WebMD Transitions Online Health Information to ‘Digital Gateway’ for Patients


WebMD is in the process of moving from an informational website to a health information platform that helps consumers find and schedule appointments with doctors.

The company is partnering with symplr, a vendor data management research platform used by some of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, to use search engine optimization and healthcare content to drive consumers to a healthcare system’s “digital gateway” for sourcing and scheduling appointments, the companies said in a press release.

According to the companies, this is the first solution that allows consumers to go from a WebMD search for health information to scheduling an appointment with a participating provider in a single, integrated workflow. to the EHR in three clicks.

“This partnership represents a revolutionary patient acquisition strategy. The integration of leading content from WebMD, which is driving new patient demand, along with symplr directory vendor research and planning, addresses patient satisfaction needs in a compelling new offering, ”said BJ Schaknowski, CEO of symplr, in a statement.

“Provider organizations will achieve increased patient flow and higher utilization through this new end-to-end digital workflow,” he said.

RELATED: WebMD Purchases Patient Education Video Maker The Wellness Network

Over 75 million consumers access WebMD each month for health information and to find healthcare professionals who meet their needs.

The symplr directory (formerly Phynd) is a vendor data management research platform used by some of the largest healthcare systems in the country. The extension of symplr provider resources and services and provider data organized at WebMD, including subspecialty, clinical and patient-friendly search terms, health plan participation and direct planning in the EHR , makes it easier for consumers to find health care providers and make appointments with a network provider, the companies said.

With the new offering, consumers will be able to find and schedule appointments with a provider in a single workflow instead of having to check provider availability and health plan participation over the phone.

Consumers can search WebMD or Google for terms and conditions and obtain a list of qualified physicians in their area from the WebMD Provider Directory. With the integration of symplr, consumers can see open appointment slots and are guided through symplr to the supplier organization’s EHR and into the direct scheduling workflow. They then receive an appointment confirmation and other information, including the clinician’s address and patient instructions.

Healthcare systems previously did not have the ability to offer health content with appointment scheduling integrated with the real-time EHR, which the WebMD-symplr integration will now support, the companies said.

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“Surveys show that more than three-quarters of consumers use the internet for health care-related research and a majority choose a provider based on a strong online presence,” said Ann Bilyew, senior vice president of WebMD, General Manager of Health and Group, Supplier Services. , in a report.

“We see the WebMD-symplr partnership as a game changer, extending advanced vendor research and planning to the consumer WebMD experience,” said Bilyew.

Healthcare tech companies have focused on creating digital gateways to healthcare, such as digital patient reception from companies like Dexcare, Phreesia, and Doctor.com to plan access through symplr, ZocDoc and DocASAP and digital diagnosis and triage from Gyant and K Santé.

WebMD Health Corp maintains a collection of health information products for consumers and healthcare professionals. These include the eponymous WebMD as well as Medscape, MedicineNet, and eMedicineHealth, among others.

The health information company has taken steps to strengthen its presence among supplier customers. It recently acquired The Wellness Network, a maker of patient education videos for use in hospitals and healthcare systems.

This acquisition is one of several announced by WebMD Health Corp. this spring. These included ADDitude, a multi-channel content platform specializing in the support or treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; MGP, a UK-based editor targeting healthcare specialists; and PulsePoint, a technology company that uses data to time the delivery of health content or marketing at specific times during care.

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