Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Live from MDRx: How to Transform Physician Interactions with Medical Information

Peter Frishauf, Chairman, Crossix
Founder, Medscape

Stephen E. Smith, Chief Strategist, SO-NET m3 USA CORP.,
Co-Founder, Medscape

George D. Lundberg, MD, Former Editor in Chief,

At IIR's Physician Relationship Management event today in Philadelphia, the founders of Medscape, George Lundberg, MD, Peter Frishauf, and Stephen Smith are discussing "How to Transform Physician Interactions with Medical Information."

Three Drivers for the Medscape's Founding Fathers

1. We came from a corporate culture that allowed for creativity and primed us to question everything.

2. Technology was in place about three years too early for industry, but not three years too early for our audience.

3. Physicians were getting killed by information overload and they were burning out.

In discussing Medscape's history and growth, Dr. George Lundberg shared with the audience that word about Medscape spread virally with very little marketing on their part. It was at the time when the rate of individual internet adoption was increasing very quickly. It was pre-pharma web marketing. They also had some key relationships including one with the founder of Yahoo, Jerry Yang, who introduced his followers to Medscape.

In addition, Medscape made a controversial decision to make access free . Coming from a controlled journal background, Dr. Lundberg wanted to provide broader access with the caveat that the content was behind registration so Medscape would know know what each member was interested in and their specialty and customized the site accordingly. They learned from friends who started Wired Magazine and created an email newsletter "Med Pulse" which was and is a big driver of traffic to the website. At the time, Medscape had the advantage that there weren't a lot of web resources, so they took advantage of that.

Peter stated that as an observer of social orders, another form of anarchy is the four way stop sign...whoever gets to the intersection first, goes first. But there has to be rules. If someone runs a stop sign they get a ticket. And Peter believes that when it comes to trust, the online communities are creating reputation systems "trust marks" so there is more credibility, but traditional peer review still an important way to establish credentials.

To conclude the presentation, the presenters looked at three factors that lead to the success of Medscape:

1. We believed that content was king, because it empowers people. Knowledge is the only thing left that they value. It wasn't that it was new, it wasn't the technology, technology was just the tool to deliver the content.

2. Right balance of broad and deep content to attract a large number of physicians, but deep enough that they were relvant and searchable. Strategic content partners made this possible.

3. With everything we did, we asked, Is this going to be of value to the physician...and we had the culture that allowed us to do that.

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