Opportunities for Pharmaceutical Companies

The 5 previous proposals have many advertising and sponsorship places for drug companies. Doctors who are active online are likely to be more influential and see more patients that those who are hiding in their offices, and pharm sales reps need to identify them and see them, virtually or physically.

When a product is being discussed in a forum, the “virtual reps” can intervene defending the drug from attacks. Although it is not correct, they can do so anonymously or without identifying themselves as company members.
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Medical Advice Online – This site

This site has two faces. Originally started as a forum where I provide free medical advice online, for English-speaking patients. It now incorporated this blog where I discuss eHealth issues, mostly from the business viewpoint.
A small advantage of being based in Argentina is that I can do things like this, out of reach for American doctors because of several legal liabilities, privacy concerns and malpractice potential. Of course I could still be liable for damages, in spite of the powerful disclaimer that I attempt to post in every page.
The advantages for me are:
– visibility
– a few dollars on Adsense revenue
– test the free/paid patient conversion rate
– check alternative services, like keeping an online EMR for patients/clients
– collect content for web promotion purposes

The partial results of this ongoing experiment will be published here.

medicaladvice-screen.gifThe medical Advice site

Medical Knowledge Marketplace

Imagine a situation where a complicated case is exposed to an unexperienced doctor, far from a high complexity center.
Today, the universal EMR is very uncommon. Even when broad-band Internet connections are widely available in most cities, most patients do not have access to their medical records. However, let ‘s assume that this patient has his data online. The physically-present doctor does not have a marketplace where to seek advice. He can maybe bother a friend once or twice, or even pay him. But this friend is no assurance of quality, availability or price.
Translation is an activity ideal for electronic marketplaces, because it is inherently international and can be performed 100% online. Any buyer can enter an e-marketplace and shop for an available, able, cheap translator.
However, medical knowledge does not have such a marketplace yet. This “medical knowledge marketplace” should have at least these features:
– access to a reliable online EMR (electronic medical record) for patients
– a doctor’s database, with a critical number of providers in any field. These providers do not need to travel to market their knowledge, because the transactions are essentially online.
– a companies database, ready to buy knowledge on given clinical cases, from doctors online. These companies will be validated in their contact data, and they will be required to pay any services bought thru the marketplace. Or face blacklisting.
– quality assurance service for doctors who want to validate their credentials by any necessary mean
– transaction platform, including bidding, alert mailing and auction

Other features present in current service eMarketplaces:
– forum
– contests
– tests
– blacklist of those who broke the market rules
– product offerings
– group purchases
– physical meetings

This market would be ideal for isolated places where no doctor would visit, for second medical opinion and for 3rd World doctors willing to sell their knowledge in the 1st World.
In the near future, it would be nonsensical NOT to have a Medical Knowledge Marketplace.

A comparison of different EMR systems

From request from a client, I presented a paper at the Latin American Congress of Medical Informatics, INFOLAC, here in Buenos Aires. He produces an EMR product with some state-of-the-art features, and he wanted to introduce the subject into the med-info communitiy.

In parallel, I was looking for a product that I could use for remote consultation pacients. So, finally both lines converged and I had resources to do a quite complete research on the subject.

I was surprised to learn that, in spite of being in 2008 at full IT speed, most hospitals in Latin America and other places still keep medical records only in paper.

There is a nice opportunity to advance in this matter. I will soon publish the results of my survey on Web available EMR systems.