September 1, 2014

The impact of information and communication technologies

The number of primary care visits per capita in 2007 was 7,1, nowadays this figure has dropped to 5,9, a reduction of 17% in six years. That's a lot. In absolute terms you get the astonishing figure of 4,5 million visits less! In 2013 the total number of visits in primary care was 44,7 million.
I have taken 2007 as the year for comparison for one reason: there was no electronic drug prescription. I don't know all the reasons behind such huge decrease, however information technology has helped for sure. Righ now, 92% of all prescriptions are electronic. A wide assessment of such period is needed.
Such figures are only a partial evidence of the transformation through technology in one specific area - drug prescription-, now the next step is to go further in other fields: organization of work and communication between physician and the patient. These areas may take advantage of technology and help to change the "production function". However, somebody should also think about the impact on a redefiniton of professional roles and tasks, an issue that is frequently left for another day.

PS. Unfortunately, this good news you'll not find in any newspaper. Nowadays, most of them are interested only in the dark side.

PS. Don't forget that such a decrease in utilization of services has been achieved without any copayment strategy.