Chris Schroeder, HealthCentral - interviewed by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN

Chris Schroeder discusses the difference between HealthCentral and other healthcare websites.

Other sites look similar to yours, how do you get your site to “pop out” from the rest?

We bring three things. We’re the largest collection of information on the Internet. It’s about people bringing those quantities and aggregate the quality and quantity and you have the ability to make powerful decisions. Marry high-quality content (health bloggers) and expert patients — unlike anything else out there. Makes our monetization side easy as well. Very monetizable.

Plenty of room for all the news outlets…in your industry, does there have to be one winner?

It’s not a winner take all kind of situation. We need to be on the side of user, and we have partnerships with those that would be considered at one time competitors. If people consider us “one” of their trusted sites, then that’s great. At the end of the day, people want to take control of their lives. They will give you tremendous credit if they know you’re on their side.

In the Marcus Welby days, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to get information except your doctor. How does your site inform people about what your doc doesn’t tell you?

Docs are profound and are important, but you have to look at people who have been there before. What always has happened in the offline world and now unleashed in the online world, the really profound stuff is how people get you through life in these unbelievable circumstances. The real-life experiences can help you think about your treatment, as you’re only with your doctor for 15 minutes, and with everyone else the rest of the time. It’s about empathy and connections.

It must be interesting to read these threads…

You get 180 degrees of information, but the beauty of the web is that people are going to many different areas to get the information. But there is no subsititute for your docs.

How does your site address docs not using EBM?

We’re only tapping into the beginning of docs listening to consumers. It’s all about connection and empathy. But there’s nothing like showing that when people get together, it’s a different kind of experience.

But is listening to patients really the right way to go?

The net positive of people telling you “I’ve been there…

What have you learned, the challenges…

The biggest thing I underestimated how nuanced health is. Health is not really its own vertical…it’s very profound and different emotions and the infrastructure around it, if you don’t focus on that, you’re not in the right business.

Are you happy?

The fact that folks keep coming back and talking and engaging, is awesome.