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Sermo apologizes for ‘misinterpretation’

On Friday, I called out physician social network Sermo for its “Pro Football Injury Challenge.” Someone fr0m the company was watching, even over the weekend, because Sermo put up a response on its blog on Sunday, apologizing for “insensitive language” in the original e-mail that led to, as the unnamed blogger put it, an “unfortunate misinterpretation” that “we were asking doctors to predict future player injuries.”

According to Sermo, the Pro Football Injury Challenge “was intended solely for physicians to aggregate data like the PBS study performed last pro football season, which exposed and quantified the true magnitude of player injuries in the NFL.” The post continued:

The focus of this Challenge is to aggregate physician opinion around injury recovery, with  frank supporting discussions on trending topics in the sport (e.g., concussions) being hosted on Sermo.  By collecting physician opinion on how concussions (in the aggregate) are trending in pro football, we are complementing and expanding the clinical discussion prior to the upcoming PBS Special, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.  Contrary to what has been reported, we have not nor would we ever design a game that rewards predictions of injury or illness to any individual, nor are we seeking to exploit, de-humanize or profit from these patients, their loved ones or their caregivers.

The rationale behind the Challenge is, has been, and will be to help decrease the number, severity and recurrence of all sports-related of injuries by eliciting physicians’ opinions on proper injury recovery periods and methods.

OK, Sermo, you have earned the benefit of the doubt for now. I hope the physician community holds you to your word.

 

September 22, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

DrChrono and Sermo, what are you thinking?

Free, mobile ambulatory EHR developer DrChrono made a minor ripple of news this week, claiming to be the first vendor to release an EHR for the new Apple iOS 7. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m calling out DrChrono co-founder and COO Daniel Kivatinos for this tweet:

I was quick to respond on Twitter.  


Indeed, the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use are about the Triple Aim of producing safer care, improving population health and lowering overall healthcare costs. The incentive money isn’t supposed to make physicians rich or even cover the cost of the typical EHR. (Yes, “free” EHRs have costs in terms of changing physician workflows and interfacing with practice management systems, and the advertising may cause patients to lose trust in their doctors, as John Lynn seems to have found with Practice Fusion.) Frankly, I don’t want to go to a doctor who views Meaningful Use as “cashing in.” That’s not “meaningful” in the spirit of the incentive program.

I’m making a big deal out of this because this is not the first time DrChrono has made misleading and hyperbolic statements. As I wrote a couple years ago, the company claimed its patient check-in app was “groundbreaking,” despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. The same post also had a video from DrChrono in which the vendor explained to physicians how they could qualify for Meaningful Use “tax breaks.” The incentive payments aren’t tax breaks. In fact, the money counts as taxable income.

The video is still up on YouTube, and it’s been viewed more than 57,000 times. That’s 57,000 times people have heard a patently false statement. DrChrono, stop misleading clients or you won’t have any clients left to mislead.

Also from the “what were they thinking?” department, physician social network Sermo marked the start of the NFL season this month with the launch of the “Pro Football Injury Challenge.” I know this because I received this e-mail:

Sermo injury challenge

Yes, I know I’m not a doctor. Sermo sent a follow-up a few days later saying that I received the invitation in error. But actual physicians still are competing against each other in kind of a fantasy football injury pool. Do you find this as tasteless as I do?

 

September 20, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.