“It’s kind of crazy that doctors and patients communicate so often after hours. It’s kind of this black hole,” Nusbaum said. “No one knows what’s being said, and no one is being held accountable.”
When a patient makes or receives a call from a doctor using the MedXCom app, a recording is first played, saying, “This call may be recorded for quality purposes.” By following through with the call, the patient consents to having it taped, which is necessary in many states with laws against secret recordings.
The patient, who pays nothing for the service, is offered immediate access to the recorded call and can opt for a transcript, which can take up to a day to process. The app lets doctors prescribe medications and costs $29.95 to $79.95 a month, depending on how many physicians make up their practice. (A bare-bones version with secure text-messaging is available for free.)
Hallandale Beach emergency physician Dr. Cornell Calinescu said the app has proven to be “an absolute godsend, one of the best things I’ve ever used.
”I have 8,000 patients, and my phone never stops ringing. It’s absolutely revolutionary. I tell all my doctor friends about it, and every time I do, their jaw drops.“
Then there’s DocBookMD, devised by a married doctor couple in Texas, which allows doctors to share X-rays, lab reports and other critical medical information about their patients, as well as providing quick access to a list of specialists and their contact information.
”It’s pretty slick,” said West Palm Beach surgeon Dr. Daniel Higgins, who so far only uses DocBookMD for its specialist list but sees lots of potential in the image-sharing feature. ”I can see how that can be helpful. It’s very simple to use.“
While these apps differ in what they offer, they all have one critical asset in common: They use secure, encrypted technology that allows doctors to communicate with patients, and each other, without fear of sensitive, private patient information leaking out or getting hacked.
After using the Soffer app for a couple of months, Gadh said he can’t wait to see what new innovations are in store for the medical community.
“I’m excited for the future of things,” he said. “This is just the beginning, I’m sure.’’