Physician Use of the Internet

The Slow Evolution of a Healthcare Tool

[By Carol S. Miller; RN, MBA]biz-book15

The Internet is a constantly evolving service that continues to grow at an exponential rate, especially in physician practices. Primarily, the Internet is used as a means to electronically and expeditiously transfer data via e-mail as well as obtain information from a variety of sites.  Initially, in the physician’s office, the primary use was e-mail communications with peers, hospitals and others. Next providers linked to hospitals and managed care organizations to obtain more direct connectivity for clinical information and benefit coverage. Today physicians are finding other beneficial avenues to expand their utilization of the Internet. Several examples include:


  • Direct e-mail inquiries from the patient to the physician.
  • Patient educational newsletters and links to other healthcare educational web sites.
  • Continuing medical education (CME).
  • Chat room consultations, conferences or presentations with other providers.
  • Nurse to patient e-mail connectivity.
  • Immediate data on lab results with alerts for abnormal high or low values.
  • CPOEs (Computerized Purchase Order Entry Systems).
  • Radiology images.
  • EMR (Electronic Medical Records).
  • Monitoring of patients blood sugars or EKGs via the Internet.
  • Appointment scheduling on-line by patients.
  • Patient appointment reminders via the Internet.
  • Secure physician portals such as Medicity, located at, which allows access to pertinent and prioritized data from a wide range of sources and vendors to include, labs, imaging centers, hospitals, payers and others.
  • HIPAA compliant Application Service Providers (ASP) for dictation, recording, routing and speech recognition and transcription services, such as Speech Machines at

Access Management

Besides the value to the patient and the physician, the physician can utilize his or her Internet connection with software firms such as NextGen to automate the registration, scheduling, eligibility verification, billing and “clean” claims processing via innovative Web-base solutions in real-time scenarios. All the physician’s office needs is a PC, a standard Internet browser, and a connection to the Internet to take advantage of this service.


snow-highway1These resources and more, via the Internet super highway, enable physicians to have quicker and easier access to clinical information and improve productivity. Furthermore, these tools will quickly assist providers with accurate and timely medical decision making, thus improving patient care and outcomes.


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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact:



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2 Responses

  1. I posted this in response to Carol Tekavec’s blog post titled “Paper vs. Electronic Records.” It felt really good [and seemed relevant].

    What a wonderfully frank comment, Carol Tekavec! I hold special respect for those like you who have the courage to go against the popular grain of feel-good, politically-correct superstitions like those that surround the untested promises of electronic dental records. There aren’t many of us who see through the fantasy and speak up for the safety of our patients… yet. Our patients’ safety is what it is all about, isn’t it?

    It is indeed refreshing to hear someone of national credibility, as well as a respected consultant to the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice, say that “… the purpose of the patient’s visit is not to create a record.”

    I too am afraid there are far too many, far too enthusiastic HIT cheerleaders, even in the leadership of the ADA, who think high-tech EDRs are the goal and information the tool. Let’s face it. We both know that not only do interoperable records present bankruptcy-level liabilities for dentists in the event of a breach, but they seriously threaten the welfare of our patients for trivial, I repeat, trivial gains for everyone except those who would use digitalization to commandeer the care we provide to our trusting patients (such as Delta Dental, BCBS and Newt Gingrich).

    Have you yet been called a “Luddite”? I have. Several times, actually. I’ve discovered that heavily invested HIT cheerleaders can be sensitive about constructive, blunt criticism – especially the anonymous ones. I’ve also been called a flat-Earther and a butt. These days, I turn the other cheek … hard.

    Whereas the telephone, fax and US Mail are safe as well as adequate for dentists’ communication needs, interoperability for physicians is necessary for efficient communications between specialists and for quickly assembling imagery and lab test results. But even so, a week ago an article posted on revealed that in Canada, after 8 years of effort and spending $1.6 billion, only 17% of MDs have adopted eMRs.

    In Great Britain, even more money and time was wasted on a fanciful system that the NHS essentially scrapped a year ago because of their dismal luck at success. So what do American MDs think about the CMS stick and carrot idea to stimulate adoption? If you hadn’t heard, MDs are in open rebellion – just like the ADA might have been 6 years ago if our ADA leaders in charge of the Department of Dental Informatics weren’t so power-hungry that they failed to recognize absurdity. Did I mention that compared to eMRs, which have negative value in the free market, eDRs are even more worthless?

    According to an article posted in the posted today, the AMA House of Delegates told CMS to take a hike. “Physician-delegates at the AMA Annual Meeting in June formally came out against planned penalties included in this year’s federal stimulus bill that would dock Medicare pay for physicians who do not have a qualifying electronic health record.”

    Just who does CMS think they’re dealing with? The leaders of the AMA are nothing like the ADA pushovers who so desperately want to get along with everyone – even if it means needlessly endangering dental patients.

    I looked up “Luddite.” The Luddites were textile artisans in a doomed British social movement in the nineteenth century when the manual weavers protested against industrialization. They often destroyed the mechanized looms which replaced their tedious art work. As anyone can see, “Luddite” is hardly an accurate label for those like us who urge caution in adoption of eDRs. If a computer takes over all of my record keeping, it still will not replace my intricate art done in unpredictable environments to exacting tolerances. In addition, rapid production of mechanized, uniform bolts of cloth is desirable, but no two teeth and no two patients are the same.

    Here’s another difference: Which is more likely to entangle and harm an innocent person in the fast-moving parts of complicated, untried technology – a hand loom or computerized dental records?

    D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS


  2. A Word on Medical Practice Marketing and Blogging

    There’s all sorts of advice on why and how to blog in order to promote a medical practice. Yet, most doctors haven’t scratched the surface to understand what blogging is actually about and what roles it may play in their overall business plan and strategic presence – on and offline.

    But, all practices have different concerns and goals, and every media, communications and marketing strategy is different from the other. Today, “blogging” just doesn’t mean the publishing of content on a website. It’s more about being proficient in various media: from traditional to emerging; a new set of skills every doctor or physician executive needs to acquire and hone.

    Blogging is a constant learning process. It’s also a way to reveal strengths and weaknesses inherent in any healthcare organization, or its’ culture and processes.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™


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