Compaq Computer Corp.'s Robert Teague, M.D., and Cindy Blake will try to shake up the healthcare industry's perspective on the Internet with their presentation "Are you Ready for eHealth?" at 10 a.m. and 2: 15 p.m. Monday, March 27.
Teague and Blake want to clear the air about healthcare providers' preconceived notions about the Internet.
"The Internet is coming toward everyone in the healthcare business, and they need to be prepared to deal with it," says Blake, a health industry strategist at Compaq Computer Corp.
"Many believe that the basic structure of the Internet will stay the same, and I don't think that will be the case," says Teague, Compaq's corporate medical director.
Teague and Blake will focus on how healthcare executives whose organizations are venturing into the Internet and e-commerce should keep consumer needs utmost in their minds.
Teague will primarily cover physician-related Internet issues and the healthcare industry's preparation for culture shock. He says he believes much of the industry is acting as a cartel, excluding consumers and resisting change.
Blake will discuss how healthcare organizations need to work together, particularly when addressing such sensitive Internet topics as electronic storage of patient records. "Putting everything in a single clinical repository isn't a real solution, because patients go to multiple physicians and institutions, and each will be looking at a piece of (each patient's) data, so collaboration will be important," she says.
Blake will also critique the way information about quality of care is presented to consumers on the Internet. "The typical quality indicators hospitals tend to track are mismatched (with patients' desires), and the information available to help pick a doctor is pitiful," she says.
Both speakers will stress the need for healthcare organizations to act nimbly.
"Most cartels are structured on the government model of business . . . which works in 12-month cycles. The Internet moves much faster than that," Teague says. "Adapting to speed is going to be one of the biggest challenges."
Teague and Blake will use the example of Compaq's experience setting up healthpaq, a health and wellness-related World Wide Web site for its employees. The firm spent $375,000 to link the site to content that quickly became outdated.
However, the speakers do not intend to provide a cure-all to healthcare organizations that are struggling to integrate the Internet into their day-to-day business models. "We're going to pose more questions than solutions," Teague says.