Cleveland Connects Physicians “Within3� Degrees Worldwide

Physicians around the globe are making closer connections, reaching out to trusted peers to share professional expertise through Cleveland-based S.M.A.R.T. Link Medical, Inc. and its physician networking Web site, is an Internet-based social network for physicians and researchers to exchange information based on best practices and knowledge related to the diagnosis and treatment of illness. The site, which was recently moved from its beta site, is designed to create a professional network where physicians can rely on credible and trusted information from their peers. It also offers a reliable vehicle for referrals.

Michael J. Markus, Ph.D., president of S.M.A.R.T. Link, said, “With the growing number of online social networks available to very specific audiences, it made great sense to link medical professionals more closely together, providing them with a forum to exchange dependable information that can benefit the patients they treat as well as their overall practice of medicine.� is a non-public site, accessible only to members who have been invited to join the network. Physicians invite their trusted colleagues, who in turn can invite other highly regarded peers, growing the network of respected medical professionals into an international alliance. Markus said, “The network provides a new channel of communication to a geographically diverse medical community, making connections on a very personal level possible.�

Hospitals and health care systems can bring their entire physician groups into the network. Within five years, S.M.A.R.T. Link expects nearly 20 percent of U.S. physicians will have access to, as well as a growing number of international physician groups.

Markus and his partners, Heather McGuire and Brian N. Smith, Ph.D., founded S.M.A.R.T. Link Medical, Inc. in 2004. The founders recently moved their headquarters to Cleveland but will retain an office in Philadelphia. The company develops intellectual property related to online social networks and has a number of patent-pending technologies for implementing social network science online. was originally launched in beta form ( in March 2006 and offered internationally in August 2006.

Jim Weisman, director of business development for BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based biotech commercialization and business assistance initiative that helped launch S.M.A.R.T. Link, said, “We chose to add S.M.A.R.T. Link to our group of portfolio companies because of its ability to address distinct unmet needs and deliver clear benefits to so many groups and levels of physician connectivity: hospitals, medical schools, physician practice groups, clinical trials, targeted disease states, medical societies, therapeutic interest areas and basic research.�

S.M.A.R.T. Link’s McGuire said, “There are a number of credible Web sites offering health care information, but is not your typical online medical site. It is geared specifically toward physicians to enable them to reach out to one another in real time and receive credible information from peers they respect and trust. It’s a great tool to expand one’s professional wisdom and connections.�

Smith added, “In addition to providing a forum for information sharing and collaboration, Within3 enables physicians and researchers to find and filter the world’s medical information – including resources on the Web, in medical journals, clinical trial databases, and from experience – using their own networks of trusted colleagues and group affiliations.�

Additional member benefits include time-saving personalized searches; a secure, spam-free peer-to-peer message system; real-time feedback metrics regarding connectivity; and a free auto-generated customizable public or private Web site.

About S.M.A.R.T. Link Medical, Inc.

S.M.A.R.T. Link fuses social network science and proprietary Internet technology to enable an online network of unique value to physicians and researchers in the health sciences and to large organizations in the health care industry to work in collaboration. Headquartered in Cleveland, S.M.A.R.T. Link was established in 2004 and is a portfolio company of BioEnterprise, a non-profit business accelerator chartered by the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Summa Health System. S.M.A.R.T. Link operates, a unique online health care community connecting trusted physicians and researchers throughout the world.

About BioEnterprise

BioEnterprise ( is a business formation, recruitment, and acceleration effort designed to support the growth of bioscience companies. Located in Cleveland, BioEnterprise provides management counsel and support services to health care companies. BioEnterprise’s partners are Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Summa Health System. Additional technology partners include the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland State University, NorTech and Omeris.

The initiative comprises the collective activities of BioEnterprise and its partners’ commercialization offices: the Case Office of Technology Transfer, Cleveland Clinic Innovations, University Hospitals Case Medical Center – Center for Clinical Research and Summa Enterprise Group. The combined efforts of these groups has created, recruited and accelerated more than 50 companies in four years.
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