As everyone knows, the vast majority of physicians use medical apps on their smartphones and mobile devices. It’s no surprise then that colleagues’ reviews of medical apps make for popular reading material. This time, PracticeLink presents secure file sharing apps, and apps for communications and physician reference.
Share securely with DocbookMD
Securely share patient files and message colleagues from your phone or tablet. DocbookMD.com
(docbookmd.com) is a secure, real-time messaging and file sharing app for contacting colleagues and staff members and sharing files such as X-rays, EKGs, lab reports and wound images. The app comes in versions for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as well as Android smartphones and tablets. The app is free to members of the more than 200 state and county medical societies that partner with DocbookMD.
Docbook Enterprise versions are available to physicians whose hospitals, groups or other organizations sponsor them. DocbookMD bases pricing for Docbook Enterprise on group size and need.
DocbookMD includes a virtual directory of local colleagues the physician can instantly message with files and important communications.
The app enables quick collaborations, test result updates and specialist consultations. DocbookMD intends to transcend practice settings and medical technologies including EHR systems to enable immediate, secure communication and critical alerts to improve daily workflow, according to Tracey Haas, D.O., MPH, chief medical officer and cofounder.
According to Haas, DocbookMD exceeds HIPAA/HITECH standards for mobile technology by using 256-bit encryption and a secure cloud-based server to keep health information private. Physicians, hospitals and groups can discuss patient care and share data in real time without fear of falling out of compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Tammy S. McConnell, D.O., a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group in Austin, works in private practice with another pediatrician. “It challenges me to touch base with subspecialists when we are seeing patients every 10 to 15 minutes,” McConnell says. Carving out time to call with so many layers of contacts to wade through can put a strain on both McConnell’s and the subspecialists’ schedules. “It’s often very challenging to communicate valuable information in a time-effective manner,” she says.
DocbookMD helps resolve these challenges in a number of ways. “Sometimes I may want to give subspecialists a heads up about a patient they are seeing or a follow up about one they saw. We can often do this through DocbookMD without interrupting their day. They can choose to deal with the information at their convenience. This helps with point of care continuity enhancement,” says McConnell.
DocbookMD helps with urgent matters such as sending films/X-rays to a subspecialist to make a decision about fracture management, such as whether to splint and send the patient over immediately; splint and send them over in the morning; or simply observe. “It saves the specialist from unnecessary appointments and helps them to expedite more urgent appointments,” McConnell says.
As for future improvements in the app, McConnell suggests that DocbookMD included a way to tag messages as urgent vs. FYI vs. respond at your convenience. “It would be a good way for physicians to use DocbookMD in a time-effective manner,” she says.
Access several reference sources through one central app. Omnio.com
Omnio, a physician reference tool, offers more than 1,200 medical journals and news sites so physicians can turn to one resource for many things. Omnio includes a revamped reference section and more fully integrated drug information and interaction checker as well as resources with medical conditions, symptoms and medical images.
Omnio is available for the iPad, the iPhone (as of this winter), and will be available for Android tablets later in 2014, according to Guatam Gulati, M.D., senior vice president of the app’s producer, Physicians Interactive.
Omnio enables physicians to access, digest and share health care information in a simple and effective manner, applying it at the point of care. “Rather than having health care professionals go through emails, websites, different medical organizations, pharmaceutical companies and reference books to get the information they need, we enable them to access all that information in one place, through Omnio,” says Gulati.
Omnio uses an open infrastructure to integrate third-party content directly into the app. Omnio offers a social infrastructure that enables physicians to better communicate and share information among their peers. Omnio includes elements such as My Pages and Omnio Pages, which help customize the content for the end user so it is one tap away when they need it. It also lets physicians organize their content into as many custom pages as they need, according to Gulati. The Omnio sharing function alerts physicians to new information from different resources.
“Omnio is launching new content sources via a partnership with DocWise, which will give physicians the ability to use DocWise’s aggregated content reader for personalized, curated content. Physicians will also be able to create collections of information sources and share content via Facebook and Twitter,” Gulati says.
Jason S. Levitz, M.D., is an oncologist and hematologist at Oncology & Hematology Specialists in Denville, N.J. He offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic, therapeutic and treatment-related services including treatment for cancers and diseases of the blood. “I used to have to shuffle between different applications on the phone, closing one and opening another, then going back to the previous application again,” Levitz says.
“Omnio is a one-stop resource for medical applications. I don’t have to go to several different applications on my iPad to find what I am looking for. I can look up a drug reference, check out the latest literature on treating lung cancer patients and research the standards of care for the same patient, all at the same time.”
“With Omnio, I can dedicate my own pages to lung cancer or prostate cancer or any particular malignancy. I can include treatment protocols that I want to have easy access to, and have the calculators also as part of that. So it’s all integrated and easy to use within that one page.”
Empowered by the cloud:
Use the cloud to store and transfer files in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Sookasa.com
Sookasa enables physicians to use Dropbox and other cloud applications for sharing medical files in a HIPAA-compliant fashion through the use of encryption and audit trails. Sookasa currently works on both Mac and Windows desktop computers and mobile devices.
Asaf Cidon, Sookasa’s cofounder, says that an Android version will also be released later.
The Sookasa app in the full HIPAA-compliant package with audit trails and encryption is $150 per year, per user. With only the encryption, the app is available free.
“Sookasa protects medical files in the cloud and on mobile devices. The app not only encrypts the files, but also controls who can access them,” says Cidon. So if an employee leaves the practice, the physician can remove their access privileges and even wipe files from their mobile devices, protecting the private data. “You can also authorize or block access for third-party contractors,” Cidon says.
Many health care practices are using outdated technology that is costly and prohibits productivity. “Now you can use an application like Dropbox to transfer medical images from one office to another, between organizations, or transcripts to medical transcriptionists,” says Cidon.
Sookasa enables file access and sharing on the go. “There are stories where people had to drive for hours to pick up a DVD with medical images. Now they can just drag the image into a folder and synchronize it to the recipient,” Cidon says. The time and cost savings are tremendous.
Jonathan Kaplan, M.D., a plastic surgeon with Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery in San Francisco, couldn’t afford a traditional secure server like the one available at the hospital where he practiced previously in Louisiana. “I needed a more secure server than Dropbox by itself. I searched on Google for ‘how to make Dropbox HIPAA compliant,’ and Sookasa was at the top of the search results,” he says.
“I looked into other electronic health record systems but couldn’t find anything that met my needs in the way that my privately-built EHR system worked on Dropbox with Sookasa,” says Kaplan. He uses the secure, compliant version of the app. “It provides me with peace of mind that my patients’ records are safe, secure and encrypted.”
Kaplan uses Sookasa and his patient records on password-protected office computers and a password-secured iPhone. With Sookasa, patient data is available only to providers in Kaplan’s practice who need access. “If a provider is no longer employed by the practice,” he says, “we can easily exclude them from access to patient records.”
David Geer is a frequent contributor to PracticeLink Magazine’s Tech Notes department.