ROUNDUP: Merck Manual Online, ProMedex Merger Announced
The Merck Manual of Medical Information-Home Edition is now available online at www.merckhomeedition.com. The online publication is free, contains no ads and has a search engine. The paper version of the Home Edition first appeared in 1997 as a "layman's answer to the pharmaceutical giant's 100-year-old physician's reference manual." Editor-in-chief Robert Berkow noted that Merck's books have always been published as a not-for-profit venture and "scrupulously avoid trying to influence the sales of drugs." He added, "If there were a hint of promoting drug sales, we'd lose our integrity" (Wichita Eagle, 3/21).
Online health care company ProMedex will merge with an Illinois business in a "bid to accelerate its growth" in the ehealth market. ProMedex, which has roughly 100 employees, will become a subsidiary of InLight in an all-stock deal, placing the worth of ProMedex at approximately $112 million. Pieter Muntendam, president and founder of ProMedex, said, "By putting these things together, [we] create an ongoing contact with the patient" (Wolf, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/21).
HealthGrades.com, which publishes online information on quality of health care providers nationwide, closed an $18 million deal in private financing to boost its market value last week. HealthGrades will use the money to "make itself better known," Kerry Hicks, president and CEO, said. It will advertise in health care publications, consumer magazines, on the Internet and possibly on television. Hicks noted that the company will concentrate on reaching women because "women represent about 70% of all health care decisions." HealthGrades publishes ratings on health care services, such as surgical procedure survival rates, and data on physicians, managed care plans, nursing homes, fertility clinics, chiropractors, assisted-living facilities, mammography clinics and naturopathic physicians (Hubler, Denver Post, 3/21).
High Tech HMOs
In response to a recently released RAND study on the adoption of medical technology by health insurers and managed care plans, the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA) Tuesday announced an initiative that includes educational programs with its membership. HIMA President Pamela Bailey said, "We want to do everything we can to encourage sound and timely adoption of new technology and to encourage innovation." She added, "As managed care now provides health care for nearly 75% of Americans, the processes these companies employ to provide patients with cost-effective, lifesaving technologies is critically important to providing quality, state-of-the-art care" (HIMA release, 3/21).