February 24, 2009

Medpedia’s Potential

Medpedia launched this week, prompting questions from many corners about how it fits in to the current realities of the health care world (see: e-patients.net; TheScientist.com; Ars Technica; and Twitter.)

I see almost everything through a data lens, so let me try to use what I know to benchmark Medpedia’s potential:

74% of US adults are online; 75% look for health info online; 47% use Wikipedia (see our latest trends charts).

Most people looking for health info online start at a search engine (Pew Internet: Online Health Search 2006).

Comscore Media Metrix continues to show that Wikimedia, Everyday Health, and WebMD garner huge traffic.

Medpedia needs to either break into search engine results OR internet users need a reason to change their habits (ie, so far most haven’t been burned by erroneous info and they haven’t been convinced by any pro-MD marketing campaign to make a switch from the “good enough” solutions).

However, Pew Internet consistently finds (as does the National Cancer Institute, and the Center for Studying Health System Change) that when facing a serious health question, most adults turn to a health professional first. So there is still an opening for a MD-vetted information service.

The stakes are high for everyone — I hope this data helps to show that.