(Michael McCloskey)

HealthTap, an app allowing users to ask questions of a community of more than 15,000 medical doctors, is beefing up its mobile and Web application. It is integrating the wealth of published medical data in the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database with its existing services.

The doctors cannot offer diagnoses to patients on HealthTap, but they can answer questions as more people turn to the Web for medical information.

The company announced Monday that it is integrating research from peer-reviewed medical journals into its network of doctors, allowing them an opportunity to respond to users’ questions and to translate medical research from doctor-speak to plain English.

The explanations doctors provide are — like their advice — rated by their peers. The better the community deems their colleague’s contribution to be, the higher their rating. In that way, the app serves as both informative for users who need advice on health issues and, potentially, great public relations for doctors in search of new patients.

The new feature, called “MedPubs,” now offers the entire PubMed database and the peer-reviewed research submission and rating feature. The research database is indexed, with relevant research filed under a “known-for” list available via a doctor’s profile page.

HealthTap also offers a paid ($9.99) private messaging service, where users can speak with a doctor one-on-one. The service, according to chief executive Ron Gutman, is the first HIPAA-secure platform for mobile and desktop Web to be provided by a company.

“We’re extremely excited about the release of HealthTap Medical Publications, because it does something meaningful and important – it truly democratizes the highest quality medical knowledge,” Gutman said Saturday.

Gutman added later that “hundreds of new doctors” have joined the app as well as a “huge number of new signups from users.”

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