Sermo, Inc., the world’s largest on-line physician community, today announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Janssen Global Services, LLC to develop and deliver new mobile and web services that allow physicians to move their patients more easily and efficiently through the healthcare system. Both companies recognize a key ingredient missing in healthcare transformation is a physician’s ability to refer a patient for care, while ensuring continuity in that care. Both physicians and patients complain care today is compromised by lack of connectivity and follow-up.
Since launching over five years ago, Sermo has grown into the largest on-line physician community counting one in five US physicians as members. The Sermo community increasingly recognized the challenge of coordinating care among providers and that removing barriers had the potential to greatly improve healthcare while controlling costs. At the same time, smartphone penetration among Sermo’s users had eclipsed 50%. So, in early 2010, Sermo began work on a solution that would better link physicians and patients.
Sermo, working in close collaboration with physicians across the country, has identified key opportunities that would help empower teams of physicians to coordinate the best possible care for their patients while “closing the loop” for all care team members. The intersection of physicians, consumers, and mobile devices represents a critical point of leverage in the effort to improve the healthcare system.
“Our research shows there is tremendous frustration among doctors and patients about the lack of solutions to coordinate care, and new technologies appear to be compounding, rather than solving, the problem,” said Daniel Palestrant MD, CEO and Chairman of Sermo. “EMR and EHR have become so contentious among physicians, because they create barriers and introduce complexity into the patient relationship, rather than remove them.” Dr. Palestrant continues, “For years we have been under tremendous pressure from our community to offer a mobile application, but we have resisted because we wanted to have a truly transformative impact on the point of care. Our community has validated that our approach achieves that goal.”
In a recent survey of 600 physicians conducted by Sermo clear gaps were identified in how care is currently coordinated in the healthcare system, with a majority of respondents recognizing a significant portion of their referrals never result in a scheduled appointment. Another survey conducted jointly by Sermo and athenahealthcare, a provider of web-based practice management solutions, showed physicians are becoming less likely to agree that EMRs and EHRs improve efficiency (from 47% in 2010 to 42% in 2011). The results, part of the companies’ annual Physician Sentiment Index (PSI), also revealed growing skepticism among physicians that EMRs and EHRs reduce medical errors (from 71% in 2010 to 64% in 2011) and decrease costs (from 41% in 2010 to 37% in 2011). Furthermore, physicians consistently say the goal of new products should be to return to a more patient-centric approach to healthcare, one which prioritizes patient needs above those of policy makers and administrators.
The first set of services from the partnership is expected to roll out to physicians this spring, with consumer-oriented services scheduled for later in the year.