The Daily Rise: Friday, July 8

Survey: Doctors fail to effectively use technology to improve patient care

Are doctors effectively using technology to improve patient care?

A new survey commissioned by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices says no. Among the survey’s findings:

  • 49% of doctors report being able to share medical information with other physicians.
  • 50% of doctors provide their patients with a portal to see their laboratory and imaging results.
  • 27% of doctors let patients make an appointment online.
  • 30% of doctors allow patients to communicate by sending a secure email.

“Across the nation, technology is frequently unavailable and underused,” Dr. Robert Pearl writes of the survey findings at Forbes. “Access to medical advice and care off-hours is minimal. And physicians are relatively ineffective at communicating the importance of prevention.”

Technology is here to stay. More needs to be done to increase the use of technology to improve patient care. But that will only happen when health care providers WANT to change. We’re not there yet — with many doctors preferring to take the penalties.

“In a telling comment to an interviewer, the incoming president of the American Medical Association said that he personally refuses to use an EHR, preferring instead to “just take the penalties,” Dr. Pearl reports.

Quote of the Day: Score One for Innovation

“What we do here is very special” — Dr. John Barrington, director of the joint replacement program at Baylor Scott and White Frisco.

NBC 5 in Dallas Fort Worth shares the story of how innovation in knee replacements is helping improve the lives of patients. The less invasive surgery has patients up and about within a few hours of surgery — cutting their hospital stay from four days to one.

ACA: Billions Paid to Insurers

Insurance companies may have illegally pocketed billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded kickbacks as a part of the Obama administration’s plan for reducing consumer expenses, a congressional investigation alleges.

The New York Times reports that “an extensive investigation by the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees concluded that the administration plowed ahead with funding for a consumer cost-reduction program that was central to the new health insurance law even though Congress did not provide money for it.”

“This action is a clear constitutional violation of the most fundamental tenet of appropriations law,” the report states.

Lawmakers have been battling the White House over its spending for cost-reduction programs, which have given billions to insurance companies.

“In May, a Federal District Court judge, ruling in a case brought by House Republicans, found that the administration funneled the money to insurance companies without constitutional authority, and the judge blocked further spending. But the court order was stayed pending an appeal, and the administration on Wednesday filed its notice to challenge the initial decision just as the House prepared to bring new public attention to the dispute.”

Precision Medicine Grants

Precision medicine is getting a boost.

This week, the Obama administration announced a new plan to provide $55 million in grants for precision medicine. President Obama introduced his Precision Medicine Initiative in last year’s State of the Union address. “The goal is to modernize and accelerate biomedical discoveries, bringing new treatments to patients faster,” Morning Consult reports.

The additional funds for the Precision Medicine Initiative will go towards research projects that find ways to “tailor disease prevention and treatment to a specific person’s characteristics.” In addition to more research funding, the administration will also streamline Food and Drug Administration oversight of genomic tests and develop new tools for sharing data with researchers.

“We want to set this up to empower anyone in the United States to be able raise their hand and participate,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

That’s exactly the right approach.

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