If you don’t mind giving up personal information, Sharecare has a lot of useful information from both professional sources and from social media type forums.
Back in the olden days, people would go to the doctor, who would tell them what was wrong and would tell them what they were going to do about it. Today’s patients see doctors before there is a problem and when there is a problem they not only want to know what the doctor thinks will fix it, but why she believes that, and what the other alternatives are.
Patients want to take control of their health; they research their conditions, self-monitor blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar in addition to weight. Sharecare is a website and phone app that gives you a medical home on the web.
Founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Jeff Arnold, Sharecare seeks to empower patients by putting personalized health information at their fingertips. It provides access to personal health records, and uses inputted information to push topics of probable interest. If you are overweight or have expressed an interest in diet you will see low calorie recipes or exercise plans.
If you need a new doctor, there are plenty of opportunities to search for one on this site. You can follow experts on areas of interest and see new questions they answer or articles they post. You can start your own blog or participate in Facebook-type discussion boards on various health topics like weight loss or breast cancer.
The homepage is easy to navigate. However, to access some of the information you need to register, and give out personal information–or lie.
The information we accessed on the Sharecare website appeared to be informative and well written. There is a physician search feature and in our city it mainly pulled up physicians from two of the major hospitals, so if you are looking for a doctor associated with one of the other hospitals you will need to look elsewhere. One of the hospitals was listed on the site as a “partner”.
Still, the articles we read were informative and they even have a virtual medical consultation where you input answers to a bunch of questions about your present symptoms and it gives you some possible diagnoses. If you click on the diagnosis, it tells you which of your symptoms match that diagnosis and what type of doctor treats the illness.
From what we could tell, this is a free ad-supported site. There are some blocks on the site that are clearly ads, and since the site is aimed at adults, that doesn’t bother us. The sponsorship by one local hospital was noted, we weren’t able to tell how many other sponsorships are embedded in the site. Are the physicians who post doing so for pay or for marketing exposure. That’s not clear, and it should be.
If you don’t mind giving up personal information (or lying) Sharecare has a lot of useful information from both professional sources and from social media type forums. Besides the website there is a phone app.