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By DON LONG
Healthcare InfoTech Managing Editor
While waiting to partner in the big Internet dance, Healtheon (Santa Clara, CA) and WebMD (Atlanta) are continuing to entice others into their growing ballroom of healthcare products and cross promotions.
Healtheon said Thursday it has contracted to provide healthcare information to Yahoo! (Santa Clara, CA), calling the deal a "premier content and online marketing agreement designed to give consumers research capabilities and access to some of the most respected healthcare information on the Internet."
For its part, WebMD earlier this week said it had form ed an agreement with the Reader’s Digest Association (Pleasantville, NY) to help that company develop a health site and exchange health-related content. The deal also includes the promotion of both parties’ sites and health-related products across the Reader’s Digest family of magazines, WebMD’s site and the co-branded online and on-air properties of WebMD partners.
As part of the deal, Reader’s Digest said it has made a $13 million strategic investment in WebMD.
In the Healtheon/Yahoo! pact, Healtheon will have an "integrated presence" on Yahoo! Health (www.health.yahoo.com), Healtheon said, as well as targeted advertising and promotional activities throughout the Yahoo! network of web properties as part of Yahoo!’s Fusion Marketing Online program.
Healtheon is a sponsor of the health channel on Yahoo! Chat (www.chat.yahoo.com) and appears on health- related areas of Yahoo! News (www.dailynews.yahoo.com), where Yahoo! users have access to Healtheon’s Medical Library, a search tool providing quick and easy access to reliable sources of consumer health, pharmaceutical, nutrition and fitness information.
Healtheon also sponsors the Yahoo! Health daily consumer poll, on topics ranging from recent immunization records to current healthcare issues.
Besides providing health information and services, Healtheon will sponsor four promotion sweepstakes on Yahoo!’s front page, offering major money and vacation prizes.
Matthew Moore, general manager of consumer services for Healtheon, said his company's medical expertise combined with Yahoo!’s global reach and recognition among consumers "pushes the standard for healthcare information on the Internet to a new level. Together we will provide engaging healthcare resources and tools that help consumers manage their personal healthcare information online just as many are doing with their personal finances."
Reader’s Digest’s alliance with WebMD gives the popular magazine a health presence on the Internet, while WebMD will receive a higher profile with the general public. Reader’s Digest has the largest paid subscribership of any publication in the world.
Under the agreement, WebMD is scheduled to launch a Reader’s Digest health site by fall. Site content will be taken from the Reader’s Digest magazine and the company’s health-related books. Reader’s Digest health-related content, in turn, will be featured on WebMD’s consumer site, www.webmd.com. The two companies will cross-promote the sites and WebMD will purchase advertising in the magazine. Each issue of the U.S. edition of Reader’s Digest will contain WebMD "advertorial" pages, including an Ask WebMD column and a calendar of online events that will occur on both the WebMD and Reader’s Digest sites.