ROUNDUP: Despite Fiscal Woes, Drkoop.com Gives CEO Loan of $1M
Despite its uncertain financial future, online health site Drkoop.com this month made a short term loan of almost $1 million to CEO C. Everett Koop for "personal liquidity needs." In April, the company allowed its president, Donald Hackett, to borrow $966,000. The company's stock has plummeted by more than 76% this year (New York Post, 5/3).
Internet HealthCare Group, a business-to-business e-commerce firm, announced its heavy investment in seven key business-to-business Internet health care sites. The move is the first step in IHCG's plan to form a "collaborative web-centric network to build a comprehensive and profitable ehealth care system." IHCG's new online partners' areas of expertise range from creating communities and interest groups via bulletin boards and chatrooms to wireless paper-to- database entry (IHCG release, 5/2).
Offices of the Future?
Helios Health Inc., which specializes in online health information, and athenahealth.com, which focuses on application services, such as appointment scheduling, registration and claims processing, are joining forces to "help create the physician's office of the future." Under the new agreement, Helios will offer athenahealth.com's customers access to free physician practice Web sites -- allowing them to perform application services via the Internet. The two sites hope the venture will "enable patients to play an active role in their health care while streamlining and automating business functions for medical group office staff" (Helios release, 5/2).
BioSignia is piloting a new product on its Web site that predicts health risks, such as diabetes, four types of cancers and coronary heart disease. Users enter information, including weight, heart rate, cholesterol counts and whether they are smokers and the program generates a profile of the person's "relative risk compared with other Americans and the risk of getting the disease in the next five years." It is being pitched to doctors, employers and HMOS as a method to determine health costs for certain diseases (Michael, Raleigh/Durham Business Journal, 5/1).
In-State Docs Only
Floridians may find it more difficult to consult with out-of-state doctors under a proposal already given preliminary approval by the state House. The bill would require all out-of-state doctors to obtain a "telehealth" license before diagnosing or treating people in Florida, unless the physician in working in consult with an in-state physician. The license would cover advice provided over the telephone, via the Internet or using any other telecommunications technology (Becker, St. Petersburg Times, 4/27).
Despite increased losses, online health and beauty retailer Drugstore.com reported better-than-anticipated fourth-quarter operating results. At the end of the first quarter, April 2, the company reported a pro forma loss of $38.9 billion. However, its sales jumped 23%, or $22.7 million, over the previous quarter. Noting Drugstore.com's growth despite market struggles, Anthony Vendetti of Gruntal & Co. noted that the company "is not only the leading online drugstore, [it's] the best capitalized company out there" (Soto, Seattle Times, 4/25).