Bust the Barriers

Dr. Benjamin Brewer is always worth the read.  His column today is especially pertinent to recent discussions on this blog:

Highlights:

1. Any form of communication has to make it easier to reach the doctor.

“The patients who send me email prefer to use their regular, unsecure email.  When it comes to e-visits my patients don’t seem to want another password to remember.”

2. Any type of consultation with a doctor should be paid for the same way.

“And they really don’t want to pay the $30 I charge for an online consultation and that their insurance doesn’t usually cover.”

3. Technology companies that make their money by skimming more than a bit off the top are not going to see widespread adoption of their products by physicians.

“Right now it costs my practice $1,800 a year to maintain our cool Web site. The company that provides it wants a $6 transaction fee for each e-visit, and 50 cents for every appointment and prescription refill I process with their software.”

4. Integration. Integration. Integration.  If the product doesn’t work (well!) with existing technology, don’t even try.

“Secure email programs can be had free, but they don’t integrate well with physicians’ EMR systems.”

A blatant work around in reponse to a system that is holding back innovation: “Other doctors have a low-cost Web site and keep a paper copy of their patients’ credit cards in a locked office file cabinet for billing e-visits and phone consultations.”

EMR companies looking to unseat the big guys or to set your product apart: “When my EMR allows patients to book appointments, order refills and leave me a video, voice, or text message with a cellphone we will have arrived.”

Immensely frustrating (to lots of people).

Possible approach: rogue bandit sets out to defeat the beast of tradition and practice medicine limitation free.

Someone has.

(His name is Jay Parkinson.)

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