Jean Patman

Consumers can't seem to get enough health information. And to meet this growing demand, newspapers, television stations, hospitals, and even government agencies are turning to a 3-year-old wire service for health news, trends, and tips.

Consumers can't seem to get enough health information. And to meet this growing demand, newspapers, television stations, hospitals, and even government agencies are turning to a 3-year-old wire service for health news, trends, and tips.

Here, PRWeek talks to HealthDay's managing editor about what makes a compelling health story. PRWeek: What stimulated the creation of HealthDay? Jean Patman: It's actually an outgrowth of another health news service called Health-ScoutNews, which came out of Rx Remedy. The simple stimulation of the growth is that there's an enormous demand by consumers for health news, and we thought we could help fill part of that void by turning out as many stories as we think are timely and relevant each day. PRWeek: How is HealthDay differentiating itself from other wire services that have dedicated health reporters? Patman: I would say that the way we differentiate ourselves is that we give consumers a fully rounded story. In other words, we will cover breaking news coming out of new research, and we don't just cover the research. We make sure there's a context to it - is it new, is it relevant, does it have detractors - those kinds of questions. The television does a two-minute sound bite on health news, and if you sit and watch it, you would think they basically invented a cure for cancer every two weeks because you don't get enough information. We always have different voices, we always have the top experts, and we're also incredibly timely. PRWeek: You mentioned the strong demand for healthcare news, and your subscribers can customize the news they get. Which stories create the most demand and the most interest? Patman: I think any new findings on cancer and diabetes, Alzheimer's - you can't give them enough information on those kinds of stories. And we have a wide range of readers and consumers and outlets that we send this to, so we don't have a specific age group that we're targeting when we write these stories. I suppose the hottest topic is the one I forgot, actually: How do you lose weight? Give me the latest remedy. You could put 10 stories a day out on that, and people would just grab it up. PRWeek: Have you seen changes in the way editors approach their healthcare coverage? Patman: Back when I was features editor at the Los Angeles Times, healthcare wasn't a top priority for the features section. I think the changes that I see in newspapers, and definitely that I see on television, is that because consumers want to know the latest thing that's going on in health, they've brought back larger sections, they've brought back more customized advice. Services like ours put out very legitimate, consumer-friendly news, and I think that's the key. We always include links to places where people can get more information on every story. So we let the readers decide, but we give them the information by which they can decide. Name: Jean Patman Outlet: HealthDay Title: Managing editor Preferred contact method: jpatman@healthday.com Website: www.healthday.com

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