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Data Visualization of Texas Women’s Health Online – National Women’s Health Week

To cap off National Women’s Health Week, Healthcake is releasing the results of a recent online study it conducted of women’s health concerns and the sources of insight they rely on for answers.

The research targeted a sample of 400 women between ages 18 and 54 who live in Texas. It revealed that 43% of women represented in the target sample are conducting health searches online at least once per month. They are hunting for explanations of symptoms, conditions and treatments in 57%, 38% and 24% of cases, respectively. This insight points to how a sudden symptom or a recent diagnosis is a familiar trigger of health inquiries online. Not surprisingly, doctors were the preferred source of information among 67% of respondents. Perhaps it’s more interesting to note that when asked about their preferred sources of information, 30% of women in the survey also responded “People like me” while 27% said nurses and 27% chose survivors. Among the topics respondents are interested in, some of the more commons ones were weight, pain, cancer, diabetes, depression and mental health.

Figure 1: Texas Women’s Health Online Data Visualization

TexasWomenHealthOnline2Source: TexasWomenHealthOnline-Visualization

Healthcake Mobile Apps

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Healthcake Completes Beta with Release of Mobile Apps

We have just completed the beta of Healthcake, the online personal assistant that helps you discover cures and manage wellness across different websites so you can make faster, better health decisions. We learned so much from our users and thank them for their commitment to making Healthcake an even better experience for everyone.

We also went live today with brand new mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. Now our users can find the help they need on the go and connect with resources in their local area. Isn’t it better when you find an answer to a health question AND you can take immediate action on what you learned? A no-brainer.

You can download the new apps here:

Healthcake on Apple App Store

Healthcake on Apple App Store

Healthcake on Google Play Store

Healthcake on Google Play Store

Healthcake on Windows Phone Store

Healthcake on Windows Phone Store

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“Set My People Free” : Did slavery drive African Americans crazy?

Reflecting on Martin Luther King Day, I think about the great progress that black people have achieved in a country where slavery has been abolished. Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco without pay. Are black Americans still feeling the effects of slavery 396 years later?

I’d say yes and that’s why we wanted to launch a New Selma Party. The idea of the New Selma Party is to spotlight the new front in the fight for civil rights: health disparities among blacks.

According to the United States Census Bureau, black Americans have the lowest average household median income at $33,321 a year. This is behind Hispanics at $39K, Non-Hispanic Whites at $57K, and Asians at $68K. According to the National Poverty Center, poverty rates for blacks greatly exceed the national average. And poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. Studies show about 72 percent of black mothers are single compared to 29 percent for non-Hispanic whites, 53 percent for Hispanics, 66 percent for American Indian/Alaska native and 17 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander.

The link between poverty and mental health is well-known. Those with low incomes are more likely to suffer from poor mental health. Both individual and neighborhood economic deprivation increase the risk of poor general and mental health. In addition, those with mental health problems are more likely to experience poverty: once incapacitated, an individual’s socio-economic status is likely to fall further (‘selective social drift’). Complicating matters, mental health is often stigmatized in the black community. For example, research findings show that blacks, particularly black women, experience major depression at higher rates than whites, but seek treatment less often. A lack of adequate health care and ability to cover the costs can significantly contribute to low rates of the treatment of depression. Around 20 percent of black Americans  are uninsured compared to less than 12 percent of whites.

There seems to be a direct link between slavery and poverty among black Americans. There is also a link between poverty and mental health. Let’s use the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King to celebrate progress and start a new conversation about health disparities in America.

We call it the New Selma. Join the party and share your story.


The New Selma: Are Health Disparities Among African Americans Proof of a Dream Unfulfilled?

Each year on Martin Luther King day, we reflect and participate in parades to honor his game changing role in the civil rights movement. Wikipedia describes King as “the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.” And the release of the Hollywood film Selma spotlights the movement on the big screen like never before, gaining 4 to 5 star ratings from movie critics and fans alike.

However, I question if there might be a “New Selma” required? I’d vote ‘Yes’, but not because of racial injustices per se…instead there are real stubborn health disparities, that to some extent, have been precipitated by those injustices.

Make a cake for New Selma.

It doesn’t matter who you are, we’ve all heard the stats on African American health: more deaths from heart disease, more likely to have diabetes, higher prevalence of hypertension and obesity, almost one of every 5 people age 65 and under are uninsured, almost half of the total population who get HIV and AIDS, and the list goes on.

Today on Healthcake, I’m starting Black History Month early with a New Selma Party. I’ve made a cake to provoke some conversation and “outside the box” ideas to uncover lasting solutions to African American health disparities.

Contribute your own story to the New Selma Party.

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Four Types of People Living at the Healthcare Tipping Point

My eyes were glued on a series of research reports published by the Pew Research Center in 2013 and 2014. Since then, the Pew Internet: Health fact sheet has been published and I find myself equally intrigued like a feline attracted to catnip. A quick glance at the flurry of stats sprinkled throughout the page reveals a piping hot trend: healthcare is at a tipping point.

Sure Obamacare (a.k.a. Affordable Care Act) is nudging moms and pops to join insurance exchanges and there are seismic technological shifts giving rise to wearable tracking devices, often moonlighting as your smartphone. Yet, the tipping point I refer to in healthcare is one where we see the “30% barrier” being broken:

  • Fewer than 30% of Americans have yet to search for health information online. Conversely, over 70% already have.
  • Over 30% of adults who are age 50+ or living with multiple chronic diseases have used the Internet to search for health information.
  • 30% of people who had a serious health issue turned to non-medical sources for help.
  • Over 30% of U.S. adults say that at one time or another they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
  • Over 30% of those who are tracking their health indicators are also sharing their records or notes with another person or group.

More than ever before, most Americans are one of four types of people – either e-Patient, e-Survivor, e-Caregiver or e-Supporter – increasingly using the Internet to search for health information online. Many are relying on non-medical sources and the knowledge shared by others to try to figure out a diagnosis before they go to a doctor. Healthcake is an online personal health assistant that brings health stories together from different sites based on a person’s health interests, making it less time-consuming to find quality content, ratings and reviews.

What type of e-person are you?