Alternative Media: Masters of Their Domain - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Alternative Media: Masters of Their Domain
Now the medical community has its own home on the Web.


Pharmaceutical Executive


Moving forward, MaxMD plans to offer information services, aggregating Internet resources, but also providing news, white papers, forums, and research findings on medical, legal, and practice-management topics. The company has created an independent medical advancement council to direct this effort. (A description of the board, plus a small sample of original content, can be found at http://www.medcouncil.md/.)

"We are helping to ensure that physicians are up-to-date with their educational training," says Michael Lemon, president of the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and member of the .md online medical advancement council. The council represents an impartial group of industry experts. "Their goal is to figure out ways to safely and effectively leverage the power of the Internet for the medical community," Murray says.

Physician-Patient Dialogue

Moving forward, MaxMD plans to introduce a Web-based medical desktop that will allow the medical community access to all of these resources. Many physicians already have shown great interest in the desktop. Eighty-one percent of physicians said the medical desktop would be useful to their practice, according to survey data conducted by MaxMD in 2005.

The medical desktop will maximize educational opportunities for patients too. "Consumers have real significant trust issues with the industry. They often don't feel they have the resources to get the truth," Lemon says. In many cases, physicians don't have time to educate patients. A healthcare domain has the potential to change the way physicians communicate with patients. "Physicians can choose which patient education information is most relevant to their practice and then drag and drop the information onto their personal Web site," says Murray. Through their Web sites and .md e-mail accounts, physicians can stimulate a dialogue with patients.

Murray sees a role for pharma in .md, especially in the area of creating educational content targeted at physicians via the desktop service. "It's like a Bloomberg for doctors," Murray says.

Embracing Online Technology

Physicians are heavy users of the Internet, but in data collected in 2002 by the American Medical Association, only three out of ten physicians using the Internet had their own Web site. "They are concerned about how to use the Internet to effectively communicate in a secure fashion, while keeping compliant with HIPAA regulations," says Murray.

Further, the volume of information on the Internet makes it difficult for the medical community to quickly and reliably access relevant information. MaxMD's bet is that a free-standing domain dedicated to the medical community will have a power that portal-based models haven't displayed yet, and that it will both encourage physicans to change the way they practice and provide them with the tools to do it. "As technology evolves, physicians will choose to present themselves differently," says Lemon. "The Web is one way to do that."


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