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Innovation & Startups

Policing the inflammatory online world for doctors. That's Treatspace.

The online world is devolving into a nightmare for many doctors today.
Imagine googling your profession or name and finding 1,500 results that are inaccurate and inflammatory, says Rick Cancelliere, cofounder of Treatspace.

The CMU Project Olympus company is addressing the problem through a platform that focuses on the growing tide of healthcare misinformation that lives on the Internet. 
A study by the PewResearchCenter shows that 80% of all users online are searching for healthcare information, explains Cancelliere. Of this, 42% of those users are looking for doctors, healthcare resources or choosing a doctor for care.
"There is a whole data set of traffic out there that needs to be corrected," he says. "Our goal is to make sure that a doctor's image is reflected accurately."
Treatspace began as a project of Pittsburgh-based Nerve Medical, another Cancelliere company. The startup was subsequently inducted into Project Olympus at CMU, which was instrumental in helping to refine and validate its business model. A prototype was launched at Startup Weekend, a competition sponsored by Google and Microsoft in March of 2012. Treatspace took first place.
The company has 15 team members today, mostly faculty and students from CMU. Treatspace has also applied to participate in Innovation Works' Alpha Lab program.
A big part of the problem is the online "raters," a nice word for the companies that create websites with every doctors' name in the country, says Cancelliere. Rating websites rate physicians using subjective information and take in ad revenue from Google and other services.
It's a revenue model that relies on quantity not quality and it's hurting physicians by unfairly controlling their online reputation, says Cancelliere.
Each medical specialty fundamentally has different set of needs and perspectives.  For that reason, Treatspace's initial focus will be on the healthcare specialists in the Pittsburgh community. The focus will be on the quality of the information, not the quantity, says Matt Stadler, cofounder. 
Treatspace's mission is to give doctors control over their online information while giving patients a source of information they can trust, says Cancelliere.  
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Rick Cancelliere, Treatspace
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