Skip to content Skip to navigation

You Think the Fastest Way into Doctors' Offices is Thru Their Wallets — don't be so sure...

May 31, 2009
by Jim Feldbaum, M.D.
| Reprints

The practice of medicine is an art; the business of medicine is all about the money. For most doctors I know the quality of the medicine practiced trumps the business of medicine at every turn. For that reason the cash incentives included in the stimulus plan will not cause a stampede to the EMR until there are demonstrable, implementable, functional and practical improvements in the way patients are cared for.

The irony is that doctor’s offices have been electronic for years. The electronic practice management and billing systems were adopted during their various stages of imperfection without much to-do or angst. This fact is not lost on entrepreneurs, who according to an article in ARM the “accounts receivable management” publication, want to enter the EMR space by acquiring practice management companies and thereby capitalize on established relationships with physicians. The CFO of one company started four years ago by “Wall Street consultants” was quoted as saying: “Most EMRs are expensive…that’s why expansion was never widespread…billers are the gatekeepers that control the doctor’s money, being responsible for the transaction we can introduce technology to them.”

Give me a break. Leave it to “Wall Street” consultants to come up with a simplistic solution that presumes that physician resistance is simply one of access. I wonder if any consideration has been given to the central issues of quality, both technical and functional. Maybe we will be the next dot.com-like growth industry for the Wall Street types who have been laid off from the “derivatives desk”.

The present market place is packed with legitimate software companies who understand the challenges inherent in creating and selling software that will grossly impact the way doctors work, think and practice. This is not the time or place for the next generation of “entrepreneurs” looking for easy money to muddy the waters.

Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears

Robert W. Sarnoff

Topics

Comments

Great post Jim. At the last HIMSS conference, I spoke to a group of venture capitalists and implored them to tread lightly in the healthcare space, because the results of bad product getting in the market can boomerang right back at them someday. But I'm not too afraid of doctors buying bad EMRs, seeing as they're not buying that many EMRs as it is.

James Feldbaum

Jim Feldbaum is a physician consultant specializing in clinical transformation, CPOE, and...