PPI: Doctors’ Magazine Publisher to Launch Expanded Web Site
Physicians Practice Inc., the Maryland-based company that publishes Physician's Practice Digest, is preparing for a bold new trek into "the hotly competitive online health arena," the Baltimore Sun reports. The 10-year-old magazine advises doctors on the business aspects of their practices. Over three years, PPI's circulation has increased from about 55,000 to nearly 200,000, and revenue has jumped from $1.9 million to $2.6 million. Now, according to PPI officials, the company is ready to take on cyberspace. PPI founder Scott Weber said, "We get teased a lot that we're not moving on Internet time, we're moving on health care time." The company's current Web site only offers links to magazine articles and its sponsors. With an expected fall launch, the company's revamped site will feature live chats on medical management and offer online ordering of medical supplies. To help ease the transition, PPI has formed a partnership with Esurg.com, an online provider of supplies for doctors.
A Tough Road Ahead?
While Weber claims PPI can compete in the battle between online health Web sites, citing a customer base of 200,000 physicians and 25 medical centers, some analysts argue that "niche players" will have difficulty competing with larger sites, such as Georgia-based Healtheon/WebMD. "What's probably going to happen is that for the little guys to survive, they're going to have to partner with bigger guys," Michael Heffernan, vice president of M.R. Beal & Co., said (Salganik, 6/25).