Facebook and Twitter are not the appropriate venues to share that your back is feeling achy or that your bowel is acting up.
Launching today, HealthKeep is a place for people to post about their everyday aches and pains and ask the community about potential symptom relievers. Unlike Facebook, it’s completely anonymous (rightfully so), so you won’t need to hide the gory or embarrassing details.
“People love to share about their health, but because of privacy issues, they shouldn’t use Facebook,” said founder Lyle Dennis (pictured, above) by phone. Sign up for a profile, and you’ll be asked about previous surgeries and procedures, as well as your date of birth, but your name will never be requested.
The site was founded by Dennis, a physician, a neurologist and self-described technofuturist. Dennis has been developing the site with a technical cofounder for over three years, so its database is fairly extensive: The site has profiles for every practicing physician in the country, which those physicians can “claim.”
Once a physician claims their profile, they can use the site to interact with patients and share resources, including medical discoveries and relevant articles. HealthKeep plugs into about 50 mainstream news sources, so it’s easy to share information.
For patients, it’s a means to interact with a community with similar health issues and keep a record of symptoms. If you post that you’ve developed a rash, this will remain on your “health timeline” and might be useful for your primary care physician to track.
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HealthKeep’s user community is still small, as the founders haven’t done much marketing, but the company hopes to eventually compete with WebMD or HealthTap, which offers tips and advice from physicians.
I ask Dennis whether he envisions the site being used by hypochondriac types who obsessively monitor their health. “The majority of people assume they have cancer, no matter what the symptoms are,” he observed. “The site might help to allay these fears.”
In the future, Dennis plans to make money through targeted advertising. The site is a self-funded effort, and he hopes to close a seed round of venture or angel financing in the coming months.
Would you use something like this to share information about your health? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.