Tom Davenport raises a good question in his post on the democratization of healthcare costs and whether physicians should be online. Democratization of knowledge is basically a fancy word that means the knowledge is out there for us to find and use, all we have to do is search. Witness WebMD. You can get fairly indepth coverage of virtually all illnesses and diseases on their site. If we arrive at the physicians office with a good idea of what is wrong with us, why should we have to go into the office anyway…with the caveat that the physician has a medical history on us and has “seen” us previously.

…since you only get about 7 minutes on average of face-to-face time with your doc, it’s not as if we are giving up an intimate, in-depth relationship. No muss, no fuss, no bricks-and-mortar, and the insurance company gets by very cheaply” (Davenport, 2008, ¶ 7).

This is so true in today’s medical community. The insurance companies are constantly squeezing physicians (as well as other health care practitioners) in reimbursement rates. This seems a logical next step for the practice of medicine, provided the physician has a good medical history on any patient that is treated in this manner. I don’t know enough about the makeup of a traditional family practitioners day to know how many of those visits could be accomplished online, but if a nurse practitioner oversees most visits anyway and prescribes medication, why not let some of that interaction happen online?

This also seems to be a very good argument for electronic health records (EHR’s) that have languished in most implementations.

— Davenport, Tom. (2008, August 19). “Is It Time for Your Doctor to Get Online?” Harvard Business. http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/davenport/2008/08/post.html.

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