The following was a Weekly Feature for KidsGrowth Professional. It was first posted April 24, 2000.
Hey! What’s a Snake Doing in My System?
ASPs: What Are They? What Can They Do for Pediatric Practices?
The health care industry is the largest single industry in the U.S. but, when compared to similar information-rich industries like finance, it under-invests in information technology (IT). In fact, in 1997 the health care industry spent only 2-3 percent of its total revenue on IT (the financial industry spent a little more than 7 percent).
As we head into the new millennium, certain trends in health care are going to increase health care’s reliance on information technology: continued pressure to reduce the cost of health care; an increasing amount of online health care transactions; an increasing number of procedures performed in practices (as apposed to in hospitals); and physicians becoming more mobile. It is clear that physician practices will have to keep their IT resources up-to-date.
“Physicians will need to get a good information system that not only takes care of the technical and billing aspects of a practice,” William DeMarco, president and CEO of DeMarco & Associates, told MDOptions.com, “but communicates with patients and helps with the e-commerce aspects of practice development.” But purchasing, maintaining and upgrading software applications and hardware is expensive. With the increased need to reduce the cost of health care, where are practices going to get the funds-let alone the staff-to keep IT current and functional?