HARVARD: Teams Up with Aetna for InteliHealth
Harvard Medical School is slated to become the "flagship medical content partner" of Aetna U.S. Healthcare's online health information service Intelihealth, the two companies confirmed in a July 27 announcement. Harvard will focus on providing information to poor, underserved patient populations. Dr. Anthony Komaroff, professor of medicine at Harvard and an editor for Harvard's print and electronic consumer publications, stated: "I believe that the digital divide will disappear as Internet technology becomes both less expensive and easier to use; that will allow us to reach vast populations that currently have no access to information about health." Another element of the contractual agreement stipulates that all Harvard-authored content will be separated from advertising on InteliHealth site, with the intent to "raise standards for the web." According to Aetna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arthur Leibowitz, "As more and more consumers turn to the Internet for health information, it is of utmost importance that Web-surfers be able to trust the information they are accessing" (Aetna U.S. Healthcare release, 7/27). In addition, the Harvard logo will not appear on any page also depicting pharmaceutical or health service advertisements. To make the site more user-friendly, Harvard will design a feature to improve responses to consumer questions. Komaroff said that "most people come to consumer health sites with an explicit question they would like an answer to, not to browse." Aetna will pay 70 faculty members to write and edit the site's content and also will provide the university with an undisclosed sum to support InteliHealth's mission. Receiving more than one million visitors each month, InteliHealth's health information was formerly supplied by Johns Hopkins University (Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, 7/28).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.