Stimulus + Technology = Better Health Care Delivery

Via Karen Zupko

As of 2008, 83% of U.S. physicians believed the internet is essential to their professional practice and 60% used the internet daily for professional reasons. However, adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) has been slower growing from 12% in 2001 to only 33% in 2008. So as part of the recently passed Stimulus Bill, the U.S. Government will create an incentive package to accelerate EMR adoption that will provide physicians up to a $44K reward for those who begin to use EMRs by 2011. Those who have not adopted by 2015 will begin to suffer financial penalties.

Clearly, this will have a significant influence on physician “e” behavior in the United States. The incentives will drive adoption of more sophisticated hardware and software. The online environment will become an even more natural place for physicians to communicate and exchange information. And, over time, we could expect that programs we develop that relate to patient information collection (such as REMS) will need to align with these systems to deliver optimal usability and seamless data management.

My Take: As I have stated I think the Obama administration is going to usher in an accelerated path to leveraging technology in all facets of health care delivery. The stimulus will likely provide a boost on the physician side. Adoption of new technology is often like a marathon where "the last mile" is often the hardest. Doctors under tremendous pressure can follow the money.

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