E-HEALTH: HealthSouth, Healtheon/WebMD Announce Deal
In what is believed to be the first agreement between a "national health care provider and an Internet health care information company," HealthSouth Corp. and the soon-to-be-merged Healtheon/WebMD Inc. Tuesday announced a marketing partnership and a new sports medicine channel. HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy said, "We've been thinking for some time about how to best establish our presence on the Internet. By teaming with Healtheon/WebMD, this puts us out there and I think the opportunities are endless" (Tomberlin, Birmingham News, 9/14). Each company will spend $25 million over five years to "aggressively create awareness" of the companies. HealthSouth-affiliated doctors will refer patients to Healtheon/WebMD for medical information, while consumer who visit the Web site will find locations of HealthSouth clinics. In addition, the companies "equally will share revenue generated by the sports-medicine Web site ... a co-branded sports medicine channel on WebMD's Web site" (Carrns, Wall Street Journal, 9/14).
In Other News ...
Perusing the considerable e-health news of the week:
- CVS.com, the online arm of CVS Corp., has inked a deal with MediaLogic Inc. to connect patients to their doctors and pharmacies. Earlier this week, Florida-based ProxyMed Inc. announced it will add CVS' Internet unit to its prescription network (Bloomberg/Providence Journal, 9/15). The Business Journal of Portland reports the deal with MediaLogic is part of an effort by CVS to become a player on the West coast (Brenneman, 9/13 issue).
- Drkoop.com continues its dominance of the consumer-health market, as it was ranked the No. 1 health site on the Web in August, tallying almost 2 million more unique hits than any other health site. It was followed by AOLhealth.aol, onhealth.com, webmd.com and discoveryhealth.com (drkoop.com release, 9/15).
- America Online Inc. and CareInsite Inc. announced a partnership to create co-branded sites that will enable AOL members to communicate with their own health care providers, insurers, pharmacies and labs (dual release, 9/15).
- ExpressScripts' agreement to sell its online pharmacy, YourPharmacy.com, to PlanetRx.com could net ExpressScripts $700 million over five years -- a 7,000% return on its investment. The deal "gives ExpressScripts a 19.9% stake in soon-to-go-public PlanetRx, as well as $11 million in cash each year for the next five years, and payments averaging $14.50 each time an ExpressScripts member buys something online for the first time" in a year (Holyoke, St. Louis Business Journal, 9/13 issue).
- Microsoft Corp. "smells money in the health care field," as evidenced by the trotting out of none other than Chair Bill Gates to address the fifth annual Windows on Healthcare conference in San Diego Wednesday. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Microsoft would like to replace the outdated UNIX mainframe computers in use at two-thirds of American hospitals with "Windows operating systems, then integrate them with the Web into what Gates refers to as the 'digital nervous system.'" Forrester Research analyst Eric Brown said, "There's not enough hours in the day to talk about all the things that are wrong with the health care system and how the Internet can help. Microsoft sees an opportunity that would be a huge win. It could ripple down to backend (computer network) solutions for Microsoft products to be implemented pretty broadly" (Drummond, 9/14).
- CancerFacts.com, a portal sight for cancer patients, closed a $6 million venture capital deal last week with Cardinal Health Partners and Arch Venture Partners. The site, to launch next month, will guide "patients through the maze of medical information." Patients will be able to put their medical information in a database and receive reports on their condition based on studies in medical journals (Cook, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/10).