HealthGate takes ‘e-carrot' approach with patients

By Patty Enrado
12:00 AM

HealthGate Data and Physician Direct ePPO have teamed up to offer financial incentives to both providers and patients by having them use HealthGate Data's Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Clinical Guidelines.The goal of the program isto empower providers and patients, produce better clinical outcomes and ultimately save time, resources and healthcare dollars. James Dempster, executive director of Physician Direct, said, "We have to find appropriate methods—financial motivation—that are consistent with our cultural behavior."William Reece, CEO of HealthGate Data, said, "This system makes providers and patients more involved and more educated, which (in tunr) improves the overall healthcare experience."The Web-based model matches claims filed by providers to EBM guidelines. When providers fill out a form on the provider Web site accepting EBM recommendations, the network automatically re-prices their services at a higher fee. The system generates letters to patients, who then log on to the Web site. If they agree to follow the recommended therapy, they receive a financial reward such as a waiver on co-pays. Steven Ferris, HealthGate Data's product technology analyst, said that developing content to match users' sophistication and making the interface user-friendly help make information more accessible for patients. Bradford Holmes, analyst with Forrester Research, said it remains to be seen if average consumers are ready and what the impact of incentives and disincentives will ultimately have on consumers.

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