The American College of Physicians said in a new position paper on e-health that payers should reimburse physicians adequately for additional work required to use and analyze personal health records and for online communications with patients.
The 125,000-member group laid out a series of policy positions on health information technology in the paper, titled E-Health and Its Impact on Medical Practice, noting that new technologies can be beneficial to providers and patients but challenges exist in their deployment.
The ACP recommends that the prioritization of any health IT activities consider both effectiveness and efficiency of physician workflows, and the readiness of healthcare systems, such as hospitals and doctors offices, to participate. Any e-health initiatives should also consider the computer and technology literacy of patients, and affordability of systems.
While the ACP supports the expanded use of telemedicine for patients with an established physician relationship, physicians should be appropriately reimbursed for online visits or other communications besides traditional face-to-face encounters. The group supports national standards in the deployment of health IT as well.
Physicians should be reimbursed adequately for time spent accepting, reviewing, validating and analyzing PHR data, as well as responding to the information or modifying the records contents, the group said, noting that the average system cost is about $44,000 per practitioner, with ongoing annual maintenance running $8,500 on average.
The impact on medical practice affects both sides of the physician-patient relationship in terms of access to affordable, usable technology solutions, the paper concluded.