Hello folks. This is a sponsored review* of a nifty new site called MedNexus. This is a medical search engine designed for patients. I am all for this since I firmly believe we should all be our own health advocates, I actively encourage people to be well-informed about their own health conditions but not all websites are full of reliable information! This site has the potential to make sure patients are reading accurate, condition-specific info.
First impressions are good, the site is clear and well laid out with a neutral and non-migraine-inducing colour scheme. I also like the font size and obvious search bar.
Each search returns three kinds of information…
‘Health Topics’ usually displays a short description of the condition with an option to read further and a counter showing how many results the search has turned up.
‘Published Research’ does exactly what it says and brings up published research from academic / scientific sources. Again, with the option to read more and the number of results.
‘Forum Results’ shows forum postings from across the web related to the search term. Again, option to read further and the number of results.
Naturally, for my first few searches I looked at conditions I am familiar with (since I have them). This seemed sensible since I’m fairly well versed with the facts of the topic and with the available web resources.
‘Ehlers Danlos Syndrome’ produced a short but accurate description, a variety of research articles and a wide variety of search results. When you expand on the first result (under Health Topics) the info elaborates to include symptoms and a link to the website the description came from.
It all looks pretty good but I did spot one odd thing about the results. Within the forum section none of the results came from actual Ehlers Danlos forums. The search results came from unrelated websites where someone on the forum has asked about EDS. I’m not entirely sure why the actual EDS forums haven’t made the cut since one or two of them have content written by the worlds leading experts and at least some of their forum topics are open to the public.
Other than that the results look pretty good! A decent range of facts and it all seems accurate to me.
My next searches were for my other conditions, Postural Tachycardia, Migraines and Visual Stress.
Postural Tachycardia – This one didn’t go quite so well, the ‘Health topics’ returned a lot of info on other conditions starting with ME but no actual info on PoTS. Published research was great and returned lots of different research from dermatological manifestations to studies on blood volume. Finally, ‘Forums’ returned a fair few results but like the EDS search they were stand alone relevent posts on largely irrelevant forums.
Migraines – This one returned a lot of info in ‘Health Topics’ but strangely the first result was one of the least relevent ones. Once you click to see the other search results you get lots of info! Research returned just 11 articles but they were all fairly recent and highly relevent so that’s pretty good. Forums returned a fair number of posts but they were all from the same few forums and again no condition specific boards.
Visual Stress – I searched for all variations of this diagnosis including Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome / Irlen / Light Sensitivity but received basically nothing.. this was a little mean since this is arguably a opthalmological diagnosis not a medical one but I was still a little disappointed.
Once I’d exhausted my own medical history I picked conditions at random, a decent mix of acute, chronic, physical and psychological conditions just to fully test the site out.
Overall I’m very impressed, it’s a great idea. I do feel like there is still a little work to be done, some of the conditions brought up pretty irrelevant results and there are plenty of patient forums that don’t appear to have been indexed at all.
I think I was a pretty harsh tester, I have a variety of rare medical conditions so I’m used to running searches and getting very few results. I’m also a degree student so I naturally read critically. With the majority of my searches I did get exactly what I was looking for! The addition of actual peer-review research is also very welcome and I think it could help a lot of people become expert-patients.
Looking at MedNexus with my professional OT uniform on I think there might be another demographic who would love this site. Healthcare Students.
If you’re doing research on a condition you know nothing about what are the 3 things you want to find out?
- What is the condition? What causes it?
- What peer-reviewed evidence is there? (we all love evidence based practice)
- How does it affect the patient? .. Maybe some patient forums would help with that.
Perfect right? This could also be super useful for professionals in rotational jobs, you’ve just joined a new team with a patient group you know very little about.. you’ve got next-to-no time for research. MedNexus combines all the things you need to know.
Ciao for now