Your medical history at a doctor’s fingertips

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Sometimes doctors need reams of medical information and history about the patients they are dealing with.

For doctors treating Discovery Health Medical Scheme patients, there is now an app for that. “It’s part of our job to improve quality and efficiency,” Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of Discovery Health, said on Tuesday while unveiling their new iPad application HealthID.

The app, which can only be used by doctors, was designed to combine the medical records of Discovery Health patients so that any past medical history can be just a touch away.

In the first week after the launch, about 1 000 doctors have purchased the application. It had been through two trial runs last year prior to its launch, and the designers used doctors’ feedback to make changes and final touches.

The result? An app that, upon signed consent from the patient, will give the doctor any prior medical history – basic health information, hospital visits and medication information.

The application also allows doctors to complete an electronic chronic illness benefit application and to see the patient’s personal and benefit details.

To save patients’ time later, doctors can send referrals to other doctors or specialists with the app’s electronic reference tool.

And perhaps most importantly, doctors can write prescriptions on HealthID and e-mail them to pharmacies or MedXpress. They can also send their patients’ information about upcoming procedures or medications they will be taking.

Once the patient reads the consent waiver and agrees to allow the doctor access to their medical records, they can no longer withhold that information from the doctor. It is an all or nothing deal, though Discovery Health may be developing limiting tools in the future.

Doctors use the app at no extra cost to them or their patients. In fact, doctors can earn an additional R15 per consult if they use the app for 50 percent of their Discovery Health consultations daily.

Also, Discovery Health picks up the cost of the data used on HealthID if the doctor is using 3G to access the application.

Broomberg said Discovery Health was hoping the extra small monetary incentive will help increase doctors’ willingness to use the app.

With 33 percent of South Africans turning to Discovery Health as their medical scheme provider, Broomberg said Discovery Health knows they can make a difference with this app.

“We’re disproportionately large compared to our competition and disproportionately influential, and therefore are able to do something,” he said. - The Star

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