HCPLive is Intellisphere's Internet prescription

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John Maillard, VP-digital media at Intellisphere, which specializes in health care markets, recalls lobbying Intellisphere Chairman-CEO Mike Hennessy in late 2007 to overhaul the publisher's main website,

Maillard, then MDNG's editorial director, was concerned that the print version of MDNG was driving readers away from the online brand. “They were going straight from the magazine to the URLs we were providing and bypassing our website altogether,” he said.

About the time Maillard got the green light to repackage, Intellisphere acquired several health-care titles from Ascend Media, including American Journal of Managed Care and Pharmacy Times in February 2008. The deal expanded Intellisphere's market portfolio to reach both pharmacists and managed-care professionals, in addition to medical specialists.

A year later, the flagship website was relaunched as HCPLive. The site now features a smorgasbord of medical content that has since taken Intellisphere's Web presence to another level. “We're taking a TV Guide-to-the-Internet approach: We search the Web so physicians and pharmacists don't have to,” Maillard said.

The website carries links to myriad medical specialties and conditions; careers in the medical field; physician-related events and social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds to various products). It also includes online video programming and podcasts, which are regularly updated, as well as links to Intellisphere's 22 trade publications.

The technology fueling HCPLive is based on a PHP platform, with a MySQL database. Intellisphere's in-house development team handles all front- and back-end tasks, including application development. The content management system is homegrown. “We tried looking at an SaaS or off-the-shelf CMS, but they need so much customization for what we do, it was easier to build than buy,” Maillard said.

Multiple servers handle redundancy issues and, in September, the publisher will start using a separate multimedia server to handle streaming video and audio. Also in September, the website is rolling out a “curated search” capability that will enable the company to deliver a wider array of more personalized content on a single subject—cardiology, for example—on a single search page.

“There'll be more allure to get that person's registration,” Maillard said, referring to the new search tool. “When a client gives us a list to reach only these 3,000 physicians in cardiology, we'll be able to do that. It's not really about quantity anymore. It's about the quality [of the user] and the more you show that to clients, the more their budgets are going to shift to you.”

Roland DeSilva, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva+Phillips, applauded HCPLive's “completeness.” “It has everything you want from a content-management standpoint,” he said: “aggregation of audience; dicing and slicing of audiences; social networks; and [medical] experts.”

HCPLive currently attracts between 400,000 and 500,000 unique monthly users and garners 1.2 million page views monthly, Maillard said.

Since the relaunch the company has also seen a big bump in the number of integrated ad buys, Maillard added. “We're discovering new brands that want to advertise based on the fact that we can reach many more health care professionals [online] whom we didn't reach in print.”

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