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Melbourne, Florida, USA (February 14 1994) | location = San Francisco, California, USA| key_people = Cindy Thompson, Co-Founder Phil Garfinkel, Co-FounderJohn deSouza, CEO Khaled Hassounah, VP of Engineering| products = "Ask an Expert" forums, "Medical Communities" support forums, "Health Topics" medical dictionary, "MedTalk" doctor blogs| slogan = where there's a Doctor on the web.| industry = Healthcare, Internet| homepage = http://www.medhelp.org/MedHelp is an American private corporation that was founded in February 1994 and pioneered the field of consumer health information and communities on the Internet, before WebMD, Microsoft or Yahoo!.
Overview MedHelp partners with doctors from hospitals and medical research institutions to deliver online discussion boards on over 150 healthcare topics.In August 2007, MedHelp was ranked 8,377 in the Alexa Internet 3 month traffic rankings of all sites on the web and gets over 4 million unique visitors each month.
1993 - 1994: FoundingThe founders of MedHelp, Cindy Thompson and Phil Garfinkel, met in December of 1993, while conducting research in CompuServe's Med-Sig Forum. Both had family members that had struggled with life threatening illnesses. They discussed the difficulties they encountered in obtaining medical information in lay terminology. Cindy mentioned that one of her dreams was to create a service where patients would be able to contact leading physicians and scientists, who could answer specific questions, in lay terminology, regarding their diagnoses. Based on that vision, they incorporated the company on February 14, 1994 and launched the MedHelp bulletin board system (BBS) on April 1, 1994 with a 386 computer, two modems, and two phone lines.
1995 - Present: GrowthIn 1995, MedHelp updated its BBS so that it could also be accessed by the emerging Web browsers. At that point, only a handful of institutions such as the University of Iowa and Columbia University School of Medicine delivered of health information on the Internet. The National Cancer Institute had an FTP presence, but not a Web presence.By August of 1995, MedHelp had about 38,000 visitors a month. MedHelp continued to grow and by August 2007, MedHelp was getting over 4 million unique visitors monthly.
ForumsMedHelp hosts 2 types of forums - "Ask an Expert" forums and "Health Communities" forums on over 100 healthcare topics including Addiction, Allergy, Cancer, Cosmetic Surgery, Dental, Dermatology, Disaster Preparedness, Ear Nose & Throat, Fitness, Gastroenterology, Gynecology, Heart, Hepatitis, HIV, Neurology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, STD, Weight Loss, Women's Health, Pet Health and Urology. The forums are moderated by MedHelp. In the "Ask an Expert" forums, users can ask questions to medical specialists from MedHelp's partner institutions like the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Partners HealthCare, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, National Jewish Medical & Research Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, University of South Florida Health Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In the "Health Communities" forums, users post questions, comments and get responses and support from other users.
Revenue modelMedHelp states that its business model is advertisement-based, and advertisers can buy ads directly from MedHelp or through partners such as Google.
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