Sermo tries to catch up in the mHealth race

One of the oldest physician social networks, Sermo, has broken its self-imposed exile from the mobile arena. The network just launched its first app, Sermo Mobile, to allow physicians access to the network via smartphone or other mobile device.

It may be a critical move for Sermo, considered by many to be the elder statesman of physician social media, as younger competitors like Doximity have long since created apps for mobile connectivity.

Company execs are unapologetic about their sloth, according to a report at EHRWatch. In fact, founder Daniel Palestrant, says Sermo has deliberately taken the slow road.

"For years we have been under tremendous pressure from our community to offer a mobile application, but we have resisted because we wanted to have a truly transformative impact on the point of care," he said.

The app allows physicians to communicate in real-time with colleagues, sending out queries to the Sermo network, sharing images and obtaining consults via smartphone, rather than having to wait to boot up a PC or laptop.

Such immediate "multi-brain access has been invaluable," said Dr. Christopher Chang of Fauquier (Va.) Hospital. "[B]eing a solo ENT, I do not have the benefit of having a colleague to easily bounce questions off of," he said.

One particular feature where the app exceeds the desktop version is in imaging, according to Chang. With in-phone cameras, smartphones allow physicians to take pictures of abnormalities and post them immediately to the site, rather than taking a photo with a separate camera, and then having to upload and transfer it to the site, he said.

The app is only available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. No word yet on when versions might be developed for Android, Blackberry and other platforms.

To learn more:
- read the EHRWatch story
- check out Sermo's press release
- read Chang's review

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