Want ad: Scooter maker seeks HME manufacturer

Thursday, January 31, 2002

YARMOUTH, Maine - Physicians approach online correspondence and documentation with the same attitude they do about paper: it's a peripheral part of their job, taking a much lower priority than treating patients and collecting fees.

After all, the doctor gets no compensation for taking time to fill out CMNs and send them to an HME provider, whether they be done electronically or through the postal service. And when you add on their concern over complex HIPAA-related patient privacy rules, it doesn't seem likely that the Internet can change this outlook.

This is where the chairman and CEO of Austin, Texas-based eClickMD steps in. If Bob Rice's strategy pans out the way he hopes, it could also help the HME provider community as well. The industry could use it: a recent HME News poll that found 80% of provider respondents claiming they weren't communicating with physicians online.

Founded in 1996, eClickMD offers online software for physicians that allows them to handle e-CMNs easily through an e-mail system. In addition, the company serves as a clearinghouse for sensitive patient information, ensuring HIPAA compliance, Rice said.

The answer to selling physicians on the merits of online correspondence, documentation and record-keeping, Rice said, is in how well they can be convinced it will increase revenue and HIPAA compliance while decreasing overhead. So far, he claims the company has made inroads in demonstrating its case.

"Every doctor's office is littered with stacks of paper," Rice said. "We show them how to eliminate the clutter and organize their paperwork so that it moves smoothly through our system and allows them to communicate electronically. CMNs, for instance, can be scanned by the provider and transmitted to the physician. In turn they are reviewed and by clicking an icon, the doctor can place a signature on the document and send it back."

Participating providers are charged a flat monthly fee to subscribe to the eClickMD service.

David Pfeil, dir. of the Healthcare Automation Consulting Division for East Brunswick, N. J.-based Arrow Professional Enterprises, is also developing a system to connect providers and physicians, called Medi-Gate.

"Instead of writing another application, we provide the conduit to bundle everyone together with one connectivity," Pfeil said. "That would include e-CMNs. Physicians would also be able to check prescriptions, forms and certification forms online. By bundling them all together, we will get their attention." HME