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Medem Mania
Jeff Pasternack

Medem. They're all the rage these days, what with MSDC and MedChi joining other medical societies and associations in allying with Medem. Truth be told, they offer a range of services that many web-friendly physicians find attractive: free medical and health-related content published right to your web site which they design and host for free. "Free" is currently defined as no cost to the physician, the patient or the association. Do they ever plan to collect money from the physician or the society? In conversations with Medem representatives and executives from medical societies around the country, as well as on the Medem web site, the answer is no.

One might be tempted to ask how Medem will support itself. The stock answer is similar to that of any web-based service: revenue will be generated from sponsorship (fancy term for a banner or badge advertisement), eCommerce and content licensing for portals. I don't have much to say about these three ideas for how Medem may support itself except this: some companies have done extremely well offering free services to end users and generating revenue from these three activities. The companies who don't do so well end up on when they run out of capital. Where Medem will end up is partially determined by you, the physician.

If you've been following my column for the past year, you know that I take a very hard and sarcastic line on companies that state that they are the "next generation", "leading edge" or "revolutionary." I really despise marketing fluff. From my perspective, it is the lack of marketing puffery that makes Medem seem credible. At the core of my being, I actually believe that Medem is founded with all the right ideas, right intentions and right ethical drivers.

They've assembled a top-notch editorial staff and have the buy-in of medical societies. They offer something that has value to multiple parties: doctors don't have to write their own health/medical content and patients can have trust in the validity and reliability of the information that's published on Medem-backed web sites.

I am unconvinced that physicians will spend the time to build a decent site on Medem; I'm even less convinced that the medical office manager would do it. In conversations with different state society representatives, the adoption rates have been lower than anticipated. Some specialty societies, however, have surprisingly high rates of use. I think with a touch more effort on behalf of the societies, physicians will flock to build Medem-backed sites.

Medem has a good chance of succeeding if physicians use it and inform their patients of the site's existence. If nothing else develops in Medem's service offering, it's a great service. Physicians and medical societies everywhere should move aggressively towards Medem and take advantage of the service that they offer.

Jeff Pasternack is the president of Dynamic Consulting Group, a franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of the TechnoPeasant Review.
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