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Sales bias in medical web sites

Walking the line - How can a medical web site provide Jeffrey A. Oster, DPMobjective medical information yet still generate income?

Sales bias - advertising v.s. product sales  - which is the lesser of the two evils?

Myfootshop.com is an educationally driven medical web site.  Our focus is providing consumer oriented health information specific to the treatment of the foot and ankle.  As medical director, it's my job to curate the medical information we provide and aggregate it into what we call our foot and ankle knowledge base.  It's also my job to select and pair the products we sell with each knowledge base article.  This pairing of medical information and products  is a business model we call Medically Guided Shopping.  With Medically Guided Shopping, we help you find the right diagnosis and the right product, the right way.   We feel that Medically Guided Shopping helps users of Myfootshop.com to focus their efforts in a way that saves time and money.

We're a health care business.  As such, we need to earn income to pay our employees, our web development staff and a host of other business expenses.  But how can a health care web site earn income without sales bias?  How do we avoid bias and present objective and reliable information that consumers can trust?  As medical director, this is a concept that I struggle with every day.  Here's a few of the points that I feel make Myfootshop.com a reliable medical source-

  1. We do not mention any of our products in our knowledge base articles.  All knowledge base articles are free of sales or advertising references.  Optional products that have been vetted for each condition are offered at the conclusion of each knowledge base article.
  2. We keep consumers informed of new concepts and trends in medicine.  This is simply what scientific journals do.  It's our job to report timely advances and new methods of treatment.
  3. All knowledge base articles are written by a board certified physician.  Authorship is transparent with no use of ghost writers or articles solicited by advertisers.
  4. We do not accept ads in any way shape or form on any page of Myfootshop.com.
  5. Our distribution is open source.  We do not target specific populations or demographics with advertising or sales pitches.

Although there is no way to completely eliminate sales bias, we feel that Medically Guided Shopping is the more effective method of blunting sales bias  Take this simple test and compare Myfootshop.com to WebMD.  Advertising is the engine that drives sites like WebMD.  The objectivity of all of our information is always at the forefront of our minds.  Yes, we do need to make a living, and we hope that in the act of doing so, we have a positive effect on our customers.  We don't feel that advertising is in your best interest.  As a user of this site, please give us feed back.  If at any time you sense sales bias, please contact me directly at jeff@myfootshop.com.  Your feedback is not only appreciated, it's what helps us to provide you with the most meaningful way to access reliable healthcare solutions.

Jeff

Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Director
Myfootshop.com

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