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Thursday, May 08, 2008

A great use of technology

Congrats to the Axiom Law Firm for using technology to lower costs and expand reach. They don''t have an expensive, high rent corporate office. Instead their attorneys' offices are virtual; in their laptop computers. All computers are networked to a central server and attorneys can meet with clients anywhere.

A great model.

Can it work in medicine? Already does. I know generalists that don't have an office and do all work while on the road or by electronic forms of communication. Aside from the insurance implications of this type of practice, from a logistical perspective, the virtual physician office can work quite well.

Can it work for a urologist? I have thought about this long and hard and have yet to come up with a good solution. I simply need an office to do my work. I don't need a big office, thanks to computer technology, but I need an office. While an attorney can talk with a client at a coffee shop with some degree of privacy, I simply have not figured out how to do a prostate exam at Starbucks.

Still, the standard operating procedures for physicians are changing. Large offices and large staffs have now become liabilities. Physicians can share offices, yet have completely separate practices; practice management, EMR, and phone systems, all at low cost, can be set up easily so that they are not shared amongst the doctors. I can see a situation where a urologist has the office Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, and an ENT takes it the other days. The 2 doctors share physical space only. Staff can be shared, or can be individual. With VOIP and internet telephony, even phones can be completely separate. The urologist can have his EMR/PM software housed on an external server and access it from anywhere; same with the ENT. If the urologist needs to see a patient on one of the off days, he can do so either virtually, in the ER, or by house-call. Financial arrangements can be made in these unique circumstances with enough foresight and planning. Using this technology, the urologist can still be operational and productive when out of the office.

I think this is an exciting time to be young, in start-up, and ignorant of "how thing are done." This way, you may just develop a system that works well in the 21st century.

Again, congrats to the success of the Axiom Firm.

The IU.