SOURCE: Healia

September 18, 2006 07:00 ET

Healia® Health Search Engine Launches

Delivers Industry's Highest-Quality and Personalized Health Information for Consumers

BELLEVUE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 18, 2006 -- Healia (www.healia.com) announced today the availability of its free service to consumers. Healia is a significant advancement in health search engine technology, delivering the highest-quality and personalized health information to consumers.

Existing search engines make it difficult and frustrating to find reliable and personally relevant health information because they provide a flood of generic hits, many of which are of questionable validity. This is especially true for health topics that are commonly the subject of scams and dubious activities, including alternative medicine, nutrition, diet and weight loss, prescription drugs, and cures for serious diseases.

A recent Jupiter Research report based on a May survey of more than 2,000 Web users showed that only 16 percent said they were actually able to find the health information they were looking for online.

Developed over four years on R&D funding from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. government's focal point for health research, Healia uses patent-pending algorithms to generate high-quality, finely filtered, and personalized results.

Healia acts as a "personalized health librarian" and sorts through the billions of health-related pages on the Internet. For example, Healia is the first health search engine to offer truly "personalized" search. Its filtering technology allows users to easily drill down and find results that fit their personal characteristics including gender, age group, race/ethnicity, reading level, and many other factors.

No matter how deep or broad the content on a specific Web site, in most cases, only a comprehensive search of the Web can reliably answer consumers' specific and personalized health questions. For example, few Web sites provide asthma information specifically for African Americans; or cancer prevention information from a women's perspective. With its personalization filters, Healia can help someone find this information quickly and efficiently.

Using semantic analysis, Healia will provide "suggested results" based on the nature of the query, delivering quick access to resources that are more likely to answer the user's health question versus a general search engine.

For example, a search for information about a disease or health condition such as diabetes will automatically generate contextual filters including "prevention," "symptoms," and "treatment." In contrast, filters such as "dosage" and "side effects" would appear on a search for drug information. The user will also be prompted with more specific search terms including "diabetes insipidus" and "diabetes mellitus."

"There has been a dramatic increase over the past few years in the degree to which consumers rely on search engines when researching health information online. As consumers become more search savvy and engaged with their health care decisions, we only expect to see this reliance on search to increase," said Mark Bard, president of Manhattan Research (http://www.manhattanresearch.com/),a healthcare market research and services firm with clients including AstraZeneca, Berlex, California HealthCare Foundation, Lilly, Forest Labs, Genentech, Google, GSK, Merck, National Institutes of Health, Novartis, Pfizer and WebMD.

For the typical consumer who struggles with complex medical terms and acronyms, Healia includes a health-optimized spellchecker and provides expanded equivalents of arcane medical abbreviations and acronyms.

And unlike health content sites such as WebMD, Healia does not create its own content. Rather, it serves as an independent, unbiased gateway to the highest quality health information resources.

"People have difficultly finding personally relevant health information because the major search engines are not optimized for health and they provide many generic hits that are often of questionable quality. We created Healia to help people make better health decisions, practice healthy behaviors, and have more informed interactions with their healthcare providers," said Tom Eng, Healia's founder and chairman.

More About Healia

--  Healia uses patent-pending algorithms and methods to ensure the
    highest quality results. Sophisticated formulas are used to examine
    numerous variables and characteristics of content that determine quality to
    generate the best results.
    
--  Healia employs advanced semantic analyses of search queries to suggest
    alternative search terms allowing users to search more intelligently.
    Semantic technology is also used to dynamically organize and present search
    results and contextual filters to users.
    
--  Healia provides users with numerous filters to find individually
    relevant results. Healia uses proprietary algorithms to identify Web
    content that match specific content types, user preferences, and audience
    profiles such as by gender, age group, and racial/ethnic background.
    
--  Healia enhances other Web applications including electronic health
    records, decision support tools, and health portals, by seamlessly
    integrating Healia's search technologies through Web services. Users can
    search within any Web application.
    
About Healia.com

Healia, Inc. (www.healia.com) is the creator of a proprietary, health-optimized search engine that uses patent-pending algorithms and content assessment to generate high-quality, finely filtered, highly targeted and personalized results for consumers. Healia technology can be integrated with any Web site or application including portals, interactive tools, and electronic health records. The Healia search engine is available to partners for free in an advertising revenue share relationship or for a license fee to maintain an ad-free environment common to health organizations and employers. Its licensees include the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the nation's largest integrated health care system.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Martin Levy
    Mobile office:
    Martin Levy Public Relations
    206.851.7256
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