Cardiologychannel Offers Heart Patients New Opportunities for Improved Health

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Healthcommunities.com, Inc., a privately-owned publisher of online health information since 1998, announces recent additions to cardiologychannel.com. These new features allow browsers to interact and share information about heart and vascular problems with each other and with board-certified physicians.

All the information on cardiologychannel is free and is provided without obligation. Readers don't have to join anything to benefit and they aren't made to feel as though they're part of an 'illness club'.

Cardiologychannel.com, a physician-developed and -monitored website that has provided trustworthy patient education information and helped millions learn about heart conditions since it launched in 2000, announces recent enhancements, such as condition-specific forums and specialized blogs that allow patients with heart and vascular problems to share practical information about managing their conditions.

Cardiologychannel also provides information for health care consumers who have not been diagnosed and are wondering if symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath may indicate a developing cardiac condition. These enhancements come at a time when heart health is in the news due to the recent death of well-known NBC Newsman and Moderator of Meet the Press, Tim Russert.

The upgrades to cardiologychannel are designed to help improve patient outcomes and reduce mortality and disability caused by heart conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and 700,000 people die from heart disease each year (nearly 30% of all U.S. deaths). By sharing information, cardiologychannel browsers can learn helpful tips from others who have successfully managed their cardiovascular conditions — tips they may not learn about in a physician consultation.

Stanley J. Swierzewski III, M.D., the CEO and Founder of cardiologychannel says, "The forums and specialized blogs called 'Living with…' sections (e.g., Living with High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)) provide a new opportunity for information exchange between heart patients. The interactive tools we have added give health care consumers the chance to share tips and experiences about coping with their condition, as well as the medical care they are receiving."

The "Living with …" sections are collections of personal stories that are submitted by browsers and are moderated, edited, and then published by cardiologychannel staff. Readers of the stories can post responses that corroborate the information or provide an additional perspective.

Dr. Swierzewski explains that the goal of cardiologychannel is to empower patients by encouraging them to seek care and/or by providing them with information they can use with their medical team. "Informed patients are better partners in their own health care. The clinical condition information on cardiologychannel offers easy-to-read but comprehensive explanations about cardiovascular symptoms, diagnostics, and treatments. The interactive sections go a step beyond by exposing browsers to personal stories from others with similar medical experiences."

Response to the forums and "Living with…" sections has been strong, and among the posts are testimonials to the uniqueness of the cardiologychannel forum experience. For example, one person who was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation writes, "(I've) been looking for a Forum like this for ages. ... great to get on here and get it off my chest with people who understand."

Dr. Swierzewski notes, "It can be challenging to maintain an active online health forum because a purity of purpose within a forum is necessary to maintain the interest of participants, and of course, it has to be helpful to them. Cardiologychannel is effective because the straightforward, easy-to-read language of the website's doctor-developed clinical condition information is used to set the tone for the forums and our browsers are very motivated to find answers to their health questions. Since cardiologychannel does not advertise, browsers find the website primarily through online searches for terms like ‘heart attack treatment’ and ‘hypertension diagnosis.’ Therefore, the browsers who find cardiologychannel are serious about uncovering every bit of information to help lead to an improved outcome. The tone of our clinical condition content and the motivated browsers we attract create a unique environment that promotes helpful dialog among browsers. Our medical advisors also participate in the forum and respond to posts, as their schedule allows."

"All the information on cardiologychannel is free and is provided without obligation. Readers don't have to join anything to benefit and they aren't made to feel as though they're part of an 'illness club'.” Health care consumers can register to post in the forums and/or to receive the most compelling stories, the most informative forum posts, and other newsworthy information about specific conditions via e-mail.

Another new cardiologychannel feature that is simple to use but very useful is a Questions to Ask Your Cardiac Care Team handout that browsers can print out and take to a medical appointment. Using this form, patients can be sure to ask their medical team the right questions and best position themselves to benefit from their physician's care.

Healthcommunities.com, Inc., the publisher of cardiologychannel also provides comprehensive website services to a network of cardiologists, developing medical practice websites that link to cardiologychannel's content. These custom websites are known for high-quality patient education resources and high search engine presence—a result of Healthcommunities.com's individualized search engine optimization (SEO) services. Furthermore, browsers can locate cardiologists who are in the network or who have subscribed to the service by entering their zip code in cardiologychannel’s MDLocator, a proprietary physician finder.

Cardiologychannel.com is published by Healthcommunities.com, Inc., a privately-held company founded in 1998. Healthcommunities.com, which serves health care consumers searching for reliable information on the Internet, is a Physician Developed and Monitored™ collection of online communities that provide information and resources to consumers and patient education website services to health care providers.

In August 2008, Healthcommunities.com will launch kidshealthchannel, which will provide important information about children's health issues to expectant parents, parents, guardians, and caregivers of children from birth to adolescence. Pediatricians who are interested in contributing to the development of kidshealthchannel should contact Healthcommunities.com as soon as possible.

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