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WebMD Health Corp.
Founded 1996 (1996)
Headquarters New York City, USA
Key people
David J. Schlanger
Steven L. Zatz, M.D.
Products Health information services
Number of employees
1,400 (2009)
Slogan Better Information. Better Health.
Website www.webmd.com

WebMD is an American corporation that provides health news, advice, and expertise. It was founded in 1996 by Jim Clark and Pavan Nigam as Healthscape, later Healtheon, and then it acquired WebMD in 1999 from Robert Draughon to form Healtheon/WebMD. Later, the name was shortened to WebMD.


WebMD is primarily known for its public website, which has information regarding health and health care, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drugs information, blogs of physicians with specific topics, and providing a place to store personal medical information.[2][not in citation given]

In the first quarter of 2007, WebMD had the highest number of unique page visits compared to other leading private and government healthcare websites.[3] By February 2011, WebMD’s network of sites was reaching an average of 86.4 million visitors per month[4] and it is the leading health portal in the United States.[3]

As of February 2014, WebMD has recorded an average of 156 million unique visitors per month and 3.17 billion page views per quarter.[5]


URAC, the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, has accredited WebMD’s operations continuously since 2001 regarding everything from proper disclosures and health content to security and privacy.[6]


In 2013, the Chicago Tribune reported that WebMD, "has struggled with a fall in advertising revenue with pharmaceutical companies slashing marketing budgets as several blockbuster drugs go off patent." In response, WebMD began investing in changes to its site the company hopes will entice users who use its site seeking specific information, to linger on the site reviewing other material.[7]

Business model[edit]

WebMD is financed by advertising, third-party contributions, and sponsors.[8]

WebMD also offers services to physicians and private clients. For example, they publish WebMD the Magazine, a patient-directed publication distributed bimonthly to 85 percent of physician waiting rooms.[9] Medscape is a professional portal for physicians with 30 medical specialty areas and more than 30 physician discussion boards. WebMD Health Services provides private health management programs and benefit decision-support portals to employers and health plans.

The WebMD Health Network operates WebMD Health and other health-related sites including: Medscape, MedicineNet, eMedicine, eMedicineHealth, RxList, theheart.org, Medscape Education, and other-owned WebMD sites. These sites provide similar services to those of WebMD; MedicineNet is an online media publishing company.[10] Medscape offers up-to-date information for physicians and other healthcare professionals.[11] RxList offers detailed information about pharmaceutical information on generic and name-brand drugs.[12] eMedicineHealth is a consumer site offering similar information to that of WebMD. It was first based on the site created for physicians and healthcare professionals called eMedicine.com.[13]


Allegations have been made in the New York Times that WebMD biases readers toward using unnecessary drugs sold by their pharmaceutical sponsors, specifically, in cases for which the drug has been determined to be unnecessary.[14]


External links[edit]