WebMD and Medscape's Division of Public Health Team Helping Agencies Educate, Communicate, and Evaluate

By: Steve Murphy, Director Public Health

When you ask a public health professional if they know of WebMD, they undoubtedly have and will often share a story about how they always look up information on the site about their or their family's condition. Many also know about WebMD’s healthcare professional-focused sister site, Medscape, though unless they are a licensed healthcare professional, they may not be fully aware of its free educational content and reach.

Both sites were established more than 25 years ago and have been committed to informing and educating clinicians and the public about current healthcare topics, preventions, treatments, and innovations. With a foundation rooted in clinical excellence and strengthened with a network of leading physicians and subject matter experts, WebMD/Medscape has become a trustworthy destination for clinicians and patients alike. WebMD leads all Internet health sites with more than 65 million patient and consumer visitors per month and Medscape membership continues to grow year over year, reaching over 1 million physicians and 2 million healthcare practitioners in the United States. Our faculty includes top names in practice and academia from renowned institutions such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, and Mount Sinai.

WebMD/Medscape employs an omnichannel marketing strategy, similar to those used by large commercial agencies, to reach a precisely targeted group of healthcare professionals and consumers wherever and whenever they need public health information. Medscape’s roots have been in accredited continuing medical education with designation as a Joint Accredited Provider with Commendation, and we have used that long-standing expertise to develop training courses for many public health agencies. Notable programs include: 

  • Fluoroquinolone Prescription (FDA): A comprehensive program focused on informing and educating physicians about appropriate prescription practices surrounding fluoroquinolones. These efforts led to a measured reduction of inappropriate prescribing of over 20% among participants. 

  • Disease Awareness & Prevention (CDC): Education has been delivered through Medscape’s membership, reaching large numbers of targeted learners on topics such as HIV screening and prevention and lesser-known areas such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a serious long-term illness affecting many individuals. 

  • Flu Vaccine (CDC): WebMD/Medscape has helped the CDC understand healthcare professional knowledge and perceptions around flu vaccines through insights gathered through Medscape’s membership, leading to actions regarding immunization policies.

Medscape continues to grow our focus on public health through developing a specialized internal team with experience in government contracting and procurement and through the alignment with Medscape’s Strategic Partnership Team that collaborates with academic institutions, nonprofit and patient advocacy programs, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Additionally, Medscape has developed dedicated public health learning sites focusing on COVID, Mental Health & Wellness, Rare Diseases, and Health Equity. These focused destinations, launched since 2020 for healthcare professionals, have engaged 1.8 million learners and awarded over 527,000 certificates.

The WebMD/Medscape Division of Public Health team is uniquely poised to make a difference in public health by creating connections with healthcare professionals and consumers through communication and education.  

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