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PointCast pushes health care plan

Continuing its efforts to tap specialized markets, PointCast will announce a version of its Internet broadcasting service aimed at the health care industry.

Continuing its efforts to tap specialized markets, PointCast will announce a version of its Internet broadcasting service Monday aimed at the health care industry.

Called the PointCast Network HealthCare Insider, the service will provide physicians, health management officials, and others with information channels geared toward the health care industry, sources said. The service will be a joint venture between PointCast, the health care division of Perot Systems, and health care information provider IntelliHealth, the industry sources added.

PointCast has already announced plans to develop versions of its free information service aimed at college students, the PointCast College Network, and government workers, the PointCast Network Government Insider. The company says it will continue to offer its all-purpose news and information, the PointCast Network, which features CNN, the New York Times, and dozens of other publishers.

But like specialized print and broadcast media, PointCast hopes to build audiences around common areas of interest and industries. The majority of its revenues come through advertising on its service. Many companies will pay a premium to advertise in media that are targeted at specific audiences.

PointCast also plans to develop information services for real estate, petroleum, entertainment, insurance, banking, telecommunications, information technology, and other "vertical" markets, PointCast chief executive Chris Hassett said at an industry conference this week,

The health care industry could be especially receptive to a special information service tailored to it. A growing number of health management organizations and physicians have begun using the Net to increase contact with patients. Netscape chairman Jim Clark founded a start-up company, Healtheon, that lets employees manage their health care benefits using the Web.

As PointCast tries to look for new audiences for its software, it is also trying to improve the efficiency of its push technology. This week, Hassett said that the company is working with Tibco to incorporate its real-time push capabilities into PointCast software.