Mind to Market

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What's Next, House Calls?

A story on the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal describes a physician in Rochester N.Y. who started up a solo practice with just an office and a computer. After working as a staff doctor in the local hospital for eight years, Dr. Gordon Moore figured it took 19 separate actions and 253 feet of walking just to order a prescription refill. With his new software he can order a refill with a few clicks and zero feet of walking. What's wrong with this picture?

The implementation of EMRs in clinical environments is often met with anxiety, resistance or ambivalence. Due to compelling economic pressures on large hospitals they are placed in situations where they are obligated to implement the systems, often at high expense and risk. Smaller practices take a wait and see approach; the economic need is not seen as so compelling as to off set the risk and the pain of implementing the new systems. As I explained in an earlier blog, some of these practices have needed significant subsidies to get their systems up and running.

But when you have an important medical service, such as primary-care healthcare, saved from dwindling numbers of care providers by the implementation of technology, the benefits are undeniable. The key is to find the right combination of systems to fit the current and near-term needs. This may be easier in a solo practice than one with multiple physicians with conflicting needs or perceptions.

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