Athenahealth Inc. (NSDQ:ATHN) formed a partnership with Sermo, an online physician’s community to “help gauge and amplify” physician’s opinions on electronic medical records.
The collaboration was announced to coincide with this week’s HIMSS10 conference in Atlanta, where the companies also released a survey of some 1,000 physician members that shows while a majority of the docs think EMRs improve care, most find them costly and a bit clunky.
More than half of the physicians polled said they found that EMRs slowed them down and cut down on face-to-face time with patients. Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority, about 81 percent, said EMR’s were costly both to purchase and maintain.
But 80 percent of respondents also said they felt that, overall, EMRs were effective in improving patient care.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based Sermo claims to have the largest online community of doctors in the world, with more than 116,000 physician members. Companies can pay Sermo to be able to post questions about their products to its members. Athenahealth sells a web-based EMR product called athenaClinicals, which it has been promoting heavily to capitalize on provisions in last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which offers cash incentives to physicians aimed at increasing adoption of healthcare information technology.
The two companies said they would continue to work together in releasing studies of the industry in the coming months.