In the midst of the e-health boom, there were a huge raft of companies hoping to profit from e-prescribing and e-detailing, and there were some very odd business plans about how to pay doctors to receive these "e-details". Well some recent research seems to be indicating that this is starting to take off. Manhattan Research’s ePhysician service (the old CyberDialogue) reports that 50% of doctors seeing more than 50 patients a week and writing more than 50 Rx a week, use or want to use e-detailing, eCME, a PDA or online Rx information–in other words are ripe for e-detailing and interested in e-prescribing. Jupiter reports that of those doctors who use the Internet at least once a week for work (which is most of them) 58% have taken part in at least one e-Detailing session. And of course 85% said that they’d use it more if they got paid to use it. In a related data byte, Harris Interactive reported back in April that by the end of 2002 16% of doctors were using online prescribing and another 21% plan to use it within 18 months.
So the argument I was making back in 1998 and 1999 seems to be coming to pass–the use of information tools by doctors is starting in this country (even if it lags behind those rates of adoption abroad). There’s now a sizable minority using more than just a pen. Partly in response to that Pharma companies are now getting very interested in e-detailing, mostly because they want to cut the costs of sending the nice detail people out to hassle the doctors. So perhaps those odd business plans weren’t so odd.