As I become more of a healthcare tech geek, each experience at my own physician’s office turns into a discovery mission. My most recent visit to the doctor was a healthy visit last week. My poor physician had no idea he was heading into an interview when he entered my room.

“Are you using EMR? How far into the adoption process are you? What system are you using? What factors are influencing that decision? Have you seen any financial or clinical benefits from adoption?

Luckily, he was happy to talk. He’s not in charge of his practice's EMR adoption but his partner is and had attended HIMSS (http://www.himssconference.org/). My doctor has some serious reservations.

His first was patient relationships. His wife went to her doctor for a visit last month and the doctor only made eye contact with her once during a 20-minute visit. The rest of the time, her doctor was busy entering data into a computer. Yikes. I understand why my physician has reservations. The clinical data proposition is powerful to many doctors but if it is at the expense of the patient relationship that drives patient loyalty and perceived visit value, it isn’t worth it to them.

His second was his affiliated health system’s “solution” does not work for his practice for many reasons.  Physicians desire customized solutions, which carry a heavy price tag.  Based on this, the subscription-based models likely have the most growth opportunity with this market. They are easy to implement, many times can “talk” to any number of the existing major HIT systems, and physicians can see faster ROI.

My doctor is a small business owner. His customers (READ: patients) are his lifeblood and any investment must be heavily weighed against time-to-ROI.  It makes sense that he’s not jumping on the bandwagon or, perhaps, off the bridge, in this case.

HIT providers desire to market to the big dogs – the hospitals and health systems – but these networks will not function properly until our local physicians are active participants.  To get them ingrained, HIT marketers must provide the “what’s in it for me” for individual practices and physician groups.  HIT marketers should take a cue from small business tech marketers and make the value proposition clear and easily achievable.

(Warning: shameless plug) I do know some marketing experts in SMB tech and healthcare if anyone is looking…

— Elin Nozewski

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