Published in the May 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE to be able to talk to physicians and nurses via your cell phone, but without having to give out your personal phone number? And wouldn’t you like to keep your professional messages separate from your private ones, all on a single device?
A new product, DoctorCom, allows physicians to do just that. Install the DoctorCom app on your smartphone, and you can exchange phone calls, send secure, HIPAA-compliant messages, even send and view images on your phone “all while preserving your privacy.
To allow physicians to receive calls without giving out their private number, DoctorCom assigns clients a phone number in their area code that is linked to the DoctorCom smartphone application.
When you receive a call or message from a physician or nurse who is part of DoctorCom, your phone identifies him or her as a system user, so you can take the call or send it through to voicemail. Any messages or voicemails that come through the system are stored in a separate section of your cell phone so you can avoid mixing up messages from your personal and professional lives.
“Our product keeps messages from your mom separate from messages from the cardiologist,” says Michael Eiffert, MD, a practicing hospitalist in Northern California and CEO of DoctorCom.
The free service, which is open to physicians and other health care practitioners, meets HIPAA regulations.
And because DoctorCom puts hospitalists in direct contact with other physicians, says Dr. Eiffert, it helps reduce communication delays. “Hospitalists dont want to go through traditional answering services that may delay getting hold of the right person,” he explains. “We don’t want to wait on hold, particularly if the problem is urgent.”
If an issue isn’t urgent, users can send a secure message that can be viewed later. “You don’t have to pull physicians out of a patient room and interrupt their workflow,” Dr. Eiffert says. “That raises their productivity and satisfaction.”
In his practice, DoctorCom has helped improve his communications with primary care physicians. “PCPs entrust us with their patients, but they feel like they’re out of the loop,” he says.”Using DoctorCom, I might send a message that says, ‘Mrs. Jones is doing great, she has pneumonia but is going home tomorrow. I’ve ordered home nursing and home PT. Discharge summary en route.'”
DoctorCom offers additional modules, like an answering service, for a subscription fee. And Dr. Eiffert plans to roll out a new module to help improve sign outs.
For more information, go to www.mdcom.com or call 855-244-2737.