Monday, October 17, 2011

The New Networks

 

During the past ten years we have witnessed exponential growth in networking, social media, medical connectivity, remote telemedicine and video-conferencing.

This is only one of the major changes in the business of practicing our ‘craft.Passivity in adopting new technology is never a good thing, except if one is less than five years from retiring in a solo practice, and even then adopting modern technology adds value to a practice sale price, or recruiting young physicians.  Young physicians are trained in EMR and are facile with digital media and communications and wish to practice in an EMR setting.

                                                                 

Soon, not having an EMR will be a bit like still using a rotary telephone. The usual and customary communications will be digital using an EMR, Health Information Exchange and internet for routine tasks. 

For those who have not adopted EMR, there are already portals for eRx, Laboratory results, Remote scheduling, telemedicine.

The human-machine interface is transitioning from keyboards and laptops to tablets,, which are hand held, and use voice recognition. Each iteration of these devices adds more features and more powerful processors.

My analysis is that even solo practitioners need to invest in EMR. It will form a cohesive network between your practice and the rest of medicine, hospitals, and referring sources.

Health Information Exchanges are coming to fruition in many areas, and the combination of EMR users now makes these networks necessary to complete the loop.

It has been a long journey beginning back in 2005, but as the years go by much has happened.

Private medical practice will survive and those who adapt early will insure their survival by doing so.

What is absolutely essential is that physicians become proactive and lead the movement, otherwise we will see what has happened with health care reform will occur with electronic medical records, and health information exchanges.

Governance and interoperability standards and certifying bodies are now in place. Meaningful use is here and now meaningful usability is critical for further adoption. Whatever gain in effectiveness using EMR can be diminished by inefficient software and hindrance of usual and customary workflow.

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