WebMD, a publicly traded company, (NASDAQ: WBMD) provides health information services to consumers, physicians, other healthcare professionals, employers and health plans through its public and private online portals, mobile platforms and health-focused publications. Like most successful corporations, WebMD has evolved through the years. Jim Clark and Pavan Nigam, founders of Healthscape and later Healtheon, acquired WebMD in 1999, forming the combined company, Healtheon/WebMD and later, shortened the name to WebMD.
WebMD has brought innovations to and shaped several branches of the healthcare industry by offering products and services that:
WebMD is primarily known for its public Internet site, www.WebMD.com, which has information regarding health and healthcare, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drug information, blogs and a place to store personal medical information. The broader WebMD Health Network also includes:
WebMD has influenced the way the general public searches for healthcare information and how hospitals and health systems provide health content to their patients. WebMD maintains a dedicated staff of professional journalists and board certified physicians to produce and review its content. URAC, the largest accrediting body for healthcare, has accredited WebMD’s operations in everything from proper disclosures and health content to secure and privacy continuously since 2001.
According to a May 2011 Pew Internet & American Life Study, approximately 78% of adult Americans use the Internet and fully 83% of those online, have searched for health information. Although most start their health search more generally, more than 100 million unique visitors access the WebMD Health Network each month.
Since its inception, WebMD has garnered hundreds of awards and honors, and in August 2011, WebMD was named the most trusted US brand for a second consecutive year, according to the latest data from TrustR, a global study of 50,000 brands.