This is where we’re headed. A medical malpractice insurer in Oregon is now providing physicians with discounts for using electronic tools that will reduce errors and thus the opportunity for malpractice.
You’ve heard of the tools before: computerized health records and e-mail.
As these tools are shown to effectively reduce errors and improve overall efficiency within the healthcare system, we’re going to see more and more insurers (both malpractice and 3rd party payers) providing incentives to use them.
Under the new program, 2,600 physicians insured by the company will receive patient safety discount points for connecting online with their patients using an online service called iHealth, which includes a practice Web site for physicians and secure e-mail and patient personal health records for patients. The service also includes safety messages for patients, including same-day patient notification if their medicines are subject to FDA recall or warnings.
“We are seeing increased market demand for these types of online services and we want to help our insured physicians adopt and use these tools to better and more efficiently connect with patients,” said Dieter Zimmer, vice president for patient safety and practice support for Northwest Physicians.