Friday, 26 February 2016

A Review of MedNexus: A more accurate search engine for medical information.

MedNexus is a search engine; specifically designed for medical information. It began as a website only accessible for medical professionals, but has now been made available for patients. What sets it apart from other search engines (Google, for instance) is that it only displays accurate and reliable information. The user does not need to sift through pages of irrelevant information in order to get the answers they need. As a chronic illness blogger, I like to keep myself informed on various things to do with the medical conditions that I talk about; whether it is how the condition is diagnosed, treatments available, new research developments, or anything else that may be useful for myself and my readers. I decided to test the MedNexus website, to see how well it delivered on its promises.


Home page

The layout of MedNexus' home page is a very clear one; with easy to read sans serif font. The search box is right in the middle of the page, and I find my eyes are drawn to it straightaway. If you want to go straight to common, chronic, seasonal, or recently searched images, suggestions are available on the same page. They are clearly laid out and organised into columns.

As you scroll down, there's a short description of what the website does; i.e. its purpose. It also states why it is the ideal search engine for medical information specifically.

 "For all levels of expertise". This quote implies that there are different ways you can search; depending on what you need to find. It shows how this search engine can work for you; regardless of your level of expertise.

The information on the homepage is laid out in a clear, concise way. It is separated into small, easy to read paragraphs and columns; with a clear subheading for each.


Testing the search facility

I decided to try out a general search then a more specific search, to see how easy it would be to get the exact information I desired. As you may know, one of my medical conditions is Fibromyalgia. I wanted to see how accurate the results would be, if I searched for information on this.


General search

To start off the search, I simply typed in "Fibromyalgia". I found that as I began to type, a drop down menu was displayed; giving search suggestions. Some of these suggestions included "What is Fibromyalgia?", and "How do you treat Fibromyalgia?". I found this a useful feature, as it allowed me to narrow down my search even more; so was more likely to result in quickly finding the answer to a particular question about the condition.

The results could be ordered by relevance or most recent. They are also categorized into "Health topics", "Published research", and "Forum discussions".


Specific search

For this search, I typed in "What are the risk factors for Fibromyalgia?". The same categories as the general search were displayed in the results. The first result I came across was entitled "Fibromyalgia causes"

Looking around the results page, I noticed the left hand side displayed sections entitled "Common risk factors", "Previous searches", and "Explained". I found that these broke down the results and explained them in a less scientific way.


Other links

Other links available on each page include "Home", "About", "FAQ", "Blog", "Privacy", "TOS", "Contact", and links to MedNexus' Facebook and Twitter pages.

I was disappointed to find that when the Facebook or Twitter link is clicked, it opens in the same tab. This could be an inconvenience for people who want to keep a particular page open on the main site. It would be better if these links opened in a new tab or window by default.


Overview

Overall, I find this search engine a very useful one. It cuts down the time taken to search for the information I need, and I do not have to pore through medical jargon in order to obtain accurate and informative answers. On the whole, this appears to be a fairly accessible website; in terms of its clear layout, the font it uses, and how it can be navigated. I am very likely to use MedNexus in future; as I feel it meets my needs much better than other search engines.


What do you think?

MedNexus are looking for feedback, and suggestions on how they can improve. They would like you to complete this short survey  to share your experiences on this. I recommend giving this website a go, and seeing if it works for you!


Resources

1. MedNexus Homepage: http://www.mednexus.io/

2. MedNexus Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mednexus.io

3. MedNexus Twitter page: https://twitter.com/med_nexus

4. MedNexus Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2D5ZR58

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