October 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 17)
Strong Points: Easy access to useful information
Weak Points: None
Here’s another one of those ideas I wish I had. A visit to the doctor prompts lab tests routinely. Even as a scientist, do you understand how each test works and what it tells? Probably not. Imagine you are not a scientist and you’re trying to decipher what your doctor has called for or what the results of a test indicate. To the rescue comes Lab Tests Online, a public, nonprofit resource put together by the “lab professionals who do the testing.” The opening page of the site is attractively designed and gives a good guide to the contents that include an excellent section of news and a scrolling set of search terms that bring up information as soon as the user clicks on one. These come in three categories: Tests, Conditions/Diseases, and Screening. The one-click interface is one of the cleverest implementations I’ve ever seen and it makes navigation around the site almost instantaneous. Best of all, the descriptions of the tests, conditions/diseases, and screenings are short without being too terse, informative, and hyperlinked to other material for additional information. A great health-related site.