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Physicians testing new text message, online network

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at 10:12 p.m.

Electronic Medical Solutions, a Wichita-based company, is developing a secure online network and phone messaging system for physicians called PriorUs.

About 50 local hospitalists and primary care physicians offices are currently using the system as a pilot program, said hospitalist Adam Flynn, co-owner of Kansas Inpatient Services and CEO of Electronic Medical Solutions.

“As a physician who takes care of patients in the hospital, I certainly recognize that physicians use text messaging to communicate, and we need to lock that down and be secure,” Flynn said.

He said the new system is designed to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

When a doctor receives a text message, it alerts them to a message within the app; they then have to use a PIN to access any private patient information.

“The app accesses a secure website where all the data is with a login,” Flynn said. “We track every time any piece of data from a patient or a user is sent, and we’re able to track what user accessed what and generate reports.”

When users close the app, no residual data live on the phone, Flynn said.

The system will also be able to interface with hospital or private practice IT systems to push patient information and records to the physicians who are connected to individual patients, Flynn said.

“It’s still pretty early, but it looks like it will be pretty cool,” said Tracy Klein, a family physician at Family Medicine East who is piloting the system.

“Like any new software, there have been a few glitches and I had to practice the upload methods a few times. But it works well. I’m optimistic this will be a great value for patients as we try to give them more efficient and cost effective services and I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

As part of the system, a Facebook like “wall” will be dedicated to each patient. Physicians can upload and share patient documents and record events, such as the patient being admitted to the hospital.

“Implementing a social network style of data distribution is really a different approach from anything used in health care so far,” Flynn said.

Although the text messaging portion of the service will be free, the company plans to monetize the social networking and IT integration portion.

Flynn said the plan is to launch the system early next year.

The Affordable Care Act and accompanying regulations have added value to networking and collaboration among physicians, Flynn said.

“Rather than building a system to optimize the ability of one physician to take care of one patient, we’re building a system to allow a population of doctors to more efficiently manage an entire population of patients,” Flynn said.

The system has been in active development for about eight months. So far, local, statewide and national vendors have expressed interest, Flynn said.

In addition to in-house programmers, Siv3 Technology out of Missouri is working on the development of the system.

For more information, visit www.priorusmed.com.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com.

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