Tech Roundup: Virtual Visits, EMR Loans And A New E-Prescribing Tool

The New York Times: "Telemedicine has the potential to improve quality of care by allowing clinicians in one 'control center' to monitor, consult and even care for and perform procedures on patients in multiple locations," Doctor and Patient columnist Pauline Chen writes. "A rural primary care practitioner who sees a patient with a rare skin lesion, for example, can get expert consultation from a dermatologist at a center hundreds of miles away."

The Times continues, "But despite its promise, telemedicine has failed to take hold in the same way that other, newer, technologies have. Not because of technical challenges, expense or insufficient need. On the contrary, the most daunting obstacle to date has been a deeply entrenched resistance on the part of providers" (Chen, 1/7).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: United Health Group's technology wing, Ingenix Inc., will begin offering interest-free loans to help physicians buy electronic medical records, another incentive that will coincide with economic stimulus bonus payments to physicians who adopt records beginning next year. In addition, "one of the biggest players in the field -- Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions of Chicago -- plans to unveil Monday its own loan offer for a similar product aimed at small doctors' practices" (Yee, 1/8).

The Associated Press/The Seattle Times: Meanwhile, "CVS said it will stop offering its iScribe prescription tool and transition thousands of clients to products made by Allscripts. E-prescribing allows physicians to send prescriptions directly to a pharmacy by e-mail, and gives the physician information about potential drug interactions and the patient's health insurance. They can also use it to follow up with patients about unfilled prescriptions" (1/7).

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