"Back" to Square 1: Is Healthcare Search Still Limping Along?

hi lovey! googled back pain and specifically the mckenzie program and it's for herniated discs. it doesn't sound like it would help your problem. i would recommend following directions for muscle strain instead. again, google has many links with suggestions. i think consistent use of the anti-inflammatory med is most important. hope you feel better soon. love, momy

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'Back'-story (couldn't resist):
2 days ago, bending over to pick up a bag of garbage, I pulled something in my lower back. Insert puns of choice here.

Symptoms: Immediate pain upon attempting to 'straighten' spine, swelling lumbar area, lower right quadrant.

Treatment: Aspirin PRN, rest (bed-rest) x 48 hours.

Working in the health 2.0 sector, I have many amazing resources at my disposal to explore injury and illness incidences, including search utilizing the engine built by the company for whom I currently work (OrganizedWisdom.com).

However, when you get sick, often the first thing you do is call Mom. Especially if Mom is a super-RN and informal Chief Nursing Officer of your life+work. Especially if Mom has a history of back injury and has been dealing with this kind of thing for years.

Above is the email text she sent after going the Google route, copied verbatim (thanks Mom ;).

Also, I have to admit I wanted to see what Super-Nurse-Mom would come up with if she tried an internet search for my symptoms, recommended treatment, etc.

Here's the info-gathering+choice-awareness process I followed in this episode of injury:

1. Hurt back. Curse (^*%*$. Day 1.
2. Stubbornly refuse to do anything for 24 hours (the old "it'll heal itself" philosophy). Day 1.
3. Call Super-Nurse-Mom at prompting from friend. Day 2.
4. Mom searches web for info. Day 2.
5. More aspirin. More cursing (&^%%^.
6. Mom emails content above. Day 2.
7. I search the web for muscle strain info, swear off cursing. Day 3.

There are several important points I want to make here:

1. It took Mom about 15-20 mins to search for and return the basic info above.
2. I got both 'helpful' pre-diagnosis info (Note: I haven't been to see a doc for my back pain to date) - likely muscle strain and use anti-inflammatories - and 'unhelpful' or 'additional' pre-diagnosis info - a la the McKenzie Program.
3. I called my Mom because I know she's had a 'bad back' for years and thought she may have experienced something similar. In short, I was relying primarily on her PERSONAL experiences with back pain, rather than her professional qualifications as a nurse.

Footnote: Because I work for OrganizedWisdom, I decided to 'test' our engine by nosing around for details about my back pain. Then I suffered a fit of curiosity (recurrent condition) and tried a few other searches. Time spent total = less than 10 mins.

Here's what OrganizedWisdom returns for back strain: http://organizedwisdom.com/Special:Search?search_value=&search=back+strain&fulltext.x=0&fulltext.y=0&fulltext=Go

Here's what a Google search returns for back strain:

I found About.com's results particularly good (although you don't often hear About's search capabilities mentioned in Health 2.0 circles):

Results: While there are decent resources for pre-diagnosis based on symptomology available online, the process is still cumbersome. And wouldn't it be great if there was a site or service that filtered my search terms over to a pre-diagnosis screening engine, and then allowed me to send that straight to my physician?

Then the integrated, 'experiential-based pathway' would look like this:
1. Injury (curses, foiled again).
2. Web search.
3. Results highlighted in bookmarklet similar to the one I'm using to compose this Posterous post.
4. Push 'screen' and sends data to pre-Dx screening tool.
5. Take screening test.
6. Send results to doc (or, gasp, my PHR) straight from the test.
7. In my dream world, I'd use that data to schedule an appointment from a Next-gen black bag doc like Dr. Jordan Shlain of CurrentHealth (if on the West Coast) or Dr. Jay Parkinson of HelloHealth (if on the East Coast).

This can be done folks. The startup tech is out there, right now, waiting to be connected. Coherence is the missing factor in making health search relevant, but it's not an incurable condition.

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

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