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TECHNOLOGY: New Health Care IT booster groups popping up all over the place (and news from Manhattan on eRx)

There’s a real mood of boosterism following Stalin’s Brailer and HHS’ 10 year plan to get health IT up and running. First a group of technology companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Allscripts, NDCHealth, HP and industry alliances Surescripts, RxHUB & NCPDP all herded by consultants CapGemini have formed a booster group for ePrescribing called CafeRx.help physicians get access to EMRs and presumably put its nose under the tent for any Federal dollars that may be available to help.Manhattan Research about ePharma docs. They now estimate that:

Next, the AAFP, the EMR project of which Star Wars fans may remember I wrote about a while back, has joined with a bunch more medical societies to form the Physicians Electronic Health Record Coalition which will ostensibly

While I may sound a little cynical about all this, it’s actually good news as it indicates that something may really be happening. Of course we saw some level of this activity in the 1990s with WEDI and the IOM’s CPR report and not much came of it. But the idea of EMR’s seems to be one that’s time has finally come.

To that end, it’s worth looking at the new research out from survey wonks

According to the study, the ePharma Physician market has grown to 379,000 practicing physicians, representing 64% of all U.S. practicing physicians today. Physicians are using online technologies for a broad range of purposes: to find information about drugs and treatment options, participate in electronic detailing for pharma sales, prescribe medications, streamline information at point of care, communicate with colleagues and others, and pursue continuing medical education (CME). About 40% of survey participants were primary care practitioners; 60% were specialists. Requirements for study participation included 1) issuing over 40 prescriptions per week and 2) currently using, or very interested in using, PDA, e-detailing, eCME, and/or pharmaceutical information online.

Over a six-month period, ePharma Physicians visited a variety of sites for health and medical information. Sites were used to research 46 conditions, from acid reflux to erectile dysfunction, hypertension to weight management. Sites most often visited included WebMD,Medscape, Medline/NLM/PubMed, MDConsult, and Merck Medicus. Most ePharma Physicians—87%—report that the Internet is a critical resource for information on prescription drugs and other treatment options. This percentage is a 15% increase over the previous year’s response. Information obtained online can lead to a change in course: Over three-quarters of those surveyed said their behavior sometimes or often changed as a result of what they found online.

Over half of ePharma Physicians find certain online offerings more effective than traditional offline marketing. These offerings include websites with disease information offered by a non-pharma/biotech company, online CME, and sponsored sites with disease information provided by a pharma/biotech company.

Most ePharma Physicians (79%) responded favorably to the concept of physician-targeted customer service portals offered by pharma/biotech companies. The top five services of greatest importance to respondents include links to medical education, disease information directly on the portal, links to CME resources, patient education materials, and links to disease information. Compared to last year’s study, a 28% increase was noted in ePharma Physicians who expect online customer service from the pharma and biotech companies they regularly deal with.

While most of these nerdy eRx docs are probably just using ePocrates’ downloadable PDR for actual clinical tools, it’s a start on the eRx front. And where eRx goes I believe the EMR will surely follow.

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