Physicians are busy people working in a highly fluctuating climate. A recent study— the Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey (PDF) by Ipsos—shows more than 8 in 10 physicians are challenged by the following:
- Spending more time with patients
- Keeping up with the latest research
- Navigating the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Additionally, 77% report being challenged by using healthcare IT in their practices. Among the greatest things independent software vendors (ISVs) can do for healthcare providers is to alleviate these problems. In fact, these challenges present a great opportunity for ISVs to help free up physicians’ time and make health IT generally easier to use. As a result, physicians would get more time to do what they most want to do, which is attending to patients and staying informed. If an ISV conveys this message to physicians (assuming its product can deliver on it), it would stand to reason there would be a receptive audience.
ISVs & the ACA
As for any positive association from software that correlates with the ACA, the most important role ISVs may have could be to create it, especially if it increases efficiencies or reduces costs. Currently, according to the Ipsos physician outlook survey, an overwhelming majority of them see only a negative or neutral impact from the act, with costs and financial management as the major sticking points. Any software that can help mitigate the perceived negative effects of the ACA by lowering the overall cost burden, improving patient relationships or managing ever-changing reimbursement models stands to gain demand—and a powerful message around which to market, of course.
Another marketing opportunity for ISVs: Two-thirds of physicians report that costs are rising at their practices, citing healthcare IT adoption as a leading factor. Along with creating software to help compliance with the ACA while counterbalancing any potential negative effects, ISVs can make the case for purchasing IT solutions more persuasive by either A) demonstrating immediate lower costs than the technology/system being replaced or B) demonstrating a high(er) return-on-investment in terms of productivity or increased efficiencies over the long-term. If increasing costs are a fact of the marketplace, then showing the return in terms of an investment should be imperative, e.g., “Investing $x into Solution A yields y return over the course of z [time].”
More progress needed
In addition to the unfavorable cost angle of health IT adoption, a majority of physicians also expressed the opinion that little-to-no progress had been made in:
- Ensuring ease of use (56%)
- Improving patient relationships (61%)
- Increasing efficiency/saving time (66%)
As with the concerns about the ACA, the data is clear about how physicians view progress in health IT; smart ISVs will heed these warnings and explicitly address them both in their solutions and in the marketing of those solutions.
Check out our white paper about physician-inspired healthcare ISV market(ing) opportunities.
Photo courtesy of Leland Francisco via Flickr.