The American Medical Association, together with six national medical associations, is setting up a high quality health information and communication site on the internet. Medem.com (standing for “medical empowerment”) will make its website available in early 2000.
The partners in medem.com are the American Academy of Ophthalmology; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the American Psychiatric Association; and the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.
“Medem.com is the website that patients all across America have been waiting for. The patient-physician relationship is the heart and soul of quality health care,” said American Medical Association trustee Dr William Mahood.
Dr Edward Fotsch, a former emergency room physician, who is Medem's chief executive, said that doctors needed a reliable source of information for patients, and by bringing together seven medical societies, the company would provide it.
Medem is a for profit company. Five per cent of Medem is owned by a charity, the Medem Trust, which will use its profits to provide health care for poor patients, Dr Fotsch said.
The venture comes at a time when Dr C Everett Koop, majority owner of DrKoop.com (18 Sep, p 727), a leader among the 17000 websites giving healthcare information, is again under fire for his role in a warning on hospital gloves.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was about to warn health workers that powdered latex gloves could cause serious allergic reactions, when Dr Koop called Dr Linda Rosenstock, the director of the institute in 1997 to pour scorn on the warning.
He told a House of Representatives Committee looking into the question that the hazards of the gloves were exaggerated, but he did not disclose to the committee that he had received $656250 (£410200) in consulting fees from a contract with the company manufacturing the gloves.