In an instant, hippomsg connects medical providers

In an instant, hippomsg connects medical providers

At last, doctors can say farewell to their pagers. The first, free text-messaging application for all medical professionals unveiled its new platform on Tuesday, combining lightning-fast technology with an enhanced user experience.

Over 3,000 medical practices are using to seamlessly and securely communicate health information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under the law, all elements of a patient’s health record, including information as basic as the patient’s name, must be encrypted when transmitted between medical professionals. With hippomsg, now providers will have a way to discuss a patient’s identity and medical history—even share reports from a mammogram or MRI—quickly, securely and for free.

“Gone on the days when a colleague has to pluck through an interminable menu to leave a message for another doctor. Finding another professional—at any practice in the country—can now be as simple as using hippomsg,” said Alex Grilli, M.D., co-founder of hippomsg and an otolaryngologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

In recent years, the Justice Department has levied millions of dollars in , which can reach up to $1.5 million per occurrence. Because the fine can grow with each lost record, many practices caution against using mobile technology to communicate about patients and still rely on voicemails and pagers, believing those systems are safeguarded to transmit health information. Yet this leads to inefficient and choppy communication, often for life-changing conversations about a patient.

Grilli and his co-founder, Rahul Shah, have brought in an accomplished HIPAA expert as the company’s security and compliance officer and established protocols that are consistent with all HIPAA standards. The organization conducts routine security assessments, and messages self-destruct after being read.

Medical institutions have been building messaging systems like hippomsg to use within their organizations for years, but hippomsg is the first to tear down walls and bring healthcare providers at different organizations together—at no charge to the subscriber.

“There are plenty of products out there trying to make pagers obsolete,” said Shah, M.D., M.B.A., an otolaryngologist at Children’s National Medical Center. “The problem is the cost. How can a hospital system spend six-figures on a solution tailored just for its staff, when many are losing money? How can solo practices spend tens of thousands on a messaging system, when they face declining reimbursements? They can't and don't, but patients need their healthcare providers to communicate. With hippomsg, they can and do.”

Drs. Alex Grilli and Rahul Shah are at the forefront of the mobile health (mHealth) revolution. The two surgeons founded hippomsg in 2012 to bring medical care into the digital age by simply allowing healthcare professionals to communicate instantly, securely and seamlessly using their practices’ computers or their own mobile devices. The company’s leadership brings together six decades of experience in medicine with industry leaders in HIPAA compliance and technology.