|WellPoint Launches Access to Online Health Communities|
|Health Plan Among the First to Provide Members With Access to Interactive Message Boards, New Tool Contributes to Members' Personalized Online Experience
Indianapolis – March 15, 2007 – WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) announced today that it is providing members with consumer-friendly access to more than 30 interactive online health communities. This access gives members a new way to connect with one another, with professional health experts, and with millions of people nationwide and across the globe who are confronting similar health conditions and concerns – from coping with a diagnosis of cancer to maintaining a recent weight loss.
Members may participate in online communities that address a variety of health and wellness topics, including: aging; allergies and asthma; arthritis; brain and nervous system; cancer; chronic pain; depression; diabetes; diet and nutrition; digestive disorders; general health; liver and kidney disease; mind, body, and spirit; parenting; pregnancy; sex and relationships; and women's health.
“Online health communities give our members an important venue for sharing information, giving support, and receiving encouragement from others who are experiencing similar health situations,” said Sam Nussbaum, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, WellPoint, Inc., the nation's largest health benefits provider and among the first to offer online health community access for members. “Peer communities can be a valuable complement to a member's health care team, including his or her physician, and enhance a member's overall health care experience.”
The online message boards, accessed through the member services portal, are monitored by trained moderators. More than 30 health care professionals, representing many of the nation's leading medical and health care institutions, provide online community support to help ensure the appropriateness, relevance and accuracy of message board discussions.
Online communities are fully integrated with the company's comprehensive suite of customized online tools, offering members a more personalized experience compared with public message boards. Members registered through the member portal receive information about relevant communities based on their personal health profile. For example, a member who conducts a search on asthma from his personalized homepage will receive links to asthma-related online support groups as well as other asthma resources.
“Online communities are emerging as valuable sources of peer support, and we expect this trend to continue as people become more comfortable using technology as a powerful tool to connect with others and to help manage their health and health care,” said Mark Boxer, president and CEO of WellPoint's Operations, Technology and Government Services Business Unit. “Our online health communities are a natural extension of our comprehensive suite of customized e-health tools that are designed to give our members access to personalized health information and more control in health care decision-making.”
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