I’m thrilled to have OpenMD.com as a 33 charts sponsor.
OpenMD.com is a health-focused search platform that selects for quality information from government agencies, global health organizations, medical journals, and reference sites. While the road to an independent health search engine has been fraught with failure, success may be a matter of timing. OpenMD.com, which just launched, may be hitting the market at just the right point.
Why OpenMD makes sense right now
Timing. OpenMD is hitting the market at a time when there is creeping distrust of big digital. Erosion of trust by the major digital players will mark the next decade. I’m bullish on the future of niche platforms like this to make a mark in health.
We need better search for health. The epidemic of medical misinformation has created a very different search environment from what patients used a decade ago. Health is important in that it needs careful attention to what’s discovered. Major search engines like Google have no mandate to vet results for medical accuracy. And to the degree that they do try, there’s no framework for evaluating the quality of health information other than source gating. This is where OpenMD has a competitive advantage relative to general purpose search engines.
Patients need a trusted tool. Patients are vulnerable at the point of search. And founder Rick Gottlieb is committed to a better experience for users.
My first impressions of OpenMD
So I thought it would make sense to explore something I understand. So I did a search on eosinophilic esophagitis. As I saw the results flash in front of me, what was most apparent was the clean interface and presentation. The editorial design is painstakingly thought through. And all of the top shelf results representing a breadth of hardline peer reviewed stuff and consumer-designed material. Comparing my search to Google, both brought some of the biggest sources but OpenMD seemed to eliminate the visual noise that I find on Google. Given that I’m a pediatric gastroenterologist who uses Google, my search results will vary from yours.
Users have the option to choose search results restricted to journals or ‘all results.’ And it’s worth noting that OpenMD’s search prioritizes freely-accessible content whenever available (Can I get an amen?)
OpenMD going forward
Speaking of options it might be interesting for OpenMD to provide a toggle that allows users to filter for results tailored specifically to health professionals or consumers. One of the core challenges of any medical information platform is the fact that the needs of the health professional vary from that of the consumer. I will add, however, that many consumers want to read what professionals read – so this should be an option, of course.
I’ll add that options for images are sparse at this point but I understand that will change as the platform grows.
Check it out. More importantly, take the thing that you know well and run a search. See how you like it. And even compare it to Google. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The time is right for health search. And OpenMD.com may be at the right place at the right time.
To dig a little deeper into health search, check out the 33 charts Search Archives.