2011 Tech Survey: At Practices, Docs Don’t Always Control the Wallet

June 29, 2011

Who makes the technology purchasing decisions at your practice? Chances are it isn’t the physicians who actually use the technology - unless you’re part of a small, independent practice.

Note: This is the fourth in a series of blog entries delving into the results of our 2011 Physicians Practice Technology Survey. Full results of our latest technology survey are now available at www.physicianspractice.com/technology-survey.

Who makes the technology purchasing decisions at your practice? Chances are it isn’t the physicians who actually use the technology - unless you’re part of a small, independent practice.

According to data from the Physicians Practice 2011 Technology Survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2011, physicians have less say on what technology gets used when their practices are owned by a hospital or integrated delivery network. While 46 percent of respondents from independent practices said physicians are the chief decision makers when it comes to selecting and investing in products, a mere six percent of respondents from hospital-owned practices said the same.

Though most physicians at both independent and hospital-owned practices get some say - whether they make the decision to invest alongside managers, or managers decide up to a certain price point before letting physicians weigh in - there seems to be a bit of frustration among docs who don’t get to choose their EHR.

 What’s more, a handful of the 100 survey respondents who offered additional feedback to this question took the time to “voice” their complaints.

“Senior MD leadership who hasn’t seen a patient in years decides,” said one.

Another told us “the hospital says ‘this is what you get.’”

And another: “The managers select a panel of young, tech-savvy physicians and ignore the experienced physicians with larger practices.”

 

Technology consultant Bruce Kleaveland told us that as more and more practices fuse with integrated delivery networks, they’ll have to get used to giving up some of their purchasing power.

“When you’re part of a hospital delivery network, you’re not driving,” he said.