A while back, John Lynn wrote an interesting post considering drug ads and their part in free EMR business models, e-Detailing and Pharmacy Ads and Free EHR Software. As a practicing provider who sees and treats around 20 patients daily, I have never had time to, and generally don’t care to, read the pharmaceutical ads in my EMR system (Practice Fusion). There is really no chance of educating me about drug specifics, and probably 99% of doctors, this way. Most doctors nowadays either Google search or search an online medical reference such as UpToDate.com for a drug that they want to know more about, typically as a patient visit unfolds or shortly thereafter. I do my searches when the patient is right in the room with me in order to save time, and they seem to enjoy knowing that I’m being thorough in making sure I’m giving them the right information.
Do I admit to occasionally seeing the name of the drugs flashed ever so briefly before my eyes when the ads first appear peripherally in the screen margins?
Could I name a few such drugs now, upon thinking back?
Have they influenced my prescribing patterns?
Nope, not at all.
So how do I get my information about new drugs otherwise? In the same old-fashi0ned, traditional way that doctors have been getting their drug information for years. It’s those beloved, unauditable, private conversations over lunches, which are always on the drug company reps. Let me tell you, free food goes an awful long way for a hungry doctor and his hard-working staff.
Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com.