Recovering from a little Spring flu but of course we have still been keeping up with some of the most interesting stories regarding the intersection of health care and technology. I want to briefly recap some previous posts with updated information.
We discussed the primary care crisis and the interesting solution of creating a doctor of nursing practice degree to fill the void of primary care physicians. I still think this is a reasonable idea if managed in the correct way so that medical doctors are still readily available for consultation when more complicated patients require care. My biggest issue with the DNP was that as a M.D. doctor it would be ideal if there were a better title for the DNP so as not to cause patient confusion. To update there was an interesting blog on pharmacists increasing their role in primary care. Having worked with an excellent pharmD in the past, I think this is a great idea. A pharmacist can be a great resource for patients when it comes to questions about medications and I argue could manage small medication adjustments just as well as physicians. The additional advantage comes in that actively involved pharmacists would be better equipped to help prevent medication errors.
There was a recent breach at the NIH where patient records were stolen from a doctor’s laptop. I argued that though these crimes of health care related information are serious they tend to be used as an excuse for not implementing electronic medical records (EMR) or other web based health care tools. My argument against limiting implementation of EMR’s is based on my experiences of paper based records being the least secure method conceivable for maintaining patient privacy. Having worked in a hospital with EMR’s and one without, the loose paper trail and privacy breaches when EMR’s are not implemented are atrocious. A colleague of mine brought up a great point one time, when a patient is hospitalized no less than 50 people are aware. This includes the doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, radiology techs, transporters, cleaning staff etc. To think a hospitalization is a private experience is a expectation based purely in fantasy. Using EMR’s will at least create a way for hospitals to monitor who is viewing records and make sure those records are only being viewed when necessary. This is how UCLA has been able to track down the staff members involved in the recent breeches of celebrity patients. Another point I made in this post was that medical information has little to no street value, this is compared to social security numbers and bank account information. Well, here is the evidence for that position. A patient admissions rep at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York sold 2,000 patient records for a whopping $1350. That’s less than 68 cents per record. Again, these security issues are important but considering a large percentage of us just recently e-filed are taxes and are awaiting our refunds to be direct deposited, which required providing our government a social security number and bank account number, these security issues should not continue to be used to prevent the progress in web based health care technology that will lead to more efficient and improved patient outcomes.
This was simply an introduction to what we are looking to accomplish with SavvyDoc. Through my experiences I have seen how difficult it can be for patients to obtain access to a quality physician or dentist. We are also aware that it is expensive and difficult for doctors to create a strong presence on the Internet. SavvyDoc is looking to be a simple and inexpensive alternative for both doctors and patients. This recent NY Times article on plastic surgeons and examining the expense of marketing cosmetic practices illustrates a lot of the pain we are alleviating with SavvyDoc. This article touches on the expense of obtaining and maintaining a website that is search engine optimized as well as the expense of being listed in a doctor search engine. Many doctors cannot justify these expenses but understand that they should have virtual access to their patients. SavvyDoc will provide an easy to use tool that puts doctor’s in control of how they are marketed and how patients find their doctor’s information on the web.