Business challenge

Content Online Ltd. wanted to make accurate, web-based drug treatment and support services available to healthcare, pharmaceutical and other organizations.


Through its partnership with IBM, Content Online licenses the Micromedex with Watson solution, which enhances Micromedex evidence-based clinical decision support services with IBM Watson® AI capabilities.


Empowers healthcare professionals

including through a multiyear, countrywide licensing contract with Norway

Drives sales with Watson-enhanced capabilities

that enable natural language queries and deliver clear, concise answers

Increases patient safety with a partnership

that delivers medication data through a single, web-based solution

Business challenge story

Reliable medication data

Physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, medical researchers and other clinicians need accurate, up-to-date drug reference information. Nothing less than patient safety and health are at stake.

As a digital content distributor, Content Online strives to deliver this information to them. Specializing in marketing and sales for international publishers and providers, the small company licenses journals, conference proceedings, standards, eBooks and other digital solutions to customers across Europe, with a focus on the Nordic countries, Ireland and the UK.

In May 2019, Content Online, in Carlisle, UK, merged with Wize Nordic, in Stockholm, Sweden, and the newly formed company continues to operate under the Content Online brand name. IBM was among the key business associates Wize Nordic brought to the union.

For approximately 20 years, Wize Nordic successfully sold the IBM Micromedex clinical knowledge solution under different brand names. “Micromedex was a pioneer in the area of evidence-based drug information and making it available in an easy, accessible and trustworthy form,” says Dan Ahlskog, Client Account Executive, Content Online. “Before Micromedex came along, I think most professionals relied on the PubMed database or went directly to the medical literature.”

Over the years, Wize Nordic developed a dedicated customer base for Micromedex solutions, including hospitals and pharmacies, pharmaceutical research companies, medical schools, drug information and poison control centers, national medicine agencies, and regulatory agencies. Notably, the company negotiated a multiyear, countrywide contract with the Norwegian government and other influential stakeholders to license the Micromedex offering to all healthcare professionals and patients in Norway through the RELIS national drug information database.

Moving forward, the newly formed Content Online sought to capitalize on this long-term relationship with IBM to expand its Micromedex footprint in Europe.

Micromedex was a pioneer in the area of evidence-based drug information and making it available in an easy, accessible and trustworthy form.

Dan Ahlskog, Client Account Executive, IBM Business Partner Content Online Ltd.

Transformation story

Cognitive search functionality spurs sales

Content Online currently markets and sells the Micromedex with Watson solution, an IBM Watson Health™ offering that enhances Micromedex evidence-based clinical decision support services with Watson AI capabilities. It also licenses the IBM Micromedex NeoFax® and Pediatrics web and mobile application and IBM Micromedex Pharmaceutical Knowledge solution.

With the Micromedex with Watson offering, Content Online can provide customers with a single, web-based solution for information, including dosing and medication management for 2,700 European Medicines Agency (EMA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs; 3,591 disease and condition management documents; and 1,788 detailed protocols for toxicology and exposure management.

In addition, users can more quickly find the information they need by activating the solution’s conversational search assistant, built with Watson natural language search capabilities. Users can simply type their questions in the assistant in a natural way and receive clear, appropriate answers on a broad range of topics, including for drug classes, dosing and administration, intravenous (IV) compatibility, medication safety, mechanism of action, pharmacokinectics and drug interactions.

The company also works with IBM to pilot test integration of Micromedex with Watson content with customers’ electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Their goal is to help organizations create workflows where physicians and other clinicians can quickly access pertinent drug data while reviewing patient records, without having to log in to a separate system. “I think this can now finally happen with the help of all the resources and knowledge that IBM has in the area of healthcare IT,” explains Ahlskog.

Joining Micromedex content with customers’ EMR systems would also help Content Online deepen its understanding of how its customers use Micromedex content. With these insights, the company can deliver higher value through new consulting and integration services.

Results story

A strong partnership increases patient safety

Content Online currently licenses the Micromedex with Watson solution to approximately 70 accounts and looks forward to growing that number through its strategic relationship with IBM. The addition of Watson search functionality has helped Content Online secure renewal agreements from existing customers and generate interest from prospective ones. “We've got a lot of positive feedback from many major customers,” comments Ahlskog. “There's a curiosity of what’s coming up next, so they definitely want to continue to license the Micromedex content.”

In addition to its industry-leading Micromedex solutions, IBM offers the small company multiple resources, from marketing content to IT expertise, to help it successfully develop new business. By exchanging information and collaborating with IBM through several touchpoints, Content Online can then more fully engage with customers at in-depth levels. IBM, in turn, benefits from Content Online’s CRM system and streamlined processes, developed internally so that sales reps can efficiently deliver accurate customer data to its associates. Content Online also provides extensive marketplace knowledge and contacts to help increase IBM’s reach across Europe.

“We're renowned as building extremely strong relationships with our stakeholders and customers,” says Michael Barber, Marketing and Communications Manager, Content Online. “We’re a well-structured team, and it allows us to go above and beyond … We can focus more on the customer's interests and what they need.”

Content Online anticipates using its established sales networks to help nurture and secure everything from single-organization agreements to consortia-type deals, as it did with Norway. Ultimately, through its partnership with IBM, Content Online can empower clinicians and drive higher satisfaction by connecting them to high-quality medical information services.

In another Nordic country, for example, the company licenses the solution to a regional healthcare provider, whose pharmaceutical information specialists have become model users, says Ahlskog. “They use the resource to its full extent. They know all the benefits and features and how they can use them to give clinicians the best possible service around drug treatment and decision support.”

business logo

Content Online Ltd.

IBM Business Partner Content Online provides digital content to academic, corporate, government, healthcare and other organizations across Europe. It represents many of the world’s leading publishers, including scientific, technical and medical publishers, business and humanities publishers, and university presses. Formed in 2006 and strengthened through the recent merger of two established digital content providers, the business has approximately 950 customers and employs 20 people in its main offices in Carlisle and Stockholm.

About Watson Health

Watson Health is a business unit of IBM that is dedicated to the development and implementation of cognitive and data-driven technologies to advance health. Watson Health technologies are tackling a wide range of the world's biggest healthcare challenges, including cancer, diabetes, drug development and more.

Solution component

Take the next step

Explore partnership opportunities with Watson Health. To learn more, please visit the following website: