This iPhone app could cut costs & save lives, & major hospitals are already using it

It’s the phone call everyone dreads: Mom had a stroke and was rushed to a nearby hospital. A nurse performs an EKG and other diagnostic tests, then contacts your mother’s cardiologist — who is at a medical conference and unable to review the test results.

Someone has to decide what happens next. If she needs immediate surgery, the operating theater (at a different location) must be reserved. The medical device team has to order the appropriate stent. While the hospital awaits word from the cardiologist, surgery center, and medical device team to coordinate her treatment, your mom’s health is at risk.

Now consider medical consult 2.0:

The nurse uses surgical app DocSpera to send the cardiologist a video of the EKG and a summary of the other tests. The cardiologist reviews the EKG while at the conference and decides your mom needs surgery, stat. The cardiologist sends a surgeon the diagnostic information, and the surgeon confirms that a carotid angioplasty must be performed within the next eight hours. This information is passed to a surgery center to identify an operating room. The info also goes to a medical device representative to ensure the correct stent is on its way.

Instead of wasting an entire day exchanging voicemails or faxes, health caregivers share vital data between themselves within minutes, in a HIPAA-compliant format.


READ MORE: Health apps could be heading into a HIPAA showdown

In a medical system involving high-end surgical and procedural specialists, working collaboratively is essential, especially when there are multiple institutions involved.

“We’re addressing a market that affects a huge number of professionals working in a hyper-segmented environment,” said DocSpera SVP Kojo Appenteng in an interview with VentureBeat.

“You can’t simply send someone a text message about a patient, because it violates HIPAA (patient confidentiality).”

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based DocSpera offers a secure communication and collaboration platform that allows surgeons and their care teams to discuss complex cases, determine preoperative plans and schedule surgeries, and share case information — including x-rays and videos — with a verified network of colleagues and medical device industry representatives.

Founded by orthopedic surgeon Ken Trauner (a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded Invuity and Bespoke Innovations) and former Yahoo executive Sy Fahimi, DocSpera has been embraced by the medical community.

Since its launch in late 2013, DocSpera has signed up more than 1,000 surgeons across 450 institutions, including Kaiser, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, the Hospital for Special Surgery, and UCSF. The American Association of Hip and Knee Society (AAHKS) recently signed with DocSpera as its exclusive partner for case collaboration.

“The data we’re gathering will be invaluable in improving patient outcomes to ultimately reduce cost,” says Appenteng. In a health care landscape undergoing rapid change, that’s welcome news.

The startup, operating under the moniker Compliant Innovations, just secured its first institutional round funding to support growth. The amount was unspecified, but investors include Life Force Ventures and Attractor Ventures.

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Michael Sinsheimer
Michael Sinsheimer

Sounds easy and intuitive, yet virtual medicine like this is fraught with difficulties including potential medical malpractice liability if things don't go well in relaying the information and instructions. 

David Bill
David Bill

CC: Adam A. Elmaghraby Nick Dawson - I'm sure this is on your radar but just in case.