Following the successful launch of their app-based medical practice platform a few months ago, HealthDocs has launched a free app designed to help patients manage their health and wellbeing from a single platform.

HealthDocs was established in early 2017 in Johannesburg by digital health entrepreneur and former Healthbridge Chief Information Officer (CIO), George Rudman and his business partner, Marc Rausch. Their vision was to create a practice management solution to improve efficiencies and facilitate the digitisation processes of day-to-day actives in a doctor’s practice.

The new patient-facing app, HealthDocs Patient, is an extension of their original solution, HealthDocs Plus, in that it allows the patient to track all of their health interactions in real-time with their doctors who are already using HealthDocs Plus.

“Through the HealthDocs Patient app we are creating a connected health ecosystem that will track all the health interactions of a patient with various health professionals to create a single health record,” said Rudman.

Following the ethos of empowering the patient to take control of their own health, the app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices, allows users to keep their own health record as well as access other important healthcare information.

Through the app patients can upload and store their health metrics, including allergies, BMI, blood glucose and blood pressure readings. Every time the record is updated a trend analysis is generated so that the patient can compare their readings over time. Such a digital tool is especially beneficial to patients with diabetes who often have to resort to writing their glucose levels in a booklet or even on a piece of paper.

“By using the app you’re never going to lose that information as it’s all stored in the cloud,” said Rudman. “We’ve also created the ability for patients to store clinical documents like a radiology exam, and even other life documents like their will, by digitising the paper document using the digitisation tools incorporated in the patient app. By using your smartphone’s camera the patient can create secure PDFs that can be shared with their doctor.”

When it comes to sharing information with their doctor, the patient can choose exactly which documents they want to share. The doctor can also share information with the patient through the patient app, such as pathology results, radiology results, scripts, treatment plans and other basic consultation information.

Through the app patients are also able to locate a medical provider, either by location or speciality, and make an online booking with doctors who are using HealthDocs Plus. “Once the patient makes an appointment booking a notification is sent to the medical provider to approve. A confirmation notification is then sent back to the patient and the appointment is automatically synced to their calendar,” said Rudman.

The patient app has been designed to cut down on paper registration forms because doctors using HealthDocs Plus will be able to pull the patient’s name and information through the patient app, with the patient’s consent.

“In the patient app we’ve incorporated a comprehensive terms and conditions document that appears in the app asking the patient to consent to sharing their record with the healthcare provider. So we’re streamlining the on-boarding of new patients, we’re handling compliance and the practice terms and conditions, and we’re also bringing in the POPI compliance and getting authorisation from the patient and the doctor to store the medical record on their behalf,” said Rudman.

The final component of the patient app is an educational health resource through which patients can search for diseases and information and checklists on anything from hypertension to pregnancy to breast cancer. The information has all been clinically validated by more than one doctor and gets reviewed annually.

In the coming months the HealthDocs Patient app will expand its offering to include customised disease management programmes, such as for HIV or chronic conditions.

“Our goal is to be the biggest provider of a patient app in the country, and I believe we can do it. Right now it’s about creating a connected health environment within our own platform, and then the next step would be to offer integration with other apps on the market because ultimately we want a universal health record,” concluded Rudman.

The HealthDocs Patient app is available for free in the Google Play store and the Apple store.

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