Reed Elsevier Purchases MD Consult
For the second time in less than a year, MD Consult, a Web-based subscription service that provides physicians and other health care professionals with clinical information, news and journal articles, is being sold, the St. Louis Post- Dispatch reports. Reed Elsevier, a London-based "publishing giant," is acquiring Harcourt General Inc., which owns MD Consult and "sister" firm Mosby Inc., for $5.6 billion. The Post-Dispatch reports that MD Consult is "thriving," with 180,000 paid subscribers. The company provides a service that is the "antithesis" of other Web services aimed at the health care community because it accepts no advertising, is not marketed to consumers and charges about $200 a year for an individual subscription. While competing sites, such as WebMD Practice and Medscape Inc., have expanded their services to include "online forums, email, digital health records and career centers," MD Consult has concentrated on providing clinical information to assist physicians "in their core work." Bill Haines, MD Consult's director of marketing and development, said other functions, such as billing and insurance verification, are "largely performed by office staff." He added, "That's not what doctors do. They went to medical school to practice medicine." The company currently only targets physicians who are "comfortable" using technology in their practices. Jerry Freeland, MD Consult's president, said, "If they don't use a computer, aren't on the Internet, we aren't interested in them at the moment. We don't have the resources" (English, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/17).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.