WebMD Editorial Policy
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. However, the original editorial information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 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 the WebMD Site!
The following sections detail our content policies and procedures.
Editorial Selection of Original Content Created by WebMD
WebMD creates original content with reference generally to the following criteria:
Relevance — Issues that could affect how you manage your own health and that of your family. 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 In a medium often accused of providing outdated and inaccurate information, WebMD stands out as a credible, authoritative source of health information.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 editorial information, so that individuals can readily distinguish independent editorial information from advertising.
Editorial Independence — In its reporting, WebMD maintains exemplary principles of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, and responsible, independent reporting. WebMD maintains sole control of its editorial content.
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 is the leading provider of health information services, serving consumers, physicians and other healthcare professionals. Editorial content created by WebMD is free from influence by advertisers and other sources.
Anyone who serves on the WebMD Editorial staff must fully disclose any potential conflict of interest with any sponsor or vendor.
WebMD keeps its Editorial staff separate and distinct from staff dedicated to creating advertising content for our advertisers. No person will serve on both staffs, no Editorial employee will be asked to perform duties on behalf of an advertiser.
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 the highest professional standards.
Original Content Process
The content that we produce and the news that we feature is determined by our staff of physicians and medical journalists. It contains the latest information from reliable sources including the most important peer-reviewed 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.
Third parties may provide funding to WebMD for the creation by WebMD of original editorial content for the WebMD Network. In such cases, the third party may work with WebMD to identify a mutually agreed upon general topic, but the content will be produced in accordance with our Original Content Process and the third party will have no control over the content. At their request, these third parties may receive the attribution “Supported by [third party’s name]” on our editorial content during the period that they fund a program. This attribution is not intended to reflect any change in the editorial nature of the content.
Each completed story to be published is reviewed by a physician 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 to the site.
Licensed and Third Party Content
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.
WebMD works with government and other not for profit organizations or associations whose primary mission is to educate the public on health topics or issues. We use a specific framework of criteria to review and select these organizations and work with them to create or select content within specific topic areas. The content is created by WebMD, reviewed and edited by the third party, and then edited and approved by WebMD’s editorial staff. Just like all of WebMD’s editorial content, this category of content is subject to WebMD’s editorial policy and process for accuracy, balance, and objectivity. In these instances, we place descriptive text at the top of the page to let the user know that WebMD created the content with assistance and collaboration from the organization or association with whom we worked. In addition, the hyperlinked “educational collaboration”, linked to its definition, will be followed by the name of the organization with whom we worked to create the content. We also disclose if there was additional funding by other third parties who have no control over the content.
As more fully described in our Advertising Policy, WebMD accepts advertising on the WebMD Network from Advertisers, which may include third party banners, badges, contextual advertising and content created or provided by an Advertiser (collectively referred to as “Advertisements”, “Advertising”, or “From Our Advertiser”). Some advertisements, which may appear as text paragraphs, thumbnail pictures, badges, or other types of text or pictures, are what is known as “native advertisements” and appear adjacent to editorial content. These ads are labelled “Sponsor Content”, “From Our Sponsor”, “By (our Sponsor)”, “Provided by (our Sponsor)” or “From (our Sponsor).” Regardless of the form of an advertisement, the Advertiser is responsible for the accuracy and objectivity of their Advertising and it is subject to our Advertising Policy. Advertising is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial Staff and is not subject to this Editorial Policy.
Connect to Care
The WebMD Site contains a section referred to as “Connect to Care” which features content created by WebMD’s Connect to Care staff that helps you find services, providers, and practices to manage your health. In other portions of the WebMD Site, you will find gateways, chat boxes, or similar content also created by WebMD’s Connect to Care staff, which is labeled “Connect to Care” and will help us put you in touch with services, providers, and practices serving your area. When you purchase any of these services or when we connect you with a provider or practice in your area, WebMD may receive a fee. WebMD’s Editorial staff works independently from the Connect to Care staff and is not involved in the creation of any content labelled “Connect to Care”. We place descriptive text at the top of each Connect to Care page and label each gateway, chat box, or similar content as “Connect to Care” to let you know that the content is created by WebMD’s Connect to Care staff and is not created by WebMD’s Editorial staff. WebMD does not endorse any product, service or treatment referred to on any Connect to Care branded page, gateway, chat box, or similar content.
The information you share in any form, chat box, or with a Connect to Care team member will help us put you in touch with a service, provider, or practice serving your area. Any personal information that you share with WebMD in such mediums, such as your name, age, telephone number, email address or health concerns, will be furnished to the relevant service, provider, or practice with your consent and will not otherwise be used by WebMD. As applicable, WebMD or its affiliates will store a copy of the chat transcript, lead form, and recording of the call. WebMD is not affiliated with any particular provider, service, or practice and we do not recommend or endorse any particular provider, service, or practice. We are not medical professionals and your use of this Connect to Care service does not constitute medical advice or a physician-patient relationship. The Connect to Care service is intended for general audiences 18 years of age and older, and access or use by anyone younger is not authorized. The service, provider, or practice may contact you using autodialer technology, which may include text messages over which WebMD has no control. Consent is not a condition of purchase.
If you feel you may have a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
For information on WebMD’s Corrections Policy, please click here.