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Most Disruptive Changes in Healthcare (According to Sermo)

Last month I gave a talk on Health 2.0: Disruptive Changes in Healthcare. I spoke about online communities of physicians and patients, and one of the communities I discussed was Sermo:
Sermo was founded on the idea of information arbitrage, that there's valuable information locked in the heads of physicians, if you could only figure out a way to get to it.

The way Sermo works is this: physicians ask and answer anonymous questions, but some of the questions are also asked by firms. When physicians answer some of these questions, they get paid, but they don't know which questions will pay them. So the incentive is to answer as many questions as possible. Sermo is basically an experiment in classical conditioning, it mines physicians for information by turning them into compulsive gamblers and taking advantage of their desire to collaborate. And it works very well.

It's only about a year old but Sermo is the largest online network of physicians that's ever existed. Sermo is also partnering with the AMA and the FDA, who are interested in information from Sermo about the safety of medical products. Sermo may actually be a better way to encourage physicians to report problems with drugs and devices than the FDA's own website.
Naturally, prior to the conference, I was curious about the Sermo community's response to the question, "What do you consider to be the most disruptive change in healthcare?" (The full posting on Sermo, which you can access if you are a physician and have a free account, is here.)

Here are the top five responses:
  1. The growing trend toward having non-MD's (i.e., insurance companies) making decisions about treatment options. (35%)
  2. Too many to pick just one. (15%)
  3. Quality improvement and quality measures driven by computers and administered by non-medical bureaucrats. (10%)
  4. "Google Health" [The survey was administered before Adam Bosworth left Google]. (8%)
  5. Widespread use of electronic medical records. (7%)
  6. Proliferation of physician extenders, PA's NP's, etc (7%)
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.