HCN partners with Healthshare for MD Sidebar app

Health Communication Network (HCN) has demonstrated the first iteration of its new sidebar functionality for Medical Director, partnering with Healthshare to develop a patient education application to assist doctors with explaining to patients the options and outcomes of health problems once a diagnosis has been made.

HCN's MD Sidebar, first announced in August last year, is an integration platform that allows third-party app developers to add apps and widgets to MD's Widget Store. Users can then download the apps they need to the MD Sidebar, which sits on the right-hand side of the screen and can be minimised or maximised as needed.

HCN has developed an API framework to allow the apps to fully integrate with MD, allowing them to access information from patient files but also allowing the apps to write back to MD.

In addition to the Healthshare app, HCN has also partnered with app developer Health v2 to add an image capture and sharing app to the Widget Store, along with an app to write medical reports for life insurance purposes and submit them automatically to UHG.

HCN's medical director, Andrew Magennis, said the development of the MD Sidebar had also allowed the company to improve MD's user experience by moving the prompts functionality to the sidebar.

“Someone comes in with a bleeding nose and you open up their patient file, it will often prompt you to do things like update their vaccines, but you don't want to be doing that right then," Dr Magennis said. "We have moved these prompts to the sidebar so they can be viewed at any time during the consult.”

HCN's commercial manager, Hong Nguyen, said that by taking API approach, the company could allow a secure and supported interface to app developers.

Mr Nguyen said that in addition to the UHG, Healthshare and Image Safe apps, a number of others are in the pipeline and HCN had developed some of its own, including some clinical tools and calculators. There is also a patient waiting room app that HCN has developed that lets doctors see who their next patients are so users can bring up the patient's file before the consult.

Campbell McAuley, director of Health v2, said the Image Safe app his company has developed runs on any iOS and Android mobile device and allows users to take a photo of an area of concern on the skin such as a mole that has changed shape.

The image is then directly sent to Image Safe's server in the cloud and then directly integrated into the patient's file within MD.

“Patients can also upload their own photos so they can be monitored over time,” Mr McAuley said.

The Healthshare app will allow doctors to easily share patient education by searching its database of over 200 topics and finding fact sheets, videos or medication information leaflets that can then be printed out or emailed directly to the patient.

Healthshare has worked with over 70 of Australia’s leading not-for-profit health organisations including beyondblue, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation to provide patient information and education on its site.

Dr Magennis said there are over 200 topics in the app and more are being added. “We made sure it was well populated before adding it to the Widget Store and that the information is written by authoritative authors,” he said.

Dr Magennis said the UHG app would save a great deal of time in writing medical reports for life insurance.

“The app prepares a PDF by dragging in data from MD and filling out the form for you, which you can then just submit to UHG automatically,” he said. “You can also click off any box if the patient wants you to withhold that information.”

Mr Nguyen said the new functionality was the first iteration of what is planned for MD Sidebar, which will continue to be populated with both free and paid apps.

“We will focus on what we do well, clinical software, and have allowed app developers to come up with innovative ways to help doctors and practices deliver better patient care," he said. "We are also happy to speak with app developers.”

HCN demonstrated the new functionality at the General Practice Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) in Sydney on the weekend.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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