HealthCentral Network launches interactive site

WASHINGTON: The HealthCentral Network has launched Healthcare08, an interactive Web site designed to help users make sense of where the presidential candidates stand on health-related issues.

WASHINGTON: The HealthCentral Network has launched Healthcare08, an interactive Web site designed to help users make sense of where the presidential candidates stand on health-related issues. The company, a provider of Web sites geared towards specific health issues, is hoping to capitalize on the current abundance of coverage the American healthcare system is receiving.

Rational PR is assisting the company on the effort, which is being driven largely via outreach to the healthcare blogging community and viral marketing efforts, according to Lucie Leblois, director of marketing for The HealthCentral Network.

The new site features animated "Poligraphs" that plot candidates' platforms on the major health issues, as well as quizzes to help people connect their views to the appropriate candidate.

The site will run continuously through the November general election, with updates as candidates provide feedback and the number of candidates thins, added Leblois.

The communications team has encouraged visitors of its existing sites to make use of the new site.

The team also used some of those users as a resource, creating a team of "expert patients" to help the company target bloggers for its outreach.

"Our expert patients are very involved in their online communities and so, in conjunction with them, the producers have been reaching out to important bloggers in these health spaces, pitching them in very specific ways," said Krystle Kopacz, producer for the company.

The communications team has also begun an effort to push the site virally, with team members encouraging connected Washing- ton insiders to pass the site link along. The network also launched a Facebook group to target some of the more politically minded users on the site, Kopacz said.

The launch was preceded by outreach to users of other sites the company runs, Leblois said, making use of the database of subscribers to the company's e-newsletter to promote it.

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