First published October 6, 2016
The power of communication is something that fascinates The Medical Startup.
Perhaps it’s our experience from looking after stroke patients who’ve lost the ability to speak.
From meeting patients who speak English as a second, third, fourth or even fifth language, and being awed at their skill.
From speaking with non-medical professionals who are trying to break into healthcare and learn healthcare’s language, and vice-versa.
Or from recognising how difficult it must be when an Australian doctor moves to work in a US hospital, and gets stumped by differences in common hospital terminology (read: ER versus ED; or in the UK, ICU vs ITU; or even paracetamol versus acetaminophen, which I encountered on a flight one day. Add in the accent difference, and you’ll see what we mean!).
This fascination with communication in medicine was what inspired us to connect with the Mayo Social Media Summit, which will be in Melbourne next month. Below are two Australian medtech startups founded by medical doctors, and how they’ve used social media with their apps.*
One through instant messaging, and one for the cancer journey.
Sydney-based medtech startup Bleep took a page from social media by cleverly including hashtags to group conversations within its clinician messaging system, and using the “@” system popular with Twitter and Instagram to directly contact particular team members looking after a patient.
Emergency Medicine doctor Joe Logan and co-founder Sarah Humphreys wanted to make messaging easier, secure and more efficient for healthcare workers within hospitals, residential care facilities and other clinical care centres. As Dr Logan explained, “At work, I receive texts, phone calls, emails and paper notes from members of the care team, making communication inefficient as it’s often between two parties rather than the multidisciplinary team.” Not to mention the confusion when a four-digit pager number is entered incorrectly and directed to the wrong person or team, wasting precious time in an emergency.
With Facebook and Twitter already on most peoples’ phones, this means Bleep takes a familiar practice from out-of-work communications to implement safer and better targeted messaging systems in clinical care.
CancerAid makes the cancer journey easier for patients, loved ones and healthcare professionals through several features including its Journal, Treatment diary, Opt-in Research, and Newsfeed. Pic courtesy of founder Dr Nik Pooviah
Another Australian startup, CancerAid, has successfully used storytelling and community-building to help humanise the earth-shattering cancer experience for would-be users of their app.
Founder and Radiation Oncology registrar Dr Nikhil Pooviah was struck with his CancerAid Awards inspiration one day as the app was preparing for its soft launch on the AppStore. (Stay tuned for Android news.) Celebrating the victories of cancer patients, oncology researchers, charity fundraisers, and others in the Oncology world, CancerAid’s growing reach speaks volumes about the power of sharing experiences to help deal with a tremendous burden of illness.
CancerAid‘s Symptoms Journal solves the memory recall problem encountered by patients and care providers in clinics worldwide, allowing better tracking of side-effects and other problems. Pic courtesy of CancerAid
Furthermore, CancerAid’s Awards and Championsconcept empowers users to treat the cancer journey not as a setback, but as a temporary hurdle, a race of sorts, with a Winning mindset from the start.
What strategies do you use involving social media with your healthcare solution? Leave a comment below or Contact Us if you want to share privately.
The Mayo Social Media Summit is for anyone interested in how social media can help solve problems in healthcare. They also run a course for medical professionals navigating social media. Tickets for the Summit in Melbourne are available here.
*The startups listed are not affiliated with the Mayo Clinic. If you’re interested in learning more about either startup or enquiring about trialling either at your hospital/clinic/service, contact them at the links in this article. Both Bleep and CancerAid are currently available on the AppStore for free download. Bleep is also on GooglePlay.