Health bug hits Microsoft; buys Medstory

After Google getting Adam Bosworth to add direction for major initiatives into health domain, it is the turn of Microsoft to play the catchup game before it gets too late. Today Microsoft announced that is has acquired Foster City, CA based Medstory, a health and medicine search engine. The startup has been in works for the past at least 2 years is backed by angel investors Esther Dyson, Zach Nelson(President and CEO of NetSuite), and Marty Tenenbaum(Chairman of CommerceNet).

With this deal Microsoft joins the group of software development companies looking to solve issues related to easier access, search, and management of medical information. Besides Microsoft and Google, Intuit recently came out with a new health expense manager software. Previously I had also written about MedBillManager  building a web-based  expense tracking and collaboration platform. Sermo and PatientsLikeMe are couple of other funded startups building social networks for health care providers and patients respectively. Also last month, former CEO of AOL had launched RevolutionHealth.com, a consumer facing health site.

Although the quality of search results provided by Medstory is debatable, it does offer users with another option to search for health information. Looking at Google, the search giant has also updated its search engine to smartly determine health related queries and present users with further filtering options like Treatment, Symptoms, Test/Diagnosis, and more. However personally I think we are still a long way from enabling common people to reach the right diagnosis and treatment options using simple search queries. The ability to connect a patient with the best and latest treatment option in the least amount of time matters the most. Looking at Medstory results you can easily tell that the search engine easily falls behind in terms of sources of content it is indexing, which further impacts serious research activity based on the site. While Google has a clear advantage on the indexing area, we need something more significant in the medical area than just links to Wikipedia and cancer organizations.

Links:
Medstory

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5 Responses to “Health bug hits Microsoft; buys Medstory”

  1. Josh Says:

    I’d just like to point-out that you’re comparing a Medstory search for ‘Leukemia’ with a focus on ‘Risk Assessment’ (hence the checkmark next to it at the top of your screenshot) to a general query for ‘Leukemia’ in Google.

    A Medstory search for just ‘Leukemia’ is actually more like what you seem to expect:
    http://medstory.com/app?service=external&page=Search&tc=s1&c=true&s=Web&q=leukemia

  2. Vivek Says:

    I am not talking about the snapshot above. Just some facts from what i observed. Also, health site giving links to WSJ pay wall articles is not that of a great idea. As i noted above, health search site should lead you to content sources and research materials that are highly relevant and current. Finding solutions for your java code bug is one thing. It doesn’t threaten anyones life. Searching for disease related information is another.

  3. tpick Says:

    I’d like to add Healia Inc, another health search engine, to the mix…Here’s a search on just ‘leukemia’:

    http://www.healia.com/healia/search.jsp?query=leukemia

  4. StartupSquad » Blog Archive » Former AOL CEO in Kosmix BoD Says:

    […] Kosmix board is quietly getting beefed up with Former AOL CEO, Jon Miller joining in. Kosmix has till date raised $25 million from Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and few private investors including Jeff Bezos, and Bill Miller of Legg Mason. For the past more than 1 year Kosmix has been offering a vertical search engine, where you get aggregated results from Health, VideoGames, Finance, Travel, Autos, US Politics in a portal page format. I am not really sure how the growth has been at Kosmix. Will try getting updates on that. Kosmix isn’t the only one working to grab Google’s fringe users and in turn gets its hand on the vertical ad-search dollars. We would for sure see more of them. Tags:Kosmix Search […]

  5. acai order Says:

    Phenomenal post. Insightful and entertaining as always!

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