Physicians Increasingly Use Hand-Held Computers
Physicians are increasingly incorporating information technology such as hand-held computers into their practices, largely due to patient demand and realized efficiencies, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. In addition, the "need" to avoid preventable medical errors is "pushing" doctors and institutions to rely on information technology (McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/22.) Recent news about hand-held technologies for care providers include the following:
- Baton Rouge, La.-based MD Technologies, a "high-tech" company that develops practice management software for physicians, has developed MedTopia, a system that doctors can use to computerize different aspects of their practices. MD Technologies also is developing Mobile MedTopia, which integrates the MedTopia software into a hand-held device. The company estimates that the product could save practices between $12,000 and $20,000 per year. Emory University in January formed a partnership with the company, and has agreed to use MedTopia to manage its medical records (Gautreau, Baton Rouge Advocate, 4/22).
- In a similar venture, Tufts Health Plan will give 200 of its network physicians hand-held computers on which to write prescriptions, in an effort to "eliminate handwriting errors, lost orders and other pharmacy hassles." The program is a partnership between Tufts, the national pharmacy benefits manager AdvancePCS and software manufacturer PocketScript. Using the device, doctors can write and transmit prescriptions, check for "dangerous" drug interactions and determine which drugs the patient's health plan covers. PocketScript estimates that about 20 different companies have distributed wireless, hand-held computers to between 8,000 and 10,000 doctors nationwide (Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, 4/21).
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