A View From the Top with Wayne Gatinnella

Wayne Gattinella '76 Returns to LeBow with "A View From the Top"

Wayne Gattinella '76, president and CEO of WebMD, returned to Drexel University's LeBow College of Business on Thursday March, 13, 2007 to address a crowd of more than 100 as part of the "A View From the Top" series. Gattinella spoke of the business model for WebMD "an online source of medical information" and the still burgeoning industry of Internet business in a fascinating presentation entitled "Transforming Business in the Digital Era."

"The Internet has transformed industries serving as a vehicle for live, dynamic, interchanging information," Gattinella said.

He explained that WebMD has three main goals for its digital delivery:

  • To secure and capture personal health information
  • Provide real time decision support tools
  • Increase the connectivity of healthcare

WebMD has carved a niche as a leading information provider in a medical industry that is rapidly changing. Gattinella explained that representatives for pharmaceutical companies may be forced into new lines of work as face-to-face selling has become a thing of the past. He estimates that 99 percent of doctors are online and seek information via the Internet. As a result, drug companies are downsizing their sales forces.

”Some thought the Internet was over promised and couldn’t deliver; but by 2006, 77 percent of households had Internet access. In 1995, it was a mere 15 percent.” Gattinella intoned about the public’s growing trust of the Internet. ‘The Internet has become the number one information medium of choice. It took only six years for the Internet to penetrate 50 percent of American households. It took the newspaper industry 100 years to reach the same infiltration.”

Today, eight out of 10 doctors use Medscape, a WebMD portal that serves as the Web’s largest drug reference source. At any given time, 80 percent of Internet users surf the Web for health and wellness information. Many of them find the information they seek on WebMD.

Gattinella believes that the success of WebMD emanates from its credibility, which he believes is the company’s No. 1 asset. Under his leadership, WebMD is an organization that practices transparency at all levels, encourages communications and open dialogue, establishes an emotional connection with its employees, and has a strong will to win in the marketplace.

Leading with vision, Gattinella is focused on the direction in which he will take WebMD and is very cognizant of current Internet trends, including the following five:

  1. Consumers are demanding more control over information to make important everyday decisions
  2. Consumers are becoming proactive information seekers
  3. Consumer are seeking credible content sources
  4. The Internet is exposing fundamental weaknesses of traditional marketing channels, which places a lot of pressure on old media
  5. New healthcare “consumerism” is accelerating the need for transparency to reduce the cost of health benefits

A View from the Top examines how leading executives effectively guide business and inspire innovation, while maintaining the bottom line in a marketplace that is fundamentally changed. For information on upcoming events, please visit www.lebow.drexel.edu/events.

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