03.03.2016

Review: MedNexus.io, a medical search engine for patients

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This post is sponsored by MedNexus.io. All opinions expressed in this review are my own based on my experience.

MedNexus is a medical search engine for patients, which connects users with reliable information from medical journals, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and other trusted sources.

My mom had fibromyalgia and used to think doctors were gods. She was chronically ill for at least half of her life, and like so many of us with fibromyalgia, she went from doctor-to-doctor in search of answers.

Her journey to get diagnosed and treated for fibro took place in the 1980s and 90s when awareness of our condition was even worse than it is now. Back then, there was no Internet (at least not in the way that we have it today), books on fibro were rare and access to reliable sources like medical journals were nonexistent in our small, rural library.

So my mother relied on one source for her medical information: her doctors.

Now 30 years later, I am on a similar journey as my mother. Like her, I went from doctor-to-doctor looking for answers. And when they all threw up their hands and said “Your blood tests are normal” or “Here, take this antidepressant, and you won’t care about the pain so much …,” Google became the most important member of my medical team. (Yes, sad but true.)

But Google isn’t perfect either. For all of its fancy algorithms, my search results were sometimes more of a popularity contest than a trustworthy list of sources. In fact, one of the very reasons that I started this blog was because I was so fed up with the lack of good information on fibromyalgia online.

Enter MedNexus, a medical search engine that’s designed just for us, the patients. MedNexus wades through the mishmash of health-related information online and gives us the most relevant content from trusted sources, such as medical journals, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and patient forums.

I was recently asked to use the MedNexus search engine and share my feedback in a review.

My visit started with the homepage, which I immediately liked because it’s very simple and easy to navigate. Unlike other websites that are cluttered with lots of images, dramatic headlines and “click heres,” MedNexus’ developers have taken a minimalist approach to the homepage. The search bar dominates the screen, prompting visitors to start their research immediately.

Of course, I searched for “fibromyalgia” and “chronic fatigue syndrome” since those are the conditions on which I focus. Search results are broken down into different categories:

  • Health Topics, which are essentially articles curated from other sites
  • Published Research with links to various studies
  • Ongoing Clinical Trials, which links to ClinicalTrials.gov
  • Forum Discussions with posts curated from online forums

The Health Topics category for both fibro and CFS provided basic information on those conditions. This category would be great for someone who is newly diagnosed or researching these conditions for the first time. The category also included some links to treatments, most of which were pharmacological in nature.

I like that MedNexus relies on trusted sources for information. I recognized pretty much all of the sources from which they are curating their content – the National Fibromyalgia Association, Solve ME/CFS Initiative, Arthritis Foundation and Medline Plus, among others. I know that I can click on the links, and I won’t be taken to the shady website of some self-professed medical guru who’s going to sell me a bottle full of oils to “cure” my fibromyalgia.

Like Health Topics, the Published Research section also directed me to trustworthy sources for research, such as the American Journal of MedicineMayo Clinic Proceedings and the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

The Ongoing Clinical Trials section directed me to ClinicalTrials.gov, where I could browse through current research studies.

The Forum Discussions section is a great way to find new online forums for support and information. I don’t visit very many online forums myself, but I feel comfortable doing that based on MedNexus’ recommendations.

There are a few things that I think MedNexus could do better. The content in the Health Topics category seems limited right now, but I’m sure much more will be added over time. As the site evolves, I think it would be useful to have subcategories under each of the categories to help users drill down more easily into the available data.

I also wish there were more images to break up the text. Yes, I know I raved about the minimalist homepage, but once I clicked over to the categories, it would be great to have the text broken up with some colorful graphics. The newspaper journalist in me wants to see the whole package – a story, photo and engaging layout.

MedNexus is a work in progress, and I think the developers are on the right track. As patients, it’s important for us to do our own research on our medical conditions, so we can take an active role in our healthcare. MedNexus makes that easier for us.

The MedNexus team is continually looking to improve the site’s user experience and would love your input. If you’d like, please visit MedNexus and then share your feedback by taking this short survey.






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Comments

  1. Wow! What a medical resource gold nugget you have found. I started checking it out, and I agree with you about breaking up the text. When I see a lot of text, I do read it, but it discourages full reading because of the length. Engaging photos, lists, and a few other adjustments would make it more visually appealing.

    Thanks for sharing!

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