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Health 2.0: Do e-Health Tools Need Peer Review?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2011
Quantified cost cutting

With the healthcare industry's focus on cost-cutting, tools that help providers and hospitals reduce readmissions or improve workflow and efficiency, for example, are in high demand. In fact, cost-cutting tools are the biggest opportunity in eHealth right now, said Mark Smith, MD, president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation at the conference's opening keynote address. It might sound obvious—after all, no one develops a product designed to raise costs or waste money, he said.

But developers don't always quantify their cost-cutting claims and they don't always do a good job making sure the entity that's investing in the technology is the beneficiary of the savings, he said.

Patient-centered products

Another clear message from speakers and attendees is that eHealth tools must be designed with patients in mind. And that goes for tools designed for physicians, as well. 

Enoch Choi, MD a physician who practices at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation wants technology to get out of his way. He wants tools that help him connect and communicate and build relationships with his patients—not ones that give the impression he's hiding behind a mobile device or computer screen, he said in a "Doctor's 2.0" panel discussion.

Too often a technology—even those that improve clinical quality—add so much to the physician's workflow that it hampers the physician-patient relationship, said Lyle Berkowitz, MD, director of the Szollosi Healthcare Innovation Program, who also spoke on the panel. 

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