Dr. Bray Links

Monday, November 24, 2014

Advertisers Looking to Get Between the Doctor and You

Since less and less physicians are being influenced by ads on TV and magazines (and there are significantly fewer industry sponsored "gifts"), there is momentum to inject ads directly into the physician EHR (electronic health record - the computer system which houses your medical data). So the next time your physician clicks on erectile dysfunction, a cleverly designed ad will pop up reminding him that 75% of patients prefer Viagra and that it really should be prescribed for this patient (let's just ignore the necessary recommendations for weight loss, exercise, less alcohol, and a healthier diet).

Remarkable, even reading the article on Medscape (referenced below), I was blocked from seeing part of the article by an ad with statistics about Shingles and its vaccine Zostavax. Merck is running some fairly controversial ads about the Zoster vaccine on TV right now. This is a bold move for a vaccine that is only about 50% effective for a limited period of time.

Education about the facts should not be delivered by someone influenced by a potential financial gain. Research should also be independent and not influence by the success or failure of a commercial product.

Keep the ads out of the EHR.


"Because EHR data give marketers the ability to target messages in a more granular way to the specific physician, it’s very effective for marketers, Padron said. For example, the system can identify the condition a physician is looking at and automatically pop up a drug that can treat it. Plus, he added, in the EHR, advertisers can be assured that it’s a physician who is looking, unlike online sites that may not authenticate whether a user is a doctor.


Meehan, a former pharmaceutical marketer, said “the holy grail was to get in between the doctor and the patient and somehow become part of the conversation.” But it’s something MD On-Line has chosen not to do. He said that reaching physicians “near” the point of care as opposed to “at the point care” is less intrusive and something MD On-Line’s physician clients were more open to. The ads and communication they receive through the practice management system comes through a dashboard that includes in-house and sponsored educational material, clinical guidelines and industry news and announcements specific to the physician."


"With the government's electronic health records (EHR) incentive program struggling and running low on funds, a broad array of private sector stakeholders, led by the eHealth Initiative (eHI), has launched an ambitious new effort to drive the information technology (IT)-enabled transformation of the healthcare industry forward.

Dubbed the "2020 Roadmap," the initiative is "a public-private collaborative, creating a shared vision of the strategies, policies and actions that are required to transform our healthcare system by the year 2020," according to a report released by the participants. The roadmap is also a bid to break the "gridlock" that has hampered the resolution of key issues in health IT, said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, chief executive officer of eHI, at a press conference announcing the 2020 Roadmap."


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