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What's in store for the online health business for 2009?  I asked three industry thought leaders to share their views:

Health seekers of all ages will continue to take control of their health decisions and congregate around interactive experiences that meet their specific needs. The precision and utility of interactive technologies assure that marketers will not only get the right messages to the right people at the right time, joining a conversation, but the smart ones will thus be rewarded for being more relevant and helpful to users. Audiences will move beyond the portals, and dollars will continue to leave traditional media. (Chris Schroeder, CEO, The HealthCentral Network)

Every year usage of the web for health information grows as sites become more personalized, the information deeper and the applications stronger. As a result, marketers looking to reach consumers who are making healthcare decisions will continue to migrate online to sites that can provide the best targeting with the deepest level of advertiser engagement possible—looking to combine display banner ads, search and custom integration into a site to help market and explain complex products and services. (Ben Wolin, CEO, Waterfront Media)

In 2009, pharma will finally become part of one of the most vibrant and forward-looking aspects of modern healthcare—the social network. By joining, enabling and creating communities with shared perspectives or shared identities, brands will foster ideas and relationships that drive business impact.  Empowering communities will result in a new way to take healthcare to market—creating bottom-up demand for products and value-added services. (Larry Mickelberg, EVP, Digitas Health)

Dan McKillen is the CEO of the HealthDay news service
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