Advanstar Communications has announced a new direction for its Healthcare Group that calls for digital distribution of its content. Its new site,, a centralized physician portal, will serve as a centralized physician portal from which users can accesses Advanstar's health content. integrates content from Advanstar's five primary care publications (including Medical Economics) and seven specialty care publications, as the site replaces each publication's own website. Advanstar anticipates the site will have 100,000 registered users, who are authenticated against the American Medical Association database, in 2008. The company expects this will help its advertising clients effectively reach the authenticated doctors they wish to connect with. will provide access to more than 300 peer-reviewed journals, coding and reimbursement tools, formulary status tools, a library of CME programs, customizable patient education, coverage of more than 80 major medical conferences and practice management advice.

Advanstar's other electronic plans include increasing the frequency of its Drug Topics title, with five editions published each month (four produced digitally and one in print).

Publishers seem to be taken with the idea to create a single portal (essentially a one-stop-shop) for their content offerings. It makes sense to focus on building just one strong brand; a single place where readers can find the content and services they are looking for and where advertisers can reach a large and relevant audience with a single placement.

With a combination of their publications' content and other offerings (such as peer-reviewed journals and coding tools), Advanstar is certainly on the right track. But to make it work for the long-term, Advanstar (as well as other publishers launching similar portals) has to be committed to the continued development of the portal. It has to regularly give readers new reasons to visit; reasons to make this their only source for healthcare-related content. Launching a site such as is not a one-time proposition. It requires a constant commitment. Site visitors must find offerings that engage them every time they visit or they will simply find another source. Making required reading for its customers is truly the ultimate goal; and Advanstar certainly has the resources in place to make that happen.