It would be bigger news if WebMD didn't have an iPad app


You may have heard in the last few days that online consumer health information giant WebMD has introduced an iPad app. Within 24 hours of launch, WebMD for iPad had become the No. 1 free health and fitness app for iPad and the No. 2 overall iPad app in the iTunes store, a WebMD spokeswoman told me by email.

Naturally, this was all over the tech press. "WebMD Makes a House Call on the IPad," said Macworld. (Get it? Healthcare? House call? Good one. It's as creative as saying there's a "healthy market" for healthcare software") Gizmodo called the app "a hypochondriac's nightmare," which at least suggests to me that the app was well done. One astute comment on the latter site says, This is not a hypochondriacs nightmare, it's a DOCTOR'S nightmare. The Internet was bad enough but now the waiting room will be filled with 'worried wells' clutching on to their iPads."

OK, I can get behind snarky commentary. In fact, here's some of my own: You know what would really be news here? If WebMD didn't come out with an iPad app. If I didn't include this development in my Editor's Corner, it would have been relegated to the Also Noted section of this newsletter.

Yes indeedy, some of my media brethren have yet again been caught up in the hype cycle. Like, for example, BusinessWeek, which reported yesterday: "Telus Corp., Canada's third-largest wireless carrier, is creating an online medical database with Microsoft Corp., to expand its telecommunication services to the healthcare industry."

Actually, Microsoft announced more than a year ago that Telus would become the exclusive distributor of HealthVault in Canada. But, I guess because Microsoft is involved, this constitutes big news in some circles.

Which brings me to the real news of the day in the rarefied hype-mosphere of companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google: Google Health may be on its deathbed.

"Rumors are now floating about this lack of relevancy, this lack of a true commitment to Google Health has led to that oh so fateful executive decision--pulling the plug on Google Health and either letting the team go or reassigning them to other divisions within the organization," John Moore writes on the Chilmark Research blog.

If you just read the mainstream press, you'd think that Google Health was a market leader in EMRs and on its way to conquering mobile health as well. Good thing you read FierceMobileHealthcare. - Neil

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