Case studies of communications technologies that can be deployed at hospitals and group practices will highlight the American Medical Group Association Conference on Physician-Directed Health Care later this month.
"Word is getting out that this is a meeting of real-life practitioners sharing experiences, not consultants talking about what could or should happen," says Donald Fisher, president and CEO of AMGA. "Physician leaders want to hear from each other and from outside industries."
Executives from industries outside healthcare who have successfully improved quality and reduced costs within their firms also will speak at the conference, to be held Feb. 21-23 in San Diego.
Frank McGuire, former vice president of industrial relations at Federal Express, will discuss that firm's use of bar coding and other technologies.
"There is no reason why some of those applications can't be applied to healthcare," Fisher says.
Similarly, consultant and vascular surgeon John Kenagy, M.D., a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School, will share his explorations of "disruptive innovation"--a concept developed by Harvard professor Clayton Christiansen--to strengthen healthcare organizations.
Randall Hawkins, M.D., will describe a pilot project at the San Diego-based Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. Physicians there are using handheld PDAs to manage prescriptions, charges and dictation and receive e-mail.