ROUNDUP: J.D. Power Releases E-Health Survey
A new study compiled by J.D. Power and Associates and iVillageAllHealth.com reports that in 1998, approximately 18 million Americans searched for medical information online, a figure which is expected to grow dramatically as the number of American Internet users increases from 79 million in 1998 to 132.5 million this year. The study notes that the prevalence of the Internet is changing drastically the behavior of consumers. Intel Corp. Chair Andy Grove explained, "Health care is surrounded by online users. As online consumers of other goods, [users] are imposing their style of doing business on healthcare providers." The study, which surveyed 3,269 respondents between Oct. 3 and Oct. 24, 1998, found the following data concerning online health consumers:
- 84% of respondents are female, supporting previous studies that suggest that women typically make a greater percentage of family healthcare decisions (about 67% females to 33% males);
- 45% of online health information seekers are baby boomers, with the median age at 37 years;
- The median income of respondents is $44,285;
- More than 80% of respondents identified themselves as having some college experience or higher.
Medtronic Cuts Deal With Healtheon/WebMD
Delving farther into e-business, Medtronic announced Tuesday a "first-of-its-kind, four-year, $100 million" deal with Healtheon/WebMD to provide Internet information and advertising. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Medtronic will spend $50 million to reach doctors and consumers through Healtheon's Web sites, including WebMD, and will invest another $50 million in WebMD Europe. Medtronic will serve as WebMD's exclusive medical technology online and offline advertising partner (Fiedler, 1/26).
Drugstore.com Heads to Amazon
Drugstore.com, an online pharmacy, has agreed to pay $105 million over three years for the rights to a permanent "shopping tab" on the Amazon.com home page. The tie to Amazon, which has 16 million customers, could help Drugstore.com reach a significantly larger customer base, the Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon reported plans to make an additional $30 million investment in Drugstore.com, bringing its stake in the company to about 28%. The companies expect to introduce the shopping tab and integrated "one-click shopping" feature by June (Tran, 1/25).
Big Hits for GraciasDoctor.com
GraciasDoctor.com, a health information Web site targeting the Latino population, received 84,970 page views during its first week of operation. The site aims to bring together doctors, institutions and consumers whose first language is Spanish or Portuguese. In response to the statistics, Emilio Williams, GraciasDoctor.com CEO, said, "These start-up numbers confirm our vision that the best way to fight the Digital Divide is to give Latinos compelling reasons to be online." GraciasDoctor.com, launched Jan. 11, also reported that Johns Hopkins International would be the first health care organization to advertise on the site (GraciasDoctor.com release, 1/24).