Practice Patience in the Health-Care Market
Slow changes are sure to bring greater efficiency.
For a long time, distributors that tended the health-care market doled out many a traditional form. Carbonized and unit set configurations were as basic to medical professionals as antiseptics and aspirin. It seemed that the dawn of the Internet and electronic options had little effect, if any, on good old hospital procedure. But the prognosis for health-care forms systems is changing as medical professionals begin to move into the electronic age. At least this is the opinion of Charles Graham, president of Graham Data Supplies, Amarillo, Texas.
"In the past five to eight years, the market has changed drastically. It has moved away from traditional to laser-based and label products," he said. "They are omitting continuous forms and substituting laser forms that are blank on the front with terms and conditions on the back."
Laser-style sheets are beginning to show up in the admitting area of hospitals, added Graham, while other departments are working with a variety of electronic forms—including some on diskettes or computer networks.
Since 1977 Graham Data Supplies has serviced the health-care market as a primary or secondary client base and now provides medical forms, such as filing supplies, X-ray jackets and patient kits, through its subsidiary company, Health Print. For a long time, said Graham, health forms production has been fairly consistent and dependable. Recently, however, Graham is witnessing a major transition in this market, which brings the company $8 million a year.
Said Graham, "There is a lot of work toward achieving industry standards, but the whole electronic forms industry is fragmented and hospitals are still trying to adjust."
Such adjustments entail costly computer networking which probably won't be fully effective for another three to eight years, said Charles Bryant, CEO and president of Decatur, Alabama-based Medical and Industrial Marketing.