App records patient-physician communications

A new smartphone app aims to eliminate miscommunication by securely recording and storing conversations that both patient and physician can replay later.

The MedXCom app is designed to provide a HIPAA-compliant way to check the facts, reports HealthcareIT News.

New Jersey bariatric surgeon Michael Nusbaum, who created the app, said it grew out of a lawsuit filed against a colleague based on exactly what was said during a phone conversation.

Patients can go back and check what the doctor said, and physicians have a record of the conversation.

"All we're doing is creating an environment where these messages are secure," Nusbaum said, adding, "We need to avoid those 'he-said/she-said' moments and make sure there are no mistakes."

The app works with EHR systems, allowing the physician to call up a patient's record on a smartphone before or during the conversation. The conversation also can be added to the EHR. It allows patients to add information to the app, make appointments and receive reminders.

The app joins a market for healthcare mobile apps that's expected to grow by 25 percent a year over the next five years--faster than the overall market, reports CNBC.

An increasing number of doctors use smartphones: including 67 percent of family physicians, according to a Canadian survey by Ontario-based research firm Prism Healthcare Intelligence.

It found their most common uses were for looking up drug references (58 percent), accessing clinical decision-support (50 percent), taking notes and memos (43 percent), digging into textbook references (38 percent), consulting with medical peers (28 percent), and performing scheduling tasks (17 percent).

Meanwhile, only a few (8 percent) of surveyed doctors used smartphones for e-prescribing, monitoring patients (6 percent), accessing electronic medical records (6 percent), and ordering lab tests or accessing results (4 percent).

While a recent Intuit Health survey found that 73 percent of respondents wanted to be able to communicate with their doctor online, 83 percent in an Accenture poll also want in-person interactions with their doctors when needed.

Perhaps the takeaway here is that it's not the mode of interaction--or even the length of it that makes a difference with patients--but the quality of doctor-patient communications. 

To learn more:
- read the HIT News article
- here's the CNBC story