Physicians Will Get High-Tech Assistance

Published Online: Monday, March 1, 2004

It is no secret that physicians are behind in the digital era. In an effort to encourage faster adoption of technology, WellPoint, a health insurer, plans to give computers or handheld electronic devices to 11,000 California physicians and 8000 physicians in Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The goal of the program is to reduce paperwork and medical errors.

Because physicians are a bit slow in getting connected,WellPoint decided to give a nudge to those with high volumes of Blue Cross patients. Eligible physicians will have a choice between a fully loaded Dell computer and a handheld device, explained Jeff Kamil, MD, vice president and corporate medical director for Blue Cross of California, a WellPoint subsidiary.

Both options have their advantages. The computer will allow doctors to easily access patient records and submit claims using the Internet. The handheld device allows for prescriptions to be submitted electronically so that pharmacists do not have to interpret poor handwriting. In addition, the software allows physicians to look up appropriate dosages, bad interactions between drugs, and patient histories.

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