Hello Doctor wants to rescue patients and caregivers from the nightmare of having to wrangle piles of medical paperwork. The free app, which won a fall 2013 DEMO God award, just launched on iPhone to complement its existing iPad version.
Copies of medical files are often difficult to replace if misplaced, especially if a patient’s healthcare providers operate in different networks. Hello Doctor hopes to give users an easy way to avoid that problem. Its founder and CEO Maayan Cohen was inspired to create the app while caring for her partner after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His treatment and recovery took two years and involved scores of surgeries, chemotherapy, lab tests, and appointments.
“With Hello Doctor’s navigation system I could have found every record I needed on the spot and saved unnecessary tests that we did over and over again just because they got lost or we couldn’t find them in time while talking to the doctor,” said Cohen, who bootstrapped for a year before receiving backing from angel investors and plans to add freemium features to the app.
“The access to the medical records in real-time from mobile is crucial in an emergency,” she added. “If I had the diagnosis in reach on my iPhone it would have saved us an entire night in the ER on one of the emergency visits we had.”
Hello Doctor lets you take photos of your records or add pictures from your device’s album and Dropbox. The most novel uploading method, however, is Hello Doctor’s Record Tagger feature, which allows you to email medical records in the form of photos, PDFs and other digital files to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The system automatically detects what kind of record it is and sends it to the relevant section of Hello Doctor. Cohen says the process uses secure sockets layer (SSL), encrypts data, and follows guidelines set by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, but she adds that patients who are concerned about privacy should stick to using their device’s camera. The Record Tagger, however, is a potentially handy option for people who need to digitize years of files.
Hello Doctor targets two kinds of users. One consists of people who are already comfortable using mobile apps like Evernote, but want something made specifically for medical records. For them, Cohen says Hello Doctor offers the security of HIPAA guidelines and an easier navigation system than competing apps, which is important considering how little time most people get with their doctors. Hello Doctor lets you share records with medical offices by email, post, or fax. You can also take notes directly on your files.
The second group is people who are less comfortable with technology, but are tired of dragging binders stuffed with years of files to their appointments. Hello Doctor’s enables patients to access records offline, an important point for people on limited data plans.
In addition to patients, many Hello Doctor users are caregivers who upload medical records but still want their clients or family members to have easy access to the files. The app’s design is clean and uses a large, easy-to-read font, which is a bonus for people with poor eyesight or who just want to spend more time taking care of themselves instead of paperwork. To learn more about Hello Doctor and download the app, visit its site.