When do physicians act like consumers?
We have seen that, while large health IT systems deployed in groups and hospitals follow a traditional “institution” pattern, “consumer-Internet” approaches can be done, and can be successful.
So for vendors that are creating products in this space, it is important to be cognizant of the ways in which physicians behave like consumers, and where they behave like institutions.
There are some general rules-of-thumb that can be extracted from experience: if a health IT product can be adopted by individual physicians directly, without having to go through a committee process, then the “consumer-like” pattern applies. The focus in this case is around lowering the barriers to adoption, building the product in ways that encourage lateral spread among colleagues (“viral hooks”), and creating sufficient value where daily usage can be sustained.
If, on the other hand, a product requires an installation and integration process, and is reliant on linkage to existing systems (e.g. a hospital’s EHR), then the “institution-like” pattern is a better approach. The focus is on adding value to existing health IT, and leveraging the institution to help promote its use.
In the coming years, many new products will enter the market. Some will help locally-installed EHR systems provide better value. Some will be more focused on mobile deployment, and will be able to bridge the silos of health data between institutions. As vendors build these products, it is important for them to understand ways in which adoption follows “consumer-like” or “institution-like” patterns. The success or failure of vendors will be related to an understanding of these dynamics – when physicians behave like institutions, and when they behave like consumers.
Related: What Is The Future of EHRs?