From the healthcare carrier's perspective, the logic is simple: Support physician members' ability to access aggregate patient data and use of e-prescribing and e-doctor visits. Physicians use technology to provide improved quality care, business- and patient-related efficiencies. Ultimate ROI: healthier patients and reduced exposure associated with later health-related problems.Long-term results may not be available yet, but carriers have high hopes for programs designed to create incentives for providers that will help create a "healthier" patient base.

A report issued in February by Dublin, Ireland-based Research and Markets notes that insurers will benefit from a trend in widespread adoption of electronic capture of patient data. Alluding to the routine capture of documents and data for both regulatory and business intelligence purposes, the research firm holds that "health care in the clinical setting has resisted this industry-transforming technology for nearly 20 years. The reasons: the lack of user-friendly interfaces for busy health care providers, lack of workflow understanding on the part of vendors, the expense and complexity of implementation and maintenance solutions, and the lack of transparent ROI for providers.

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