This website collates thousands of articles describing rare diseases and then joins them together on a searchable database.
Who’s behind it?
The site has been developed by a Danish team of computer science geeks who have an interest in helping doctors out of sticky situations
How does it work?
FindZebra indexes other online rare disease resources including Orphanet, Rare Diseases, OMIM, and the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. This means that over 31, 000 articles on rare diseases are collated in FindZebra’s database. A complex search algorithm is applied to enhance the speed and accuracy of search.
In tests, when symptoms were entered into FindZebra, it named the rare disease correctly 67 per cent of the time, compared to 32 per cent using Google, according to researchers. The LITFL team are looking forward to putting it to the test…
How can I use it?
You simply type your patient’s symptoms into the search box and press ‘search’.
For example, if I type in ‘rash seizures nystagmus small ears’ it returns a ranked results list with suggestions including leukoencephalopathy, SLE (it actually IS like House), Brooks-Wisniewski-Brown syndrome, pontocerebellar hypoplasia…the list of random syndromes goes on and on. If you click on one of the results you will get to read the abstract about that condition
Is it easy to get the hang of?
- The website is laid out in a very clear and simple way. You would be hard-pushed to get lost or stuck.
- It’s also been made responsive which means that you can access it from your mobile or tablet and it will look just as lovely.
What’s the verdict?
- A great site highlighting some of the wonderfulness that can be achieved by getting enthusiastic techies interested in improving healthcare.
- It’s fair to say that in ED you won’t use it every day, but when you are trying to think outside the box it’s nice to know that FindZebra is there