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Text Your Doctor – OhMD

Cover Story Health and Wellness September 2018

Text Your Doctor – OhMD

Back in the 1990s, an 11-year-old Ethan Bechtel, with weakened bones due to a kind of benign paediatric tumour, broke his arm 12 times in the 7 years. He had four surgeries and spent most of his childhood with his arm in a sling. His parents had a tough time maintaining hard copies of his medical records and images.

Being a patient for so long made Ethan aspire to improve the patient’s experience and patient physician communication. He collaborated with his younger brother to develop OhMD to facilitate the communication between doctor and patients. “While the technology has improved, many of the issues around inefficient communication and lack of access still exist. OhMD focuses on providing a simple way for patients and clinicians to communicate about any healthcare related information,” says Ethan Bechtel, Co-founder and CEO of OhMD.

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Texting means more efficient care

More and more doctors are communicating with their patients through SMS/texting to provide better care. Personal/Protected Texting means more efficient care More and more doctors are communicating with their patients through SMS/texting to provide better care. Personal/Protected Health Information (PHI) is being exchanged over communication networks with physicians and colleagues. Security is an issue regarding PHI in unsecured communications. That’s why HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant secure texting platforms have been gaining ground. OhMD, a HIPAA-compliant texting platform, offers an encrypted messaging service, which can be used by patients and healthcare providers to communicate with doctors, colleagues, referring providers and nursing staff.

“OhMD was really designed to look and feel as much like texting as possible,” says Bechtel. “(Doctors) spend a lot of time today leaving voicemails, trying to track people down and get them on the phone, and we really want to eliminate a lot of that friction.” The app offers the physicians, along with their team, HIPAAcompliant text communication on their desktops, iPhone and Androids. These texts can automatically be saved in the electronic health record. Scheduling appointments and sending reminders, renewing prescriptions, receiving informed advice, sending patient educational material, and secure conversations with professional colleagues are all possible with OhMD.

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OhMD, once set-up, can be customised to suit the doctor’s practice workflow and include the front desk and the care team too. “Our team has spent the last decade convincing doctors to use electronic medical record systems they wanted nothing to do with,” says Bechtel. “It’s refreshing to have built a product that doctor and patients truly enjoy using. It’s a consumerfriendly app with essentially zero learning curve.”

A secure texting app ensures an improved, consistent and customised health care for the patient. A happy patient means a successful practice for the doctors. It is a win-win situation all around.

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