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The Good News & the Bad News about EMR for Medical Practice Marketing & Advertising

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
EMR electronic medical records

EMR: Everyone Likes, But Nobody Uses

The availability of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is an open opportunity for differentiation in medical practice marketing and advertising. The good news and the bad news is that almost no one is using EMR, according to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll. And patients are in the dark about its availability to them.

On the plus side, if your medical practice or patients have an EMR system available, it would be a unique distinction for your service-minded promotional message. The concept has been around for a while and it seems like an appealing idea for technology to contribute to improved patient care and healthcare delivery systems. The availability and use of computers, the Internet and smartphones is mainstream throughout most of the US. What’s more, surveys tell us that many, if not most, Americans look online for health and medical information.

But despite the pervasive good health of the nation’s digital highway, the idea of Electronic Medical Records has yet to take off. Surprisingly, the Harris Interactive survey suggests that EMR is still on the sidelines. They say: “less than one in 10 American adults now utilize electronic medical records or turn to e-mail to contact their doctor…and nearly half of respondents weren't even sure if their physicians offered these technologies, according to the survey.”

“Still, most of those polled said they would like their doctors to access their medical records with the click of a mouse. On the other hand, only about a third (30 percent) believe their insurers should have that same access.”

The survey also looked at EMR capabilities for the individual. In addition to having medical records available to their healthcare providers, the poll included questions about using email to communicate directly with their doctor, the ability to schedule doctor visits via the Internet, receiving the results of diagnostic tests via email, home monitoring connection with doctor’s office, and email reminders from the medical practice to the patient.

The details of the Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are interesting reading, particularly for the medical practice marketing and advertising implications. Healthcare and hospital professionals seem confident that EMR will eventually gain acceptance and wider availability. Until then, if you have EMR, it’s a point of distinct differentiation.

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