Focus interview on inCapitalHealth with editor Bob Davidson

Bob Davidson is founder and editor of inCapitalHealth, a medical education website written by London’s senior doctors. With 160 therapeutic areas identified, Davidson aims to get a piece from all 160 leading consultants in the next two years.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Davidson to learn more about the January launch and how he sees the site progressing. We also talk PRs and Twitter.

About the publication:

inCapitalHealth launched in January; what was the motivation behind the launch:
I founded inCapitalHealth. We provide patients with enough medical knowledge to help make informed decisions over where to seek the best treatment. In an era of ‘patient choice’ it is important to give people the latest authoritative information to allow ‘informed’ involvement in critical decision making.

How do you differ from other magazines/websites?
We honestly don’t know of anything else like inCapitalHealth. We select leading specialists and ask them to write about their own area of expertise. As new developments arise these specialists will comment and give an opinion. It’s the best place for patients to find easy to read independent medical information.

Describe a typical reader for us:
Our readers are people with serious health problems and their families. When someone’s diagnosed with a medical condition it’s natural to seek the finest medical advice available. On inCapitalHealth patients can read what London’s senior doctors have written about their specialist areas – in plain English – and fully understand their recommended approach.

What stories are you most interested in covering?
We don’t run stories, our experts write in detail about their own therapeutic areas and comment on current articles in the press. This is about arming patients with the expert knowledge they need to be involved.

How do you see the site developing in months to come?
We have identified 160 therapeutic areas and we are publishing at least one authoritative piece for each as part of the editorial calendar. We currently have 8 live with many more due for publication at different stages of the editorial process.

How does the editorial process run? Do you have specific days when you focus on different aspects of the magazine, or is the planning on a much more ad-hoc basis?
We have produced an editorial calendar for 2009/2010. However, the author for each piece is also responsible for updating their copy to ensure that it reflects all latest evidence-based treatment options.

How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
Content is decided on scale of patient impact i.e. the more serious and common therapeutic areas are naturally dealt with first. Front covers and headlines are selected on the basis that they introduce an important academic or point of interest.

Do you produce a features list?
Please see the editorial calendar and note that all core published copy is available for amendment and update by the original authors through the editorial panel.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs?
We do in so far as we’re always keen to hear from PRs who may have important information about one of our current or planned therapeutic areas, or of latest evidence-based treatment philosophies.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Evidence-based information for treatment options, especially where relevant to published information.

What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Send me an email –

Do you have a PR pet hate?
No, I like dealing with PRs, In my experience they’re generally upbeat, positive, go-getters with a talent for clear communication. What’s not to like?

When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
Contact me any time at

About you:

What are your editorial duties?
My key task, one which combines my medical background with my editorial skills, is to take each piece written by the consultants and make any necessary changes to ensure that it is written in plain English and easily comprehensible to non-medically qualified readers. That’s the key, providing patients with the best medical information available in an easy to understand format without patronising.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I’d have to say the most rewarding experience I’ve had recently was to launch inCapitalHealth and then hear unanimous feedback that our service couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s been very gratifying. As for something memorable: when I was founder and editor of Capital Doctor for over ten years. This title broke new ground in medical journal publishing. Whereas all other medical titles were aimed at a single job title – inter/nationally, Capital Doctor involved all key players (from academic lead, managers, GPs to practice nurse), responsible for the delivery of patient care at a local level.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I’d like to get a piece from all 160 leading consultants in the next two years, publish a feature on London as the medical centre for the global village with input from James Lovelock. I am currently trying to get an interview with Boris Johnson.

What do you love about your work?
The fact that we can be a conduit of valuable information from those clinical experts who are demonstrably some of the best in the world direct to patients.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Live the day.

I’d love to have a go at…
Heading the government health panel to provide the strategic plan for what needs to be done to genuinely and cost-effectively improve patient care.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag or blogs on your screen?

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and Chalk Stream Chronicle by Neil Patterson

The New Scientist

Websites and Blogs.
I like blogs especially ones on the BBC and I often contribute, a particular favourite was the ‘Planet Earth under Threat’ series. I like to keep an eye on our own blog, I like the New York Times Wellness Blog the Wall Street Journal’s blog plus too many other blogs, websites and twitter feeds than I could list here!

[img|jpg|Bob Davidson]

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