Editor's Corner

 

So we're back to this, again--the issue of doctors not being good online citizens. At this point, I think consumers may be getting a bit annoyed. Yet another piece has appeared in a consumer publication expressing surprise that doctors don't spend more time on the Internet or on email communicating with them. 

If you can order from Domino's online, why not set up an appointment with your PCP or get a test result, much less exchange a few simple email messages, they wonder. And from a purely technical standpoint, they're right, of course--physically speaking, setting these functions up wouldn't require reinventing the art of Web applications.

Heaven knows doctors would love to do anything they can to make their lives easier. And aside from the hours that would be involved in writing smart email messages, most of the other functions would actually save time. So does this mean it's urgent for doctors to move ahead here? I'd argue that the answer is "yes" if they want to be at all sophisticated. 

Right now, realistically, most doctors who get access to such applications will be part of a large system like Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which just set up a proprietary portal enabling a lot of doctor-patient interaction. But few smaller practices have the resources to do that right. Luckily, there's a raft of applications that are gearing up to help them do just that--many of which will be premiering at the HIMSS show at the end of this month--which weren't on the market even a few months ago.

Some of these new applications (look for our pending Awards to tell you about some of them) will even make it easy for the small practices that make up the bulk of non-adapters technically.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that when it comes to e-doctoring, it should be a very interesting period of change over the next few months. Keep your eyes peeled...and I will too. -Anne

P.S. Please note that next week we'll be publishing on Tuesday the 20th, rather than Monday the 19th, due to the President's Day holiday. Enjoy your long weekend, and we'll see you on the 20th.

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