Welcome to the latest edition of the Physicians Practice Pearls Podcast. In this podcast, we'll bring you some of the most interesting and influential guests in healthcare. If you have any ideas for podcast guests or topics, email us at [email protected].
Today's physician needs to be tech savvy, says Elson Lai, MD, an independent ophthalmologist out of Los Angeles. If not, they'll have a tougher time attracting patients.
This is why Dr. Lai has made it a point to invest in his practice with up-to-date technology: Apple computers across the board, an iPad he uses to chart while seeing patients, a snazzy website that allows patients to schedule appointments, and more.
"Doctors are almost like a consumer [business] right now. [Patients] go online, they check Yelp, they check Google, Healthgrades. They do a lot of checks before they even go to the doctor to make sure they are going to the right person," says Lai.
Lai joined Ken Comée, a Silicon Valley venture capital veteran and the CEO of CareCloud, a cloud-based EHR and practice management systems vendor based in Miami, on this week's edition of the Physicians Practice Pearls Podcast. The ophthalmologist's interest in technology is a rarity among doctors, especially in the independent world. The Physicians Practice Technology Survey recently revealed that most practices haven't optimized themselves with technology beyond the EHR. Lai and Comée talked about why many doctors are hesitant to go beyond the EHR.
"I wouldn't say [doctors] are slower to adopt, as much as I would say they've been disappointed by the options they've had in the past. That's caused a little reticence, especially [with the] EHR, where the government's subsidizing the digitization of health records may have gotten a little ahead of itself. The technology was not ready," Comée says, who adds the drive to value-based payment and the increasing consumerization of healthcare will turn the tide in terms of the usability of systems and physician adoption.
Lai added that age has a lot to do with it: "You're seeing a wave of the older generation doctors because they are on their way out. There's the newer wave of doctors coming in and adopting these new technologies because whether they like it or not, they have to do it."
The two also touched upon how they view the effectiveness of current health IT systems, as both a doctor and a health IT executive. The Tech Survey also found 75 percent of practices would give the health IT industry a failing grade for not providing physicians with systems they like to use. Both were far more lenient with their grades and analysis.
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