As expected, the American Medical Association and six specialty societies last week announced they have formed a for-profit company to launch a healthcare Internet site directed at physicians and consumers.
The site, scheduled to debut in early 2000, would compete with the likes of WebMD, drkoop.com and others (See related story, p. 32).
MODERN HEALTHCARE disclosed the AMA's Internet plans in July, but at that time Randolph Smoak, M.D., chairman of the AMA's board, said the board had not formally discussed the matter (July 12, p. 4).
Edward Fotsch, M.D., a former executive at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Internet healthcare firm Healtheon Corp., has been named chief executive officer of the for-profit company. The company is called Medem, which the AMA said stands for "medical empowerment."
Partnering on the project are the American Academy of Ophthalmology; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the American Psychiatric Association; and the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.
The AMA said the site will accept advertising through a business unit that will operate separately from the editorial staff. The site will allow patients and physicians to communicate confidentially, the AMA said.