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Health Care and Mobile Apps: Brave New Medicine

  • Mar 12 2013
  • Topic Tags
By ANKITA RAO, Kaiser Health News
February 28, 2013

Last year Dr. Michael Nusbaum introduced a mobile application in an effort to make scheduling a medical appointment as easy as sending a Facebook message to a friend, and as safe as sharing your medical information in person at the doctor’s office.

The New Jersey-based surgeon said he designed MedXCom ”to bring doctor-patient communication to the twenty-first century” by sharing medical records, prescriptions and treatments on smartphones. The app is one of hundreds that promote health and health care, but it’s one of the first designed to meet the patient privacy standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. With millions of Americans having their medical information compromised, privacy and security were at the forefront of Nusbaum’s venture.

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Now Nusbaum, CEO of MedXCom, is building on this technology with a new app to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. And he’s hoping that MedXSafe, which targets the touchscreen-friendly 20-something generation, will prove to be more catchy than the STDs that affect a quarter of U.S. college students.

“Most college students are responsible enough to do it, as long as it’s not too invasive,” he said about testing and sharing STD results.

The app syncs STD test results from clinics onto a student’s personal mobile page. The idea is that a student can share the secure test results with a sexual partner by either showing them or using the “bump” function, a way of transferring information between phones by physically touching them.

“There is probably growing ease and comfort in sharing things online,” said Dr. Victor Schwartz, a psychiatrist and medical director of The Jed Foundation, an organization focused on mental health college students. Having examined young people’s attitudes toward health and the use of mobile communication and social media, he said an app like MedXSafe could be a useful tool.

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