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Who is Pushing for Electronic Health Records and Who Isn't?

Since the federal government is putting huge sums of money into the expansion of the use of electronic health records in the United States it seems like doctors would be jumping on the bandwagon. But this isn't the case although the monetary incentives are great and the cost has been one of the reasons that more haven't already adopted this record keeping and maintaining system.

The costs that would be abated by the stimulus money include upgrading computers, new software, and employing technicians. But it looks like many doctors think it is a good idea on paper or in theory, but taking the time out of their busy schedules to learn how-to and then to input the information doesn't appeal to some doctors because they would not see the number of patients as usual and would lose money. Jason Millman reported this response in Hartford Business Journal Online in his article Even With Incentives, Doctors Resist Electronic Records. According to that article a lot of doctors in Connecticutt aren't ready to change to electronic health records. But they are probably no different than many doctors in other states.

There is a learning curve for doctors that want to be ready for the funding must undergo: prescribing electronically, exchanging data via a health information exchange, and showing that they are trying to utilize the electronic health system to gain better and more economical results.

Among those that are pushing for use of electronic health records are some doctors but also Wal-Mart who has announced a deal with eClinicalWorks. The partners will sell hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training directly to physicians, according to Jason Millman.

The forum EMR (EHR) and HIPPA has a post that is most interesting that is about implementing electronic health records, otherwise known as electronic medical records. Someone named John, who sounds like a doctor discusses the importance of EMR to medical practices. He doesn't discourage the use of EMR, but wants doctors to be meticulous about which technology company they go with in order to get a better system. He says that just as paper systems have been the center of a doctor's practice, EMR will be the center holding the practice together when it is implemented. All of the personnel like nurses, billing, and front desk will be affected by how the doctor or doctors implement the EMR system.

He says the time spent imputing data to an EMR will be an exchange for the time spent writing handwritten records. Like he explains unless doctors go back to the days when records weren't kept, some time will always be devoted to keeping and maintaining records.

Hating paperwork or in this case computer record keeping isn't something only doctors dislike, but medical records are of ultimate importance. It has to be done and the government, many doctors, and technology companies are urging the use of electronic health records. It is only a matter of time until paper records are totally obsolete and that is something reluctant doctors can't change.


Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

How many times have you heard the phrase: "You are What You Eat?" as the chances are good you have heard it at least once a week for the past 15 years but it is very true as renowned cardiologist Dr. William Davis demonstrates.

Dr. Davis' central thesis is this: the agribusiness has changed wheat so much in the last 20 years that wheat is no longer the "good grain" that it once was (the line from "America" which says "... amber waves of grain" refers to the old-fashioned four-foot variety of non-enhanced grain from which we made our bread for the last several millennia).

In the last half-century or so that has changed as agribusiness has taken over the "development" of wheat to bring higher yields. By playing with the chemistry of the wheat plant, the size is about half of what it was and its nutritional value is nowhere near as good as one might think.

Today, wheat is a storehouse of sugar and other ingredients that give Americans everything from what Dr. Davis terms "wheat belly." It's also not the result of an American eating binge where we stuff our faces from morning to night with sugar-bearing, fattening foods. The way today's wheat plant has developed and the chemicals used not only to increase a field's yield has resulted in everything from minor rashes to high blood sugar to the "wheat bellies," as Dr. Davis terms them.

The only way to beat the problem, then, is not by dieting along, because it won't work unless we are willing to make significant changes in our lifestyles, most significantly giving up the processed grains we eat during the day. For example, that "healthy" lunchtime sandwich wrap that contains "good" protein - lean turnkey, soy beans dressing and such - is surrounded by genetically engineered bread that encourages sugar retention and fat.

As an example, one reviewer went over his first week using Dr. Davis' suggestions for changing one's lifestyle and the writer experienced a seven-pound weight lost, the first in many years, as well as an increase in energy levels. Further, his body has naturally decreased its blood pressure so that the reviewer had to continue taking the blood pressure medication to ensure that his body's blood pressure didn't drop too quickly.

Time and time again, Dr. Davis' hypothesis has turned out to be correct as reviewer after reviewer and bloggers report similar results.

Dr. Davis' work shows just what can happen when we commit to the changes that big business and the huge agribusiness estate/farms strive for yield and output and profit at the expense of the patient. Dr. Davis' work also shows that while there is an epidemic of obesity going on around us it has a root cause that is far different than one might think.


Interesting Starts In Pharmaceutical Sales Careers

Here's a very interesting case especially if you are interested in pharmaceutical sales careers. Dr. W. was a senior physician who had a huge practice which consisted mainly of elderly patients. So when a new drug which protected elderly patients from stomach ulcers was launched, he quickly put the drug to the test by putting himself and three of his best friends on it since they were all in the same age group that was prone to stomach ulcers.

Unfortunately, this drug was initially launched with a four times per day dosing schedule and at this dosage, a significant percentage of patients experienced a very nasty side effect, namely diarrhea.

The next day after taking the drug, Dr. W. and his three buddies went out to play their favorite game which was golf. At the ninth hole, all four men suddenly experienced the diarrhea side effect from taking the drug. Their golf game was certainly cut short.

When the new pharmaceutical sales rep responsible for promoting this drug visited Dr. W., the doctor told the him that based on his awful experience with the drug, he will never prescribe the product again.

This was a major setback for the pharmaceutical sales rep because Dr. W. was potentially one of the most important customers in the entire territory due to his mainly senior age patients who were all candidates for the drug. This was not a good way for this rookie to start his brand new career.

Fortunately, Dr. W. did like another one of this drug rep's products so the he wasn't thrown out of the office. So what this he did was to continue supporting Dr. W.'s use of this other drug in order to slowly build up a good business relationship with the physician.

Over the next couple of months, he visited Dr. W. every other month making sure that his office was always stocked with an adequate supply of drug samples since the doctor liked using them for his patients. The rep kept Dr. W. up to date on all of the company's products in terms of the latest published clinical studies.

He also took Dr. W. to a few medical conferences featuring some very high level medical specialists which furthered the doctor's own education on the latest medical treatments.

Dr. W. learned during one of these medical education events that top specialists were experiencing great success with the rep's product without the diarrhea side effect by using a twice per day dosage rather than four times daily. At this lower dosage, patients were still adequately protected from stomach ulcers but didn't get the nasty side effect.

The pharmaceutical sales rep gently encouraged Dr. W. to try the drug out on a few patients at the lower dosage as reported at the medical conference. It took an entire year before Dr. W. did eventually try the drug again but when he did, patients came back reporting good results without side effects.

Dr. W. put the drug on more patients including himself again. No side effects were noticed this time. Over the next few months, he prescribed the drug to a huge portion of his elderly patients with success.

He became one of the rep's biggest supporters in the sales territory. With similar support from other physicians, this rep grew the sales level of this drug significantly beyond budgeted expectations.

As a result of his performance, the rep was promoted to a senior hospital specialist position in the country's most important medical market.

The Lesson

The lesson from this case is that selling pharmaceuticals sometimes require the building of long term business relationships over time rather than going for the quick sales as in retail.

The pharmaceutical sales rep took the time to build Dr. W.'s trust and provided good service over an entire year by such activities as keeping the doctor up to date with clinical information and drug samples as well as bringing him to high level medical educational events. Consistent service was the key in building long term business

Dr. W. was initially a worse case scenario since he personally experienced the drug's side effect himself but the rep was able to eventually turn him around and made him into one of the biggest users of the product.

The new drug rep in this case was in fact me and this was one of my most memorable stories from out in the field.

Building business relationships in your own network with the goal of landing jobs in pharmaceutical sales careers is also important. Rather than being one of the nameless hundreds of candidates who apply for each job opening, it is much better to be the first one to be recommended for positions when they come up.

I show people how to build such a network. With so much competition for jobs these days, you can't afford NOT to build a network if you are indeed serious about pharmaceutical sales careers, check out my webinar on it.


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