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A booster shot for Health.com?

Stacey Vanek Smith May 19, 2008
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A stethoscope sitting on a laptop istockphoto

A booster shot for Health.com?

Stacey Vanek Smith May 19, 2008
A stethoscope sitting on a laptop istockphoto
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TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Staying on online transactions, Time Incorporated is relaunching Health.com today. The move aims at transforming the site from an online magazine into an extensive medical database. It also ups the competitive ante, as Stacey Vanek-Smith reports.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: On sites like WebMD, AOL Body and Everyday Health, you can describe your symptoms and read a terrifying roster of things your headache might mean.

But the information offerings are about to explode, says James Unland, editor of The Journal of Health Care Finance.

James Unland: Consumers will be able to compare hospitals by medical mistakes and infection rates. They’ll be able to compare doctors. We are in the beginnings of a major consumer gateway here that is going to be like the equivalent of a hundred libraries of Congress.

Health.com has a lot of catching up to do. Industry leader WebMD gets around 20 million visitors a month. And those are some very valuable eyeballs, says Advertising Executive Adam Hanft.

Adam Hanft: When you’re on WebMD and you’re searching in Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes, I mean you target that person with a message from a drug company, you’ve got the perfect combination of need and product.

And many of those customers are well-heeled baby boomers. Hanft says drug companies are one sure-fire client, but so are travel companies and retailers.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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