What is it? WebMD is basically a public health information services provider. It is an online platform that readily makes available, health information, expertise, advice, as well as healthcare collaboration. WebMD has been around for almost 20 years. According to the WebMD website’s information on its history, this online platform was initially called Healthscape and then Healtheon before it was acquired by WebMD Health.(WebMD.com). In 2001, WebMD was accredited by the Utilization review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for its website operations just like any other healthcare organization2. Which means WebMD’s operations were in conformance to all the healthcare policies as well as other issues in healthcare information/data such as disclosures and security. HIT services provided: WebMD provides consumers online access to medical/health information. It provides better communication of health situations, conditions, care and more. WebMD also serves as a repository for health descriptors, drug information, and special interest blogs etc., etc. WebMD also provides a space for personal storage for medical records/health records. Current Status: WebMD is still functional. It still operates under the slogan “Better information. Better Health”. This site is the leading provider of health information services with its most popular service utility for WebMD if the fact/information finding feature. WebMD serves consumers, clinicians, physicians, employers, health plans companies, and others. The fact that you can just find information about almost every healthcare condition, service and care is very impressive. It currently provides services to healthcare organizations, physicians and other private clients. More recently, WebMD launched a bimonthly print version which captures healthcare information targeted to patients. This print version is very common in physician waiting rooms. WebMD has also customized its services to its consumers by creating responsive apps for health lifestyles as well as engaging users on their sites. Analysis of WebMD system design: WebMD’s architecture is solid but flexible. For an online platform with average monthly unique page visits estimated to be ~ 156 million3,
there must be a solid design to sustain traffic on the site. WebMD just like any other huge online platform, is sponsored by revenue from advertising. There is a balance between services provided and the goals for this online platforms. In terms of business goals, WebMD have a clear understanding of what their services are and what they will want their consumers to get from using their services. They have a fairly great understanding of their types of users and have catered their services to meet their needs. Michael shares WebMD’s original business model in his book “The New New Thing” (Original Business Model Diagram from page 168). Conclusions: WebMD is an example of a successful design in HIT systems. WebMD’s system design seeks to integrate user customization/ experience, with easy health information inquiry, communication and collaboration. With a flexible overall architecture, user who are interested in healthy lifestyles can have a space to structure out plans as well as integrate existing healthy lifestyle programs to your profile. Usage and information synchronization: WebMD just like any other IT system has both frontend design and backend design. With millions of data/information being added, updated, shared, accessed and stored on a regular basis, WebMD used a sophisticated algorithm to track all these interactions and functionalities. According to information on their design structure, WebMD works to be a solution that ensures that users are presented with information in their barest minimum of complexity and provides an engaging interface for users to interact with platform.