Consumer health websites

If the internet is a city, these links are the health centre buildings. If you'd like to tell me about others mail me:

All new integrated top level page for all parts of the NHS and Department of Health, with prominence for NHS Direct telephone service. Links page ( most useful part of site. You don't have to go far to find a lack of corporate consistency in design, but does this matter?

Early entrant to internet service provision for doctors. No content available to outside world, and discussion forums that host little if any discourse of content. Useful for doctors who want an email address with "doctor" in it.

Entering his eighth decade didn't stop Former US Surgeon General "Chick" Koop from jumping on the internet bandwagon. Consumer level content is updated daily. Business model based on advertising revenue. Claims on-line drug checker, personalisation.

Crude portal site that subtracts value by loading cheezy and intrusive Java applets that run scrolling headline animations. That's bad enough, but they perist after you've been directed to external content.

Once the 800 pound gorilla of health web site evaluation. Host of the most prevalent code of conduct for internet, and some surveys of health use of the internet. Curiously limited topic-oriented content best ignored.

Refreshingly well designed medical portal with UK orientation. Wide range of links to medically oriented web materials. Invites users to submit sites of interest though editorial policy is not explicit.

Brochureware from prominent software supplier, attempting to compete across both primary and secondary care in the NHS. Aware of the networked future. Originally backed by pharmaceutical industry consortium aghast at such developments as PRODIGY, though new funds and management have arrived since then.

Giant US portal aimed at healthcare professionals. Links with EMR company MedicaLogic and consumer health CBS Healthwatch make this the one to watch. All the customisation and CME features you'd expect, and great site searches, though US focus may reduce its usefulness for UK users.

Interrogate Dr Hilary Jones direct! Well, send him an email. Text-based site with consumer information. Explicit editorial team with strong medical orientation, and some evidence of life in the chatrooms.

Ex-ePulse Dr Simon Berrisford's startup: content oriented for general practitioners, though registration (GMC no, postcode) required (even to follow external links).

Consumer oriented site with some huge tracts of health information. Strong on clear identification of content providers and sponsors. Some nice features: health risk appraisal tools and weight gain calculators, plus the inevitable customisation.

Apparently random and disappointingly thin source of health news, available for "less than the price of a faily newspaper." A value subtracted information source.

Attempt at a primary care informatics portal by a Sheffield team. The usual links to various NHS and academic resources in an overdesigned site with an illegible colour scheme, and tiny text. Readjust your browser preferences to override this if you're keen.

US consumer health site with usual information, plus customisation bells and whistles. Differentiates itself from its competitors by its link to telephone consultations with nurses, and an excellent "Yoga at your desk" class.

The usual consumerfest: on-line subject encyclopaedia plus customisation. Some nice on-line tools: a recipe finder (strangely under-developed) and a pregnancy calculator for example.


Douglas Carnall 2000