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Can a surge in physicians' use of smartphones ripple to health IT adoption?

For all the incentivizing, prompting and pleading to get physicians to adopt health IT, perhaps no one could have predicted 20 years ago that the cell phone would have the biggest impact on adoption rates. Evidence comes in a recent report, "Taking the Pulse v9.0," issued by Manhattan Research. It found that 64% of doctors, more than double the number eight years ago, are using smartphones -- iPhones, BlackBerrys, Treos and other hand-held devices with phone, wireless Internet access and robust applications that bring formerly desktop solutions to the palm. "You have to make it very easy for the average doctor," said Denis Harris, MD, a solo orthopedic surgeon from Washington, D.C., who runs most of his practice from his iPhone. Dr. Harris, 63, said that by having the technology mobile, many physicians who avoided IT adoption because they thought it would be obtrusive are now taking a second look. According to Manhattan's research, some of the most widely used mobile applicati ...

California may require public notice of medical license

By this fall, California physicians may have to notify patients via a waiting-room sign or written statement that the Medical Board of California licenses them. They also may be required to provide patients the board's toll-free phone number and Web site address. Medical board officials say the notice would inform consumers about the agency's existence. Despite news releases, an extensive Web site and outreach to physician and consumer groups, not enough people are aware of the board and what it does, they said. "This is the most efficient way to reach consumers in a very brief, nonconfrontational way," board spokeswoman Candis Cohen said. But the plan doesn't sit well with some physicians, including the California Medical Assn. The physician group opposes the proposed regulation, believing that the state's physicians already inform patients that the medical board licenses them. Doctors typically hang their licenses on the wall, and the state's business and profession code req ...

Broader approach to value-based purchasing sought for Medicare

Washington A comprehensive, cross-disciplinary approach to managing Medicare benefits based on the value that they provide to patients is one of the keys to major reform of the health care delivery system, said Robert A. Berenson, MD, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Dr. Berenson, who spoke at a March 11 policy forum hosted by America's Health Insurance Plans, said this concept of value-based purchasing goes much deeper than a simple attempt to cut dollars out of the program's budget. "It's not about just trying to get costs lower, but also about getting better quality and responsiveness to patients." The Medicare physician fee schedule, for example, might be based not only on the relative costs of providing the services but also on the value provided to beneficiaries. A value-based purchaser might try to adjust payment levels to increase geriatric services for patients with multiple chronic conditions rather than boost adva ...