Our mission is to bring you the most objective, trustworthy, and accurate health information. Our daily goal is to ensure that WebMD is your practical and relevant content source for health and medicine.
We are committed to providing information on a wide variety of health topics, and rather than filtering certain types of information that may or may not be applicable to any one individual's personal health, we rely on you, our reader, to choose the information that is most appropriate for you. Be aware, however, that information on WebMD or any other web site should not be used as a substitute for professional healthcare. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site or any site.
The following sections detail our content policies and procedures.
Editorial Selection Criteria for Original Content Created by WebMD
WebMD creates original content based upon the following criteria:
Relevance -- Issues that could affect how you manage your own health and that of your family's. Topics include coverage of breaking health news; drug and product launches, recalls, and alerts; health advisories; and expert commentary on managing diseases and conditions and staying healthy.
Clinical Significance -- The latest medical findings published in peer-reviewed medical journals, such as The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Pediatrics, Diabetes Care, Circulation, and many others.
Trends -- Seasonal interests, such as "Summer Safety," "Allergy Seasons," and "Cold and Flu;" public health awareness, such as "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," and "Healthy Heart Month;" and emerging health trends, such as the latest in nutrition, fitness, disease prevention, healthy living, alternative approaches, and much more.
Our Content Is Different
It's more reliable. In a medium often accused of providing outdated and inaccurate information, WebMD stands out as a credible, authoritative source of health information.
Our news and feature stories are based on our editors' selections of the most important and relevant health events occurring on a given day. Our news articles are more than a short summary of a study or an event. They often contain interviews with the medical researchers who authored them, plus interviews with objective experts who can put the research into context and tell the reader what it means in today's world.
Editorial Integrity -- WebMD's journalistic responsibility is to make a clear distinction between news, features, reference, and other information, so that individuals can readily distinguish independent editorial information from paid, promotional information.
Editorial Independence -- In its reporting, WebMD maintains exemplary principles of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, and responsible, independent reporting.
Journalistic Excellence -- WebMD upholds traditional journalistic principles of excellence in reporting original news for the Internet and in reviewing and corroborating information from other sources. Our content continues to win awards and recognitions in journalistic excellence and you can see our most current list of awards by checking our Awards page.
Editorial Policy for WebMD Editorial Staff
WebMD News is an independent media service designed to provide news, information, and educational material to consumers and physicians. News content created by WebMD is free from influence by sponsors, partners, or other sources.
Anyone who serves on the WebMD Editorial staff must fully disclose any financial or other interests that he or she may have in any drug, biotech, medical device, or other company perceived to have influence in the healthcare industry. Such disclosure must be made to the individual's immediate supervisor at the time of hiring or at the time that the financial or other interest develops. The supervisor will determine whether the interest presents a conflict and, if so, what must be done to eliminate it.
In addition, when WebMD works with licensed or credentialed health and related professionals, we verify their license and/or credentials at the time of hire or contract. We also conduct the following Human Resources screening initially and annually with the following organizations:
- Office of the Inspector General's Fraud and Abuse Control Information Systems (FACIS, Level III)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and
- GSA (the U.S. government's General Services Administration.)
WebMD keeps its Editorial staff separate and distinct from staff dedicated to sponsors or partners. No person will serve on both staffs, no Editorial employee will be asked to perform duties on behalf of a sponsor or provide favored treatment to a sponsor or partner.
The WebMD Editorial staff is charged with the responsibility of providing objective, accurate, and balanced accounts of events and issues. WebMD reporters must diligently seek out subjects of stories or qualified experts to provide commentary. They also seek objective commentary or comment from a qualified spokesperson to provide balance.
WebMD journalists strive to provide thorough and honest coverage and share a dedication to ethical behavior and the highest professional standards.
News & Original Article Process
Each weekday, our staff of physicians and medical journalists plans the daily news "budget," all stories planned for the day. It contains the latest information from the most important medical journals, announcements from federal health agencies, and analyses on the latest health trends. Our experienced health reporters talk daily with prominent medical leaders, providing in-depth analyses, updates, and profiles that give our health news and content a perspective found nowhere else. Every original article is reviewed by our staff of full-time, board-certified physician editors.
The WebMD Editorial staff gets its stories from an array of sources: peer-reviewed medical journals, medical conferences, federal or state government actions, and enterprise material derived from interviews with medical experts. WebMD also believes that valuable content is available from WebMD sponsors, advertisers, and partners, but that such content must be clearly labeled.
Each completed story to be published is reviewed by a medical editor for accuracy, appropriateness of medical language, and proper characterization of the findings. The story is next reviewed by an Editorial Editor who edits it for style, flow, punctuation, and readability. Finally, the story moves from editing to publishing, where it is converted to HTML and published to the site.
When WebMD licenses health and wellness content from third-parties for publication on our site, the WebMD senior Editorial editors and physician editors review the third-party's editorial policies and procedures for consistency with the WebMD Editorial Policies, including without limitation the conflicts of interest policy. While the WebMD Editorial Staff may not review each page of the third-party licensed content, the Editorial Staff does review a representative sample of the content to ensure that the third-party implements the editorial policy and procedures reviewed by WebMD and that the content appears to be accurate, timely and relevant.
Sponsored Content and Advertising
In using our site, you will see that some content, buttons, badges and banners are labeled "Sponsored", "From Our Sponsor" or "Advertisement". This content has not been reviewed by the WebMD Editorial Staff and is not subject to this Editorial Policy. Content, buttons, badges or banners labeled "From Our Sponsor" are subject to the policy governing Our Sponsors. Content, buttons, badges and banners labeled "Advertisement" are subject to our Advertising Policy.
For information on WebMD's Corrections Policy, please click here.
Last Updated: May 11, 2012
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