Study: e-CMNs must save docs time and money

Thursday, February 28, 2002

NEW YORK - There's no way doctors are going to adopt e-CMNs or any other advanced technology unless it makes them money or allows them to spend more face time with patients, according to a new study, Physicians and Emerging Information Technologies.

"It's save me time or make me money," said Mark Bard, director, health practice for Fulcrum Analytics.

Fulcrum Analytics produced the report with Deloitte Research, and conducted interviews with 1,200 doctors.

The report, along with a similar study last year, produced some surprising insights into how doctors view emerging technology. In particular, doctors aren't, as some commonly believe, technophobes - 95% are online in some capacity each day. However, tools such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) have not been integrated into patient care in such a way as to save doctors time or money, Bard said.

Right now, about 21% of doctors are early adopters of technology, while another 45% are interested but sitting on the sidelines. Key to getting that 45% to join the early adopters appears to be two fold:

- There needs to be online portals that group a number of time-and money-saving activities. In general, doctors aren't going to want to use one Web-based application for e-CMNs, another for e-prescribing and a third for something else. If that's the case it may be just as easy to use pen and paper.

- A PC-based solution probably won't fly. Doctors are always on the go: from exam room to exam room to the hospital to the golf course. The solution needs to be mobile, and will probably end up being some kind of durable hybrid between the PDA and pen tablet. "Physicians don't sit behind a desktop like the rest of us in America," Bard said.

While not directly targeting the issue of e-CMNs, the report resonates with industry watchers.

"Unless the technology affords the doctor more patient contact time, then I don't think physicians will find it worth while," said Randi Neal, director of field operating systems for American HomePatient, and a strong proponent of e-CMNs.

HME software guru David Pfeil, director of healthcare consulting for Arrow Professional Enterprise, agrees that a solo e-CMN solution won't cut it.

"It has to be bundled with other services - lab results, e-prescribing, all the things that take up a busy day- that will generate revenue for the physician or be seen as a way of reducing his operation costs," Pfeil said.

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