E-HEALTH: WebMD Serves Physicians and Consumers, Health Care Editor Says
In a column in today's Los Angeles Times, Marla Bolotsky, Managing Editor and Director of Online Information for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, argues that WebMD "hits the mark with a recently revamped site." The site's parent company, Healtheon/WebMD, the author writes, "has become one of the first to build online bridges connecting doctors and consumers with the rest of the health-care industry." According to the site's managers, roughly 15% of doctors in the United States currently are registered to use WebMD.com. Bolotsky notes that physicians use it to verify a patient's health plan or to obtain referrals, "all of which can be done for far more quickly than through more traditional avenues such as by mail or telephone." Moreover, federal law requires that everyone who maintains or transmits medical information use the same format by early 2002, therefore WebMD, Bolotsky argues, is "encouraging consumers, doctors and insurance companies to post data and conduct business on site." The author concludes, "[If WebMD] can help get our nation's health care insurance companies, doctors, and consumers all singing off the same sheet of music, the site will remain at the top of my list for a long time" (1/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.