WEBMD BUYS MEDSCAPE

The news out of Hillsboro, Ore., home of MedicaLogic/Medscape Inc., better known simply as Medscape, has not been great over the past six months or so. Back in July, the company hired Lazard Freres, the investment bankers, to come up with a strategy for selling all or part of the company. In August, it sold its transcription services unit, Total e-Med. In October, its CEO went on medical leave, and in November its chief operating officer left and the company severed its relationship with CBSHealthwatch. The company's stock, which once traded at $12, was trading at 29 cents at the end of November. On December 26, the company agreed to part with the Medscape portal, selling it to WebMD for $10 million in cash.

The move, analysts say, vindicates Medscape's business model. It also provides vindication (and presumably some relief) to all the CME providers that have continued to sign up with Medscape's CME unit, like the 16,000-member Society for Nuclear Medicine, based in Reston, Va., which signed on as a Medscape partner at the end of October.

Will Medscape do well as a result of this transaction? There are some pluses: It puts the business into the hands of WebMD CEO Martin Wygod, a famously aggressive leader who succeeded James Clark, founder of Healtheon, which later became Healtheon/WebMD, and in its most recent permutation is now simply WebMD. And at WebMD, the focus is more evenly split between health care transaction management and online information services than was the case at MedicaLogic, which was then primarily (and now is exclusively) a data management service.

One other interesting news tidbit: Medscape has applied for accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

Bone Up Online

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has finally found a winner in the online CME sweepstakes, launching Orthopaedic Knowledge Online in October.

The site offers CME and access to a lot of AAOS online resources (such as the Society's scientific journal) as well as links to Medline and to a variety of free downloads. The site is well-designed, with introductory pages that are light on graphics and therefore quick to load. For the most part, graphics appear in separate pop-up windows; these also seem to load very quickly.

The Web site makes judicious use of Windows Media Player, so visitors can access video demonstrations.

Topics are arranged by surgical procedure, making it easy for surgeons to navigate directly to areas of interest. OKO promises to have as many as 20 topics across all orthopedic specialty areas by the end of 2002. As of now, only AAOS members can access the site (www.aaos.org/oko). Contact the AAOS at (847) 823-7186, and maybe they'll let a colleague take a look.

I.C. Axon Makes Fast List

I.C. Axon has been ranked No. 410 on the 2001 Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in North America. Rankings are based on a five-year percentage revenue growth from 1996 to 2000.

During this period, I.C. Axon had a 1,157 percent growth rate. Its main business is providing online health care learning services. One of its better-known projects is www.mypatient.com, which is a collaboration with the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Visit I.C. Axon at www.icaxon.com.

Dave's Picks

http://radiologycme.stanford.edu/

This is Stanford University's Radiology Department CME page. The design is elegant, which is as it should be — these courses are not free. See their clean, easy-to-follow login and credit card acceptance procedures.

www.seronosymposia.org

Serono Symposia is a medical conference organizer based in Rome, now with a U.S. office in suburban Boston. Check out the ability to download complete PowerPoint presentations.