Articles, Opinion Pieces Examine Developments in Health Care Information Technology
Several newspapers on Tuesday published articles and opinion pieces related to developments in health care information technology. Summaries appear below:
USA Today: Although a 2002 Harris Interactive survey found that 90% of adults with Internet access favor e-mail communication with their physicians, a 2004 Manhattan Research survey found that less than 20% of physicians use e-mail, Suzanne Leigh, a freelance medical reporter, writes in a USA Today "The Forum" piece. According to Leigh, recent developments such as "safeguarding e-mail, reduced liability and the willingness of some insurers and patients to pay for online visits mean doctors are running out of excuses for not reaching out to their patients on the Internet." Physicians "do us a disservice when they fail to recognize" that "electronic communications should become an integral part of the doctor-patient partnership," she writes (Leigh, USA Today, 6/21).
Wall Street Journal: The Journal on Tuesday examined how "some companies are offering patients a way to cut down on the tedium" of the transfer of their medical histories each time they visit a new physician through "personal health records," which allow patients, medical professionals and family members to access a patient's medical history electronically. The PHR programs examined by the article include iHealthRecord.org, WebMD Health Manager, Walgreen and Personal HealthKey by the CapMed division of Bio-Imaging Technologies (Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal, 6/21).
Wall Street Journal: IT "can and must serve as the primary catalyst for dramatic change" in the U.S. health care system, but such reforms will require private and public organizations to partner to find "approaches in which health care services can be more effectively delivered and managed," Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell, writes in a "Manager's Journal" column. Rollins writes, "Carried out collectively and in the right way, these efforts will redefine traditional health care relationships to benefit consumers and providers" (Rollins, Wall Street Journal, 6/21).
- Washington Post: The Post on Tuesday examined a new Web site -- healthratings.org -- that rates the 20 "most-trafficked" health information sites. The Web site -- developed by Consumer Reports WebWatch, a division of Consumers Union, in collaboration with the Maryland-based Health Improvement Institute -- examines the credibility, privacy policies, usability, design and advertising sponsorship of the health information sites and rates them on a scale of "poor" to "excellent" (Agnvall, Washington Post, 6/21).