Healthline is a medical information search engine. Healthline is solely dedicated to finding medical information online, and it offers medically filtered results developed by trained medical personnel. It's really an excellent tool for finding all kinds of medical information. Recently, I was able to ask the folks at Healthline some questions about their medical search engine, and here they are.
How did Healthline get started? How long has it been around?
Healthline was founded by Dr. James Norman in 1999 as YourDoctor.com, and was originally envisioned as an advertising-supported medical content website for consumers. In 2001, the business model was changed to focus on the healthcare enterprise market, and we built a search platform that would return contextually-relevant results using our medical taxonomy and proprietary visual HealthMaps.
Several years into our enterprise effort, the company decided to leverage its intellectual property to concentrate on a health-focused search engine that would be made available to consumers, and the result is the Healthline website you see today.
What sites does Healthline retrieve its results from? How are Healthline's results filtered?
Healthline's search results are powered by a combination of open source and proprietary algorithms. Results are filtered in that we crawl and index about 62,000 websites that we have identified, by virtue of their organizational, governmental or educational affiliation, accreditation, and other means, as the excellent sources for relevant consumer health information.
We are continually refining and updating this Health Web list, to insure that we are optimizing the search experience for the health information seeker, and eliminating spam websites whose only intent is to game Google.
One of Healthline's biggest draws is that it claims to "search the Web with 1,100 doctors." What exactly does that mean?
Starting in 1999, the company retained the services of over 1,100 physicians, specialists and medical editors to write and edit the original consumer oriented YourDoctor.com content described earlier. This rich resource was used to develop a medical taxonomy to organize the content, a synonym database that would give us the ability to map everyday language to medical terminology, and our HealthMaps, visual representations of concepts associated with various diseases and conditions.
The Healthline search results page not only returns high quality, medically relevant results, but also provides navigational elements designed to help the user refine (or extend) his or her search query the HealthMaps, and the Broaden/Narrow and Related Topic search links. These navigational tools and the underlying information architecture designed by doctors, and maintained by medical informatics specialists, not by statistical query analysis enable us to offer a medically guided search experience, or a search experience that 1,100 doctors helped initiate.
This Healthline profile is continued on page two.