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Dome - Clicking on the Promise of Medicine

Dome April 2014

Clicking on the Promise of Medicine

Date: April 1, 2014

Clicking on the Promise of Medicine

Imagine a common scenario: For the past week, you’ve felt a burning sensation in your chest that often moves up into your neck and seems worse after eating. Is it heartburn? Some sort of acid indigestion? Should you be worried?

Searching the Internet, you are likely to find yourself in the online health library of Johns Hopkins Medicine ( Not only do you find a page that describes the symptoms of heartburn and explains how it occurs, but it also includes links to a list of Johns Hopkins physicians who specialize in treating the condition officially known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Adjacent links connect to related content, articles, videos and treatment facilities, such as the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center at Green Spring Station.

At a time when most Internet users search for health information online, has become the fourth most visited of all hospital or academic medical center websites. The website attracts about 37 million views each year, says Aaron Watkins, JHM’s director of e-strategy and Web services.

The JHM Health Library, launched in November 2011, is responsible for nearly one-third of that traffic. Featuring a clickable A–Z directory of health topics, including diseases, treatments, tests and procedures, it links to relevant areas, including research, nutritious recipes and screening guidelines.

In addition, the website offers a list of free online seminars and a calendar of in-person presentations led by Johns Hopkins experts on such topics as weight loss surgery and joint pain. (These sessions are held across the greater Baltimore and Washington regions.) There’s a list of screenings for people considering treatment or surgery for conditions such as varicose veins. Visitors can also sign up for Your Health, a free monthly e-newsletter.

New content is continually added to the website as part of JHM’s goal to improve the ways in which it educates and informs its patients, employees and the general public, says Kathy Smith, vice president of marketing and communications for The Johns Hopkins Hospital and senior director of strategic marketing and outreach for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Healthy Aging, a health and wellness portal, will launch this spring through a collaboration with the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. The new content will feature perspectives of Johns Hopkins experts that expand beyond the health library’s A–Z format and will feature the site’s next generation of graphics and interactive and social community features.

—Staff report


For quick access to health information and other resources, visit