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By David Mendosa

Last Update: November 15, 2001

InteliHealth: Diabetes is so good that you can overlook a few things. Like its ridiculously long address (URL). Like the dumb way it misspells InteliHealth with only one "l."

One of the most credible sites on the Web.

The InteliHealth people tell me that they hope to get shorter addresses soon. And the site is smart enough that if you type the name as IntelliHealth (with two "l's") you will go right there.

And when you get there you will find one of the most credible sites on the Web. In addition to its in-house editorial staff, Harvard Medical School is its leading content provider. InteliHealth also works with more than 150 top health organizations—including the National Institutes of Health—key health associations like the American Diabetes Association, and major medical publishing companies. For diabetes tools it works with Protocol Driven Healthcare Inc. and its MyDiabetes site, a leading diabetes resource that I reviewed here about two years ago.

One of the smartest things about the site is its owner. InteliHealth is a subsidiary of Aetna U.S. Healthcare, the health benefits unit of Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET). Aetna U.S. Healthcare is the largest health and related benefits organization. It's the only insurance company that I know of that is smart enough to reduce its costs by providing top-quality information to help us to better health—and to fewer claims.

"While we are a wholly owned subsidiary of Aetna, we are editorially independent," Suzanne Grauer says. She is a registered nurse who heads InteliHealth's quality management, compliance, and consumer relations areas. She is also the product manager for the site's prevention and wellness content. "The content on our site is not reviewed by Aetna medical directors or Aetna senior management. Our reviews for the medical area come from Harvard Medical School."

When you go to the site's home page, you can see that it is divided into literally hundreds of diseases and conditions, of which diabetes is just one. Another section on Healthy Living has pages on such topics as complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition, and fitness. The Your Health area covers men, women, seniors, children, and babies in separate sections. The Look It Up section had medical references, including a dictionary.

I have personally benefited enormously from the InteliHealth site. Neither my doctor nor I could figure out what was causing a persistent itch. Then, here I discovered the cause of this non-diabetic condition that had been plaguing me.

The diabetes area has information every bit as valuable. This area averages 54,000 page views per month, Ms. Grauer says. Some of the most popular sections are Diabetes Overview, Type 2 Diabetes, and Nutrition.

The InteliHealth diabetes area has licensed content from Dr. Walter Willett's new book, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, Ms. Grauer says. The first excerpt, Replacing Bad Fats With The Good Ones has just gone up on the site.

Dr. Willett is promoting an all-new food pyramid and the glycemic load, an advance over the glycemic index concept. That's smart, and InteliHealth is smart to feature his cutting-edge work. 

The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.

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