Healthfinder

Probably the industry that government has the most voluminous amounts of data on is health care. Organizing the seemingly infinite bits of information on government and private research into diseases and other health information may seem an impossible task, but the Department of Health and Human Services has tried to do just that with its Healthfinder page.

The site covers more than 1,000 health-related topics and provides links to selected information from government agencies, major nonprofit and private health departments, and universities.

Last year, HHS added a page about alternative medicine to provide information about a variety of therapies in the increasingly popular field. On the Healthfinder home page, a blue search bar provides quick, easy searches on various topics. Users can enter a specific word or browse a list of topics arranged alphabetically.

The site is an example of how an agency has created an interactive virtual office.

Officials plan to allow users to create their own personalized home pages through Healthfinder, which can be automated to receive updated health information tailored to the user's interests. Another planned feature would allow a user to program their age and gender into the site and receive specific guidance on preventative health measures.

"We've done it in a very easy to use way," said Mary Jo Deering, director of health communication and tele-health. "People like the fact that...it's not very dense, it's readable. People can find what they're looking for."

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