Friday, July 24, 2015

First Look at New AncestryHealth Feature announced AncestryHealth last week - see the press release at  The announcement said:

"AncestryHealth's first offering is a free service, currently in beta, that gives consumers the ability to compile their family health history information with the help of their Ancestry family tree.

"Family health history is unique to every person. According to the Surgeon General's office, family health history is one of the most effective screening tools in health today. Because certain health conditions like breast cancer, heart disease and cystic fibrosis can run in families and be traced, knowing important information about one's family's health history can help individuals and their physicians be more aware of potential health problems and take the necessary steps to reduce and prevent risks."

I wanted to see what it was about, so I went to and saw the home page:

The home page provides an overview of the website and service.  To get started, I needed to sign in with my credentials.  I had to agree that I had read the "Informed Consent" and "Terms and Conditions" of the website.  I didn't sign up for the Research Project, I only had to read them.

After checking the green "Continue" button, I was then prompted to select one of my Ancestry Member Trees.  I selected one of them with only my ancestral families.

The system wanted to know more about myself and my health knowledge about my family.  Here is the screen with my family tree and the information the system wanted to know about my health:

I filled that out, and then was presented with a list of the major health conditions.  I had to select the ones that I knew that my family had during their lives.  Note that this includes living persons as well as deceased persons.

After selecting the different major conditions on the chart above, I was back to the family tree and had to select the persons in the tree who had the described condition:

When I clicked on a person's profile for the specified major condition, the triangle in the upper right corner of the profile was colored in to match the major condition color on the earlier chart.  I progressed through the list by clicking the green "Next" button in the upper right corner of the screen.

After identifying all of the persons who had the specified major condition, I then was able to go through each person and identify the specific illness or problem for each major condition.  For instance, for the "Cancer" condition, I could choose Prostate" or "Breast," etc.  I also could identify the age range (e.g., 65 to 74) for the onset of the disease.   I could go back and add a Condition or select more diseases from dropdown lists for the persons.

After I was finished with that, the final step is to see "Your Family Summary:"

The Family Summary lists the major conditions, and how many persons were identified with the sub-category diseases.

Lastly, a "Your Family Health Tree" was shown that had a color code for the major conditions, and then each generation of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, self, siblings and children was presented with the color codes:

I found that I did not have much knowledge about the health conditions of my aunts, uncles and cousins.  I will have to peruse the obituaries to see if I can glean information from them.

This website was well organized, colorful and a bit simplistic.  That's OK.  If it helps researchers find out more about their health histories, I think that's all to the good.

On the other hand, I'm concerned that participating in the Research Project may have some privacy issues.  I will be interested in how the legal experts evaluate the Terms and conditions and the Informed Consent information.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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