Trusera, out of beta & different enough to be interesting

Keith Schorsch is a busy boy. Not only did he write a much commented piece about Google Health and PHRs on this very station last week, but he also popped by last week to tell me about the new look for Trusera. Several of you saw Trusera launch at the Health 2.0 Conference last March. As of today they’ve removed the Beta tag, and have introduced a new look and new features.

The way Trusera is going about things is by collecting stories and journal entries, and then essentially parsing the keywords and text in those stories to connect people with others with similar situations. The distinction between this and most other social networking sites is that Trusera doesn’t have “forums” or “channels” per se, but uses its search technology (somewhat inspired by Amazon where several of the founding team came from) to match lurkers and contributers with content and people relevant to them. There’s also some neat tools to help people build their stories with helpful suggestions appearing to the side as they’re being written—think of the Microsoft paper clip but done well! (At this stage it doesn’t take detailed self reported patient clinical information a la PatientsLikeMe or PHRs).

So far there’s sizable activity on Trusera in autism, breast cancer and infertility among other conditions. And of course Keith’s aim is to develop hundreds of thousands of members and millions of stories.

Trusera’s approach is different enough to be interesting as another option for community online. The technology is arguably better than others in the space, but as we know from other markets “better” technology doesn’t always mean most successful—as I tell many of my Mac using colleagues.  But as was also pointed out to me this weekend, that the vast majority of patients are not yet online in these communities. So it’ll be interesting to see as these numbers grow, who will be standing. Trusera clearly has a shot.

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