myHealthbox: how to make a difference in people’s lives

myHealthbox how it started trusted search engine healthcare Medicines

My name is Roberto Lattuada, I’ve worked for several years in the new technologies and mobile solutions sector, thinking I was already developing important ideas for consumer and business. Exciting, but not completely true.

Then it came a day when I was on a remote sunny island on vacation with my family: my one year old daughter had caught a fever and after consultation with our paediatrician back home my wife and I decided to give her some antibiotics. We usually carried them with us so we had the medicine, unfortunately we had the bottle but not the instructions. Simple questions such as “how much water to add” or “which dosage to administer for her weight” seemed at the time like very complicated differential equations.

That was the exact moment I discovered how precious trustworthy information can be in health related matters.

Why not simply use my favourite search engine? Well, I did, but was soon overwhelmed by tens of results most of which did not seem to come from particularly trustworthy sites; as parents we started asking ourselves: “do we really want to put the health of our child in the hands of such and such website? What if the dosage is incorrect or she has side effects caused by the wrong dosage?”

We were left looking for correct, up-to-date, complete information from a reputable source, just lost on the web trying to surf waves of data.

As you can imagine the answer to the previous question was a big NO, we did not want to take any risks by trusting information available on just ANY website (call it “remote island parents panic attack syndrome”) so in this occasion we found an alternative way for our peace of mind (we had someone get out of bed, go to our house back home, retrieve the instructions leaflet, take a picture of it and mail it to us, in case you wondered ...).

We were lucky to find a trustworthy friend to help us, but we were also sure the problem was not an isolated case. Parents, couples, individuals, would be facing a similar problem everywhere and in several different situations. Also doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals would probably welcome such a solution.

With this experience in mind a few years later I joined forces with a couple of friends (a doctor and a pharmacist) and started myHealthbox, a free search engine just like Google or Bing but specific to medicines and healthcare products, both human and veterinary.

The main benefits of having a dedicated search engine for this kind of data are:

  • the information available through this site is verified and only obtained from official sources (medicines agencies or manufacturers)
  • the information goes through a number of quality verification and assurance steps to make sure that it is complete (no parts of the documentation are left out)
  • information is available in its original approved format
  • the information is available in 58 languages
  • it is possible to cross-search medicines in several countries to look for alternative remedies in any country of residence, work or vacation (this feature is very popular with pharmacists who deal with tourists on a daily basis)
  • there is a dedicated customer service so that if the information is not available on our site users just send us a request through our web page and we come back with the official information from the manufacturer once it is available.

A few years after the initial idea myHealthbox is today one of the largest, independent sources of digital healthcare information, providing freely available, trustworthy data for both consumers and professionals in over 200 countries, it also fully complies with the HONCODE standard for trustworthy health information on the web.

There is also a myHealthbox solution for pharmaceutical companies or companies with products and services in the healthcare space: it is called eLeaflet.

This official video provides an overview of the features available for businesses.

My daughters’ favourite tales always have a happy ending, so also for this story of “making a difference in people’s lives” I look forward to find more space for improving, more opportunities to help people, more challenges to make our products and service even better.

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