HealthTap celebrates five billion doctor-answers served by launching a new Smart Health Search

New proprietary algorithms enable anyone to find health information tailored to them from the world’s largest library of doctor knowledge

PALO ALTO, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — HealthTap, the world’s first Global Health Practice providing 24/7 immediate access to doctors via video, text, or voice, today announced Smart Health Search, an entirely new way for people to find health information that’s personalized and relevant to them.

Before today, searching for health information online was an impersonal experience. Who you were and your health background didn’t matter — you received the same general search results to your questions as the next person. As a result, doctors would often begin their answers to health questions with the words “it depends,” since they didn’t know your personal history or the context of your question. But this shouldn’t be. A 65-year-old overweight, diabetic Caucasian man with a heart condition should receive a very different answer to the question “What are the implications of diabetes” than a 26-year-old healthy Asian female athlete.

Over the past five years, HealthTap built the world’s largest online library of doctor-created or curated health content, and has served more than five billion answers and health tips in response to queries for health information. Combining HealthTap’s new enhanced search technology with the world’s most comprehensive health ontology — created with a network of more than 100,000 U.S. doctors — users can now leverage HOPES™, HealthTap’s proprietary Health Operating System, to combine data from a personal health record with a search query to receive more tailored, relevant, and helpful doctor insights from HealthTap’s library of health information.

HealthTap’s new Smart Health Search algorithms take into account a variety of information about the user such as age, gender, comorbidities, pregnancy status, and other relevant indicators stored on the questioner’s HealthTap personal health record (PHR) to match queries with answers, tips, and checklists provided by doctors to people similar to the user. This is done with the explicit permission of the user, and the answers are only available to the user himself or herself, and to doctors and caregivers the user explicitly authorized.

Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, HealthTap’s Chief Medical Information Officer and double board certified doctor, who has been seeing patients physically and virtually for more than 36 years, explains: “On HealthTap, a 24-year-old woman will see different search results from the ones a 70-year-old man receives to a question like ‘should I take iron supplements,’ or when searching symptoms like ‘swollen ankles and weight gain.’ That’s because women may benefit from iron supplements when menstruating, and swollen ankles and weight gain may be symptoms of pregnancy. Just as a doctor may provide different answers to a mother’s questions when asked for herself or for her infant, on HealthTap that same mother will get different search result when asking questions from her account or from her child’s account. Also, just as a doctor asks patients personal questions in response to descriptions of general symptoms, HealthTap’s new Smart Health Search, delivering content in context, uses personal health data to help people discover health information customized to them.”

Now, HealthTap’s Enterprise customers (healthcare systems, hospitals, insurance companies, and large self-insured employers) will benefit from even more advanced personalization for their user populations through HealthTap’s Health Operating System (HOPES™). These customers now receive individually tailored content from HealthTap’s vast library that also incorporates pharmacy, lab, EMR, and engagement data to enhance search applicability and results.

“The advent of the Internet gave people an entirely new way to find a huge quantity of health information that was organized by publishers for mass distribution and mass consumption,” observes Ron Gutman, HealthTap Founder and CEO. “Over the past five years, HealthTap has served more than five billion trustworthy, instant health answers and tips from top U.S. licensed doctors to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Today, HealthTap makes another giant leap forward, providing people worldwide with quality health information that’s automatically personalized for them by applying an extra layer of automated personalization. In a world of ballooning healthcare costs and of slow to no access to high-quality doctors, highly affordable access to bespoke health information can help billions everywhere live healthier, happier, and longer lives.”

Discover the power of personalized health information on HealthTap today.

About HealthTap

HealthTap, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, is the world’s first Global Health Practice. HealthTap delivers immediate, world-class healthcare 24/7 from Query-to-Cure™. Through video, voice, and text chat on any mobile device or personal computer, HealthTap connects hundreds of millions of people everywhere with the most trusted health advice from a network of more than 103,000 top U.S. doctors. HealthTap’s proprietary, robust, and secure Health Operating System (HOPES™) and proprietary triaging technology enable healthcare systems, payers, employers, and technology companies worldwide to provide the right care at the right time at the right price. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free apps for iPhone, iPad, or Android at healthtap.com.