March 25, 2010
62% Are Pessimistic about the American Physician’s Ability to Practice Independently or in Small Groups in the Future
Watertown, MA and Cambridge, MA — 64% Strongly Agree/Agree Their Clinical Decisions are Being Based More on What Payors are Willing to Cover Rather Than What They Think is Best for Their Patients
athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHN), a leading provider of internet-based business services to physician practices, and SERMO, the world’s largest online community for physicians today, released results from a first-of-its-kind “Physician Sentiment Index” (PSI). 1,000 physicians responded to questions revealing pain points and frustrations relating to the business of medicine, reimbursement protocols, government’s hand in healthcare, and other variables that stand to threaten the delivery of quality care in America.
“Physicians want to focus on being the best doctors they can be, but there are all these things getting in the way,” said Jonathan Bush, CEO and Chairman of athenahealth. “They’re caught between caring for their patients and remaining viable businesses. You’ve got stimulus dollars encouraging them to abandon a pen and paper system for electronic health records that are yet unproven, huge headaches that come from dealing with reimbursement protocols, hospital systems pressuring independents, and heath reform that will expand overly stressed state Medicaid programs—it’s no wonder the sentiment is pretty bleak.”
Physicians’ perspective on the future of medicine is clouded by the mix of current realities and by what might become reality should reform get passed. There is a feeling that they have lost control over their own profession.
Frustration with payors’ changing reimbursement protocols and regulations is universal among physicians. They want to render service and care, not worry about third parties influencing decisions about who they can treat, how they treat, and, ultimately, the kinds of outcomes they can affect:
Despite their calling of caring for patients, many physicians are required to step into a front-of-office role if they want to practice independently. Almost a quarter of doctors responding to the survey are primary decision makers with respect to billing and administrative decisions. Yet few exhibit a clear understanding of the business end of their practices. This is extremely telling of the sheer complexity that is healthcare administration:
Doctors' opinion on EHRs is highly favorable, but it's clear that current solutions are not where they need to be—particularly given the government's $19 billion push to get phsyicians to adopt EHRs:
athenahealth, Inc. is a leading provider of Internet-based business services for physician practices. athenahealth's service offerings are based on proprietary web-native practice management and electronic health record (EHR) software, a continuously updated payer knowledge-base, integrated back-office service operations, and automated and live patient communication services. For more information, please visit athenahealth, Inc or call (888) 652-8200.
SERMO is the largest online physician community, where over 112,000 physicians collaborate to improve patient care. SERMO provides access to its community for clients that need fast, actionable insights.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding trends in the healthcare industry. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things: the risk that our service offerings will not operate in the manner that we expect, due to design flaws, security breaches, or otherwise; potential interruptions or delays in our internet-based service offerings; our reliance upon third parties, such as computer hardware, software, data-hosting, and internet infrastructure providers, which reliance may result in failures or disruptions in our service offerings; errors or omissions included in our payer and clinical intelligence rules engine and database; and the evolving and complex government regulatory compliance environment in which we and our clients operate. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. athenahealth undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances, or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by athenahealth, please see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available on the Investors section of our website at http://www.athenahealth.com and on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
John Hallock (Media)
Director, Corporate Communications
P: (617) 402-1428
Jennifer Heizer (Investors)
Director, Investor Relations
P: (617) 402-1322