Doc Building a Smarter Smartphone Communication App

May 7, 2014
Steven Chan, MD

Hospitals and clinics still use pagers extensively for doctor-to-doctor communication, but physicians could benefit from more modern means of messaging.

This article published with permission from iMedicalApps.com.

Hospitals and clinics still use pagers extensively for doctor-to-doctor communication. In fact, more than 90% of hospitals are estimated to use pagers in the United States as of 2013. Pagers are still used because their networks are reliable, they receive strong signals even in rural locations, and they are inexpensive.

However, pagers can only provide a limited amount of information. They can’t be stored with a patient electronic medical record and there is no way to track, analyze, or securely archive the messages within pager messages. Physicians could benefit from more modern means of communication.

Enter Seratis (@Seratishealth).

The application centers messages around individual patients. Seratis was created by physician Divya Dhar, MD, MBChB, MBA, MPA, (@divyadhar), along with her team, and is being tested at Penn Medicine and other sites around the country. She has been featured at TEDxAuckland and on TechCrunch, and she has done extensive work on social issues.

iMedicalApps interviewed her on her experience on going from clinical medicine towards bringing the application to fruition in the digital health industry.

First off, how does Seratis work?

Divya Dhar: The person who is lead physician, like the primary care physician, probably has to [take care of messaging] anyways because their administrator has to send emails and refer requests. Why not get their administrator to enter their patient info and invite the other physicians to come and join?

We created an architecture [to accommodate this] and everything is done securely. For independent physicians and practitioners, we’re doing limited on-boarding for free. So if anyone gets in touch with us, we’ll let them start immediately.

Whom exactly are you targeting?

Divya Dhar: [We are targeting] 2 particular [types of physicians]: (1) You’re at the hospital, using inpatient wards; (2) There’s another group of PCPs and independent specialists, and I’m interested in that community.

What we could do for them is enable them for high-touch patients, like having multiple doctors and nurses because they are chronically unwell. If you’re a primary care physician, [and you’re treating congestive heart failure], you might have [an] outreach nurse, cardiologist, case manager, and yourself.

[It would be optimal] to have everyone connected, whether or not everyone is in the same facility. What we do is enable cross-collaboration across different facilities with different EMRs.

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