Virtual doctors still a long way off

Stephen J. Schueler of DSHI Systems in Florida wrote yesterday, asking that I check out their latest venture. FreeMD. It purports to be a virtual physician

DSHI Systems home page imageStephen J. Schueler of DSHI Systems in Florida wrote yesterday, asking that I check out their latest venture. FreeMD.

It purports to be a virtual physician, but it's more like the ELIZA program from back in the 1960s.

ELIZA was, in the end, more a satire than anything else, a program that would mainly ask you what was wrong with you until you found out yourself.

Trouble is, my ADHD hates that kind of psychology. Once I was told what was wrong, I wanted actions I could take to deal with it.

And when it comes to what is physically wrong with us, I think we're all that way.

I entered a fairly simple, and typical problem into the search box, exhaustion. All it could give me was an encyclopedia entry on heat exhaustion.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm certain that, if the site is allowed to grow, or connect to a larger database, it can yield better results. You might even think of it as a sort of Ask Dr. Jeeves.

There have been many attempts over the years to deliver a "more natural" user interface for queries, and the simple search box is still the best.

So interface this with Google and you might have something. Link it to maps, and lists of relevant physicians, or let people enter their own information. Interact and build trust, add data, and there might be something to this thing.

Better yet, check out the site yourself and get back here with your ideas. You're the doctor. I'm just the patient.

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