Health Portals_ Search Engines and Intranets – Making order of the

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					           Radical Technology

  Health Portals
Search Engines and
Making order of the
  Dr Pankaj Maini

Dr Pankaj Maini
The Dawn of Information
Since ancient times the spread of information
 has been intricately linked to the progress of
 Cave paintings
 Carvings on stone
 Writings on papyrus
 Books
 Digital media
      Dr Pankaj Maini
    A New Information Era.
 Computing
 Telecommunications
 Television
 Internet access and digital interactive
  services to the masses from both portable
  devices and televisions.
 Mergers and Acquisitions frenzy in Europe.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
   When written material was scarce, there was
    little need for special organisation.

   When manuscripts were plentiful and books
    had started to become commonplace, the need
    for libraries emerged – essentially an effective
    way of cataloguing the media in question.

         Dr Pankaj Maini
   Digital media arrived and libraries struggled to
    cope, no longer able to satisfy requests from
    the end user.

   The Internet was not designed to support
    the organised retrieval and publication of

   Clearly a new paradigm was required.
         Dr Pankaj Maini
                The Chaos
    Many things in life tend to a state of disorder if
    external order is not imposed.

   When cellular constraints are removed we may get
    uncontrollable mitosis in living tissue.

   In a similar fashion, the web is also showing
    uncontrollable rapid growth, rather like an
    aggressive tumour, unregulated and unstoppable.

   The World Wide Web grows by roughly a million
    pages per day with a significant number devoted
    to some element of healthcare.
 Its growth dynamics and its topology follow
  what is known in physics as a power law.
 This means that the web doesn‟t follow the
  usual mathematical models of random
 Instead exhibits the type of physical order
  found in galaxies and plant growth.

      Dr Pankaj Maini
   A study in Nature confirms the idea that the
    www follows natural laws and can be
    studied as:

     An Ecology of Knowledge

   Like a tree, the total size of the web will be
    eventually subject to resource limits.
        Dr Pankaj Maini
   The first time he went looking for health
    information online, Tom Ferguson said :

    “I was Excited but almost in shock at what
     appeared to be the chaos I found”

 He believes that until new users become
  comfortable sorting and evaluating the Net‟s
  unfiltered information, they are likely to feel
 But once they get used to it, he says, they‟ll
  like it: “Its empowering.”
.COM Crazy
 .com fever is spreading
 It appears that everything might have a
  .com one day - the

     Dr Pankaj Maini
        The Impact

Dr Pankaj Maini
   The benefits that a network delivers, rapidly
    grows with increasing numbers of people

   Connecting a quarter or more of the global
    population over the next 5 – 10 years
    results in an immensely powerful network.
         Dr Pankaj Maini
 Radical changes in the fabric and economics
  of healthcare.
 As a consequence our expectations from
  professionals involved in this industry are
  greatly increased.

       Dr Pankaj Maini
   Many physicians must feel a heart sinking
    feeling when confronted by a patient with a
    stack of internet documents in their hand!

   Physician behaviour is beginning to mirror
    trends in internet use by patients and
        Dr Pankaj Maini
 The Internet‟s effect on health appears
 It is more apparent in the next generation of
 Among students graduating from US medical
  schools this year, 85% say they use the web
  to find information on Consumer health,
  medical research, patient education and
  healthcare policy.
    Dr Pankaj Maini
   Significant challenges need to be overcome
    - Regulatory concerns about easy access
      to prescription drugs.
    - Lack of political boundaries in cyberspace.
    - Most sought on the net : cures for
      baldness, obesity and impotence.

       Dr Pankaj Maini
   “Anything available on-line is theoretically
    available to a larger group than it‟,s meant to
 says Richard Sobel, a Harvard Political Scientist
  examining medical policy issues.
 “Until people have thought through the
  implications, they are going to have trouble”
 Huge benefits to be gained for consumers and
  health professionals.
 It remains to be seen whether the world
  becomes a more healthy place.
 Patient Care
 Prevention of Disease
 Providing Education
 Pharmaceutical Development
 Productivity Improvements
 Profit

    Dr Pankaj Maini
   Commercial Interests

Dr Pankaj Maini
Until now popular vertical markets for
the IT industry have been:

  Finance
 Manufacturing
 Retail
 Healthcare has rapidly become a very
  lucrative area in which to be involved
  both for physicians and developers alike.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
   Health sites ethics have recently come
    under microscopic scrutiny.

   Some key concerns are the generation
    of revenue on the back of the sale of
    drugs and medical services.

        Creating Order
 Portals
 Intranets
 Search Engines
 Buzz-words even amongst healthcare
 Promising to make relevant information
  quick and easy to find so that workers
  and patients can turn that information
  into knowledge.
Search Engines

   Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
   Search Engines Hide 84 % of the Web
   Yahoo - directory structure
   Searching by keywords
   Clever Project – IBM
   Citeline
   Neural networks and advanced context and
    pattern matching.
        Dr Pankaj Maini
 Key word search tools may rank pages by
  the frequency of occurrence of the query
 Or they may favour text items that appears
 There are some obvious failings of this
  approach, as the „Clever Project‟s‟ team
     Dr Pankaj Maini
 A book by Tom Woolf rather bizarrely named
  and somewhat surreal –
 „The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake
  Streamline Baby‟
 Many search engines using keyword
  searches, actually produce this as a result to
  the query „Hernia‟ – this is because it begins
  by repeating the word dozens of times.

        Dr Pankaj Maini
 It is clear that a majority of the web‟s
  pages are not indexed by any search
 Non US sites are less likely to be indexed
  than US sites.
 Educational sites are less likely to make an
  engine‟s database than commercial sites.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
 Trend across all search engines, where sites
  with few links to them have a low
  probability of being indexed, and vice
 This could have a significant effect on the
  timely exchange of scientific and
  educational material.
 There is a need for the creation of
  comprehensive, frequently updated indexes
  for health and scientific sites.
Build it and they will come –
The Rise and Rise of the Web

   Dr Pankaj Maini
 A Portal is essentially a website – on the
  internet, although there is an increasing
  trend for their use within intranets.
 To provide a convenient location and
  starting point from where to find further
 Some describe them as an end-point.
 A one stop shop for finding information.

      Dr Pankaj Maini
 To attract large numbers to the site, and
  once they are there, to allow them to delve
  around to various levels.
 Enabling exposure to various adverts,
  services and e-commerce opportunities.
 This is all well and good, but what‟s it all
  got to do with healthcare ? – some will ask.

     Dr Pankaj Maini
 Healthcare websites are becoming
 Healthcare and technology companies,
  businessmen and commercialists are
  turning their attentions to gaining
  revenue from healthcare.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
Numerous health portals in existence in the
 They are achieving spectacular valuations,
 even though many have yet to produce
 substantial income.

     Dr Pankaj Maini
    (Jeff Bezos - Amazon/Melinda Gates - Bill‟s wife!)

    Healtheon has a healthy stake                         .COM
    Worlds most visited health site

    Talk to a doctor now!

    John Hopkins health site

           Dr Pankaj Maini  
What do these sites contain
that makes them attractive to

 Dr Pankaj Maini
 Disease databases
 Health news
 Food and lifestyle issues
 Online communities
 Support groups
 Message boards
 Chat pages

    Dr Pankaj Maini
 Accurate and Up to Date Information
 Good Looking
 User Friendly – Intuitive Look and Feel
 Interactivity
 Fun
 Associated with recognised names

    Dr Pankaj Maini
What do Consumers look for?

Disease Specifics:
 Depression/Bipolar illness
 Allergies/Sinus problems
 Cancer/Heart Disease
 Arthritis
 High Blood Pressure

   Dr Pankaj Maini
 Diet and Nutrition Information.
 Information about Pharmaceutical drugs.
 Women‟s Health.
 Alternative Health.
 Travel Health.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
  The demographics of retrievers of
 medical health information clearly show
 their age
 income
 education
 occupational profile are all indicators of
 people with money to spend
    Dr Pankaj Maini
 American Businessman funded with more than $3 million.
 Previously made fortune selling rubber
  octopus toys that crawled down walls.
 Recently he has brought to the US a
  shaman (tribal healer), who from an
  Amazon rain forest dispenses e-mail
  advice on
    Dr Pankaj Maini
     Radical Technology - Leading
     from the Front.
 Diverse technological experience
 In depth healthcare expertise
 In a climate where being first to market is all
  important, Radical are launching their own
  health portal and are also involved in the
  development of customized intranet
  solutions for healthcare players.

Intranets – Why all the Fuss ?

An intranet is a small scale version of
 the internet using identical
 technologies, set up by organisations to
 improve the way they share information
 The Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and
 GlaxoWelcome have extensive intranets
 in place and are reaping the benefits
 with massive return on their
   The famous U.K. National Health Service is
    spending over one billion pounds on
    implementing a secure nationwide intranet
    known rather imaginatively as NHSnet

       Dr Pankaj Maini
The overall message is clear:
 Intranets are key to organisational
  success, given the volumes of data now
 This is as important in healthcare as it
  is in any other organisation.

    Dr Pankaj Maini
   Information Quality

      First Do No Harm

Dr Pankaj Maini
   „No other market segment touches so many lives
    or touches them so deeply in such an important
    way as health. But while we at Intel understand
    the technology that will inevitably deliver health
    information and health commerce – we don‟t have
    the skills to tell good medicine from bad medicine‟

 (Transcript from Keynote speech by Dr. Andrew
  S. Grove at Internet Health Day Oct 27 1998
 Dr Grove is C.E.O. of Intel Corporation).
   The Web as we know it today is radically different
    from that which existed a few years ago.

   Analysts will attempt to forecast trends using
    complex data analysis and statistical techniques –
    making predictions about net usage, net spending,
    net marketing and of course the reason for this
    paper – net health.

   The net in five years time may be totally different
    from anything we envisage today.
 Humanity‟s desire for information and quest
  for knowledge appears to be insatiable.
 By necessity there is now an enormous
  desire for information on health
 Consumers are becoming increasingly
  dissatisfied with their healthcare providers
  and taking more responsibility for their own
 Knowledge gives Empowerment.
   It is also clear that the demographics of
    health info consumers (at least from
    American statistics) make them
    lucrative to marketers.

     Dr Pankaj Maini
   Portals, intranets and search engines in
    healthcare are, as a result, often going to
    have a large commercial/profit oriented
    factor, and whether this can co-exist with
    the provision of accurate, relevant, timely
    information to the end user has yet to be
    proven globally.

         Dr Pankaj Maini Dec99

     Radical Technology