Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

HealthTap – A Free Interactive Heath Network Staffed by Physicians


[Please visit the related articles for the pros and cons of HealthTap.
Yes, HealthTap is free and staffed by physicians.
However, the answers are short and may not be tailored to your specific needs. Nothing can replace consulting with a health care provider at an office visit.
The Forbes article below concludes “you’re getting a few sentences of free medical advice from a group of random physicians, with reputations attested to by other random physicians, who are taking the time to answer your question for free either because of a desire to generate new business or a desire to help their Fellow Man.”

HealthTap seems to be a good tool. However it is  only an information source, and not a substitute for personal care by one’s health care provider.]


“HealthTap is an Interactive Health Network dedicated to improving everyone’s health and well-being. We do this by providing free online and mobile answers from thousands of leading physicians to your health questions, and by personalizing health information for you. HealthTap helps people better understand their health, make the best decisions for themselves and their families, and find the best doctors. We also help physicians better serve their existing patients and find new ones, while demonstrating their expertise and helping people everywhere.”


Health Tap puts medical minds at the fingertips of its users. By doing so, it indirectly tailors information to the user’s needs..I was recently sick with a viral infection and my first thought was to type in my symptoms online. According to Google keyword tool, I’m not the only one. For the word “treatment”, Google gets about 37 million searches each month. For each of the words “sick”, “fever” and “symptom” Google receives about 7 million searches per month. The consumer health market is clearly there to support a site like Health Tap.

Benefits for Consumers

If the initial internet search happens regardless, it is more convenient for individuals to get their information from real physicians than from general sites like Wikipedia or Yahoo Answers, the former being too exhaustive and the latter lacking consistent credibility. The breadth of information that is already available on trustworthy sites such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic **will remain there for those who want exhaustive information.

Benefit for Physicians

By using the site, doctors can help people beyond the scope of their practice. They can also manage their professional internet presence in a less time-consuming manner than they can in a full blog. All they have to do is list their affiliations, connect to other physicians, and answer questions thoughtfully….
Added Value to Health Care 

Does HealthTap add value to the health care or the practice of medicine? No, at least not yet. It does, however, adds to the value of social media. Social networks have become a reflection of what is present in the general public consciousness. Health care deserves a spot in that collective consciousness. Social networks are also useful for facilitating communication. Health Tap could support doctor-patient communication, especially between PCPs and their patients. As far as improving the practice of medicine, Health Tap is not there yet. However, if it can gain mass adoption, leveraging its influence to improve the health care system could be incredible.

** For a short list of trustworthy sites, please see General Guides with links (at Health and Medical News/Resources) by yours truly

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December 3, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , ,

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