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Smart Phone Health Exam at TEDMED

Posted on April 22, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the big announcements going into TEDMED was the idea of a Smart Phone Physical. It was such an intriguing proposition that Katie wrote about it here and Anne wrote about it here. Maybe that means we should coordinate content more, but in some ways I think it’s interesting to see what topics my writers find worthy to write about. The fact that they both independently wrote about the concept says something important.

I think the core message is clear: we all would love a smart phone physical. I think this is underscored by the opposing idea that we all hate going to the doctor. It’s not about the doctor in particular, I love the doctors I’ve seen. There’s just nothing beautiful about the experience of going to the doctor. Those visits are plagued by long wait times, added expense, uncomfortable situations, and often poor customer service.

I realize there are exceptions to the above, but this is the stigma of a visit to the doctor. Some of this can be solved by rethinking the physician visit (something some doctors have really done well) and some of it is just inherent with the nature of a medical visit. The later is difficult to change. The former is likely why the smart phone physical is so intriguing from a patient perspective. It flips the experience on the head and in many ways takes out the unpleasant parts of a visit to the doctor.

Although, the following tweet illustrates that just doing the physical on the smart phone won’t solve all the issues:

Just because the visit is electronic doesn’t mean that they can’t still have long wait times, added expense, and poor customer service, but I still love the idea of my kids terrorizing my house instead of the waiting room.

Practice Fusion EMR Brings Patients Into The Picture

Posted on I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Practice Fusion was one of the first free, advertising supported, cloud-based EMR to enter the market and has likely been the loudest proponent of free EMR software. Although, they have some interesting Free EMR competitors like Mitochon and Kareo. Since 2007, Practice Fusion has focused on offering unfettered access to its product in exchange for physicians being willing to accept advertisements relevant to the health records they’re using and the aggregate use of the EHR data.

The company, which has raked in venture capital in buckets since its founding, now says it has 150,000 healthcare providers using its EMR and records on 60 million patients, according to a piece in The New York Times.

Now, the company has taken another step in its free-for-all model with a new service it calls Patient Fusion. Patient Fusion is a new service which allows patients using the system to schedule appointments with any participating doctor who uses the EMR. It also allows patients to rate the doctors in question and to access their records with permission. So far, 27,000 of Practice Fusion’s EMR users have signed up for the service, the Times reports.

The Times columnist covering this announcement speculates that Practice Fusion has launched its new product as a means of building up patient traffic, but I don’t see how that would work. Patients may see more of their records, but this won’t necessarily do anything to increase the number of doctor-based views the network can sell to lab companies and pharmas.

On the other hand, Patient Fusion could prove to be a powerful way of attracting and keeping doctors who want to offer easy-to-administer appointment scheduling to patients. Also, getting patients engaged with their medical records is very much in the spirit of Meaningful Use and the ONC’s priorities generally, so this new patient feature could be a beacon for doctors going through MU-motivated EMR switching this year.

Bottom line, this seems like a nifty idea. I predict that most of Practice Fusion’s EMR customers will sign up over the next year or so.