WebMD.com is an online medical news and information site. Users can browse or search for news and information on a huge variety of medical topics. The site features a convenient search bar on the home page, where users can search the site by keyword. Specialized search tools are provided for Symptoms, Doctors and Hospitals. There is a convenient top menu bar shown on all pages of the site that features drop down lists under each category in the menu. The categories are Home and News, Health A-Z, Drugs and Supplements, Healthy Living, Healthy Eating and Diet, Parenting and Pregnancy and Mental Health. There are numerous sub-categories within each of these categories.
The site also features a hospital directory, a pharmacy directory, a pill finder which allows you to identify medications based on pictures, and a doctor directory. The site has a convenient feature which allows registered users to store and access their health record on the site. The health record is stored in secure form, and health professionals can be given access to the record at the user’s discretion. The site also features several blogs, community forums for discussing medical issues, and an Ask the Experts feature which allows users to ask questions of medical professionals.Show more screenshots »
WebMD was launched in 2005 by New York based HLTH Corporation. WebMD is a public corporation that is traded on NASDAQ (WBMD). The company is headed by CEO and President Wayne T. Gattinella. The site has undergone tremendous growth since its launch, and currently has tens of millions of unique monthly visitors. The site has an Alexa page rank well below the 1,000 mark.
WebMD competes with sites such as Healthline.com and MedicineOnline.com. Healthline is actually more of a medical search engine, with the information on the site coming from a number of trusted medical sites from around the web. MedicineOnline more closely resembles WebMD, but the site is not as large and does not provide as much information as the WebMD site. WebMD's focus on community management and accurate, updated information makes it one of the most popular health destinations on the web.
The WebMD site is quite cluttered, with a large amount of links on most pages on the site. Advertising is displayed on the site, and this helps contribute to the cluttered look. There is an almost overwhelming amount of information available to the user. However, there is a convenient top menu bar, so navigation is quite intuitive. There is a rather short learning curve required in order to best make use of the site. The site is very responsive, with page loads happening very quickly. WebMD is designed to present large amounts of information at once, which can be overwhelming.
Registration at WebMD is optional and is free. Registration is required to use certain features, however, such as the Personal Health Record feature. In addition, registered users can subscribe to several available newsletters on different medical topic. Registration is also required in order to use the community forums. The registration process asks for first and last name, email address, password, date of birth, gender, zip code and screen name. Users are given the opportunity to sign up for their choice of newsletters at the time of registration. Validation of the user’s email address is required.
There is no premium membership offered by the site, as the site is supported by advertising.
WebMD is recommended to anyone looking for quality health-related news and information. The content team at the site consists of medical professionals as well as journalists, and there is a Medical Review Board and a Medial Advisory Board that help to make certain that the information provided on the site is accurate and reliable. This is comforting given the amount of erroneous information published on the web. WebMD is not a replacement for going to the doctor, but it can help users get more out of their doctor’s visits and help them in making health-related decisions.