Medscape vs. Up To Date

KEY TAKEAWAY: Medscape has been the number one physician portal for a long time, but can sites, like Up To Date, compete against Medscape with a business model that doesn’t include pharma?

Physicians, like most people, are time constrained and when they go online they are looking for a “one stop” website that can meet all their needs.  Medscape has done a good job in providing access to physicians via numerous opportunities with pharma and medical device companies.  On the other hand Up To Date is an HCP portal that requires almost four hundred dollars a year and takes no money from pharma.

It has been my experience that HCP’s prefer Medscape and Medscape can provide very good value added services for pharma including list matching of targeted physicians.  It has also been my experience that a program on Medscape can be more cost effective than using a sales force.  However, the new crop of HCP’s, who tend to be more technical savvy, prefer websites that offer only medical information with minimal interference from outside interests.

Is there an opportunity for more players in the HCP space?   Yes.  As Bruce Grant recently said “UpToDate can and does compete. For one thing, residents and many IDN-affiliated physicians get access through their institutions. But many others are perfectly willing to pony up the $400 (a big price cut, it should be noted, from the $600 it was just a few years ago) considering the *much* deeper content (essentially all of Wolters Kluwer’s medical IP — journals, textbooks, drug reference, and more), which is 100% peer-reviewed, free of advertiser influence, and much more frequently updated (hence the name) than Medscape. Indeed, among hospital-based physicians, UpToDate is now so thoroughly penetrated that it has become a verb, like “Google” — Q: What are the typical presenting symptoms of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency? A: I don’t know. Let me UpToDate that.

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