House Call is a proposed multimedia, interactive product designed to provide reference information about various illnesses, diseases, symptoms and treatments. What will separate House Call from similar products on the market is the use of an expert system to help individuals diagnose their own illnesses. Of course, the program will ship with disclaimers indicating that this is not a substitute for a physician and that under no circumstances should an individual use the "possible" diagnosis rendered by House Call in lieu of a diagnosis from the medical establishment.
The target audience for House Call is individuals who are concerned about their well-being and who are active in their own health care. The target market is not hypochondriacs, although there are certain to be some hypochondriacs who purchase the product. Instead, the audience is assumed to be moderately wellread, familiar with basic medical terminology, and able to understand the limitations that a system such as House Call can offer.
The product itself would include a medical reference encyclopedia listing illnesses with their symptoms and recommended treatments. This information would be culled from current medical literature and would include current information regarding drug therapies as well as surgical procedures. In addition, the product will also list information on commonly prescribed drugs as well as over-the-counter solutions. A nutrition section would provide information regarding appropriate diet for individuals, including strategies for losing weight.
In the opening screens, users would select from Illness, Drugs, Nutrition and Consultation. The illness section allows users to enter the first few letters of an illness, or they can select from an alphabetical list. Both Latin and English names would be available. The description of the illness would be limited to a few paragraphs, and the user could "click" on the name of the disease to he...