By doctors for doctors: DocbookMD saves time and lives

Austin, Texas, October 31, 2012

In the spring of 2012, orthopedic surgeon Tim Gueramy and his wife Tracey Haas, a family physician, had a decision to make. The Austin-based physicians could either hire in an executive team to run their rapidly growing startup company, DocbookMD, or they could leave their practices to focus on the business.

“It became a question of whether we want to help doctors take control of the way they communicate,” says Tim. “Or whether we just want to create a cool app. Although it wasn’t easy to give up the careers they’d worked so hard for, the doctors decided they could make a bigger impact in medicine by dedicating themselves full-time to the development and growth of DocbookMD. “We chose medicine to make a difference in the world, and right now with DocbookMD we feel that is possible.”, says Tracey.

An exclusive HIPAA-compliant messaging application for smartphone and tablet devices, DocbookMD responds to a growing need in medicine, by providing secure and efficient physician-to-physician communication. Through DocbookMD, physicians can send HIPAA-compliant text messages to other physicians, bundled with photos of x-rays, EKGs or any other patient information. The result is faster and richer consultations on patient care and treatment.

With the number of serious medical errors on the rise due to miscommunication between health care providers, it is shocking that there has been little meaningful change in this area in the past decade. JCAHO has estimated that up to 80% of serious preventable adverse patient events are due to poor communication between health care givers, up from 60% estimated in 2007 (JCAHO, 2010).

Through the doctors’ efforts and their commitment to keeping the app a physician-centric technology, DocbookMD has experienced over 250 percent growth this year. In a highly saturated technology market, that kind of growth is astounding.

When it comes to health IT, observes Tim, everyone is trying to solve the wrong problem. “Companies are trying to determine how to take enterprise wide solutions and force that technology into medicine. Instead, we’re asking, why do physicians need this technology, how can it adapt to the way they work and ultimately how will it help them and their patients?”

Based on their own experiences, Tim and Tracey know that if physicians can communicate quickly and efficiently, patient care is better. “Communication saves lives,” says Tim. “It’s as simple as that.” Also, by making the app freely accessible to all physicians who are part of a state or county medical association, Tim and Tracey have found a way to promote better communication throughout the entire community of medicine, making a bigger impact on patient care.

“We don’t want the app to look like just another mandated technology, that may or may not speed up their day,” adds Tracey. “We want the app to work with them throughout the day intuitively – sending messages through DocbookMD should not feel like a new behavior. From the start, DocbookMD has been designed to put the doctor in control.”

Although there have been many inquiries, the doctors are adamant about not wanting DocbookMD to become just an enterprise solution. They want DocbookMD to cross all of the traditional barriers in medicine, such as hospital walls, practice size or demographics. “Some of our competitors are working hard in this space,” says Tim. He also notes that these products do not allow the doctor to choose who can have access to them – which can be a real barrier to entry for this type of technology. Another drawback is that often these products integrate with social media, which few doctors have the time to engage in, and end up as subpar innovations because they are, as both doctors note, providing a solution to the wrong question.

“We’re trying to figure out how to give physicians what they really want but perhaps don’t know they need yet,” says Tim. “By focusing on patient care and improving physicians’ quality of life with an efficient, secure communication tool, DocbookMD provides a solution that’s different from everything else that’s out there.”

The need for a standardized communication tool for physicians is more important now than ever. According to a recent cross-sectional study of Medicare claims data, it was found that for every 100 Medicare patients a primary care provider sees, they must coordinate care with 99 other physicians across 53 specialties (Pham et al, 2009). In order to have coordinated care, these physicians must have a way to communicate effectively with each other.

As of October 2012, DocbookMD has grown to over 11,500 physician users in 28 states and continues to grow as new medical societies continue to sign on. Tim says, “In the past few months alone, we’ve significantly expanded our market share in Florida and Missouri as well as launching in Nebraska, Oregon, Montana and Georgia.

Today, DocbookMD is being configured so a physician can add any DocbookMD message into the patient record. It is also poised to expand as a tool for wider patient-care teams, in order to help with care coordination across any type of practice setting.

From the physician who called off surgery at last minute because of an abnormal lab sent by the anesthesiologist - to the cardiologist who was sent an EKG by an ER doctor and was then able to talk the ER doctor through an intervention, DocbookMD enables the kind of immediate, compliant communication that can change the face of healthcare—in a physician-centric, community-minded, patient-care-focused way.

In an age where physicians have had to succumb to increasing patient loads, penalties, and mandates, DocbookMD provides a technological solution that makes it easier to do the job.

“We saw an opportunity to make a change in this area of medicine,” says Tim. “We decided it was time for physicians to step up.”

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2 Responses to “By doctors for doctors: DocbookMD saves time and lives”

  1. November 25, 2012 at 3:59 am, Char Glenn said:

    How are DocBookMD messages downloaded into the EMR? We are starting on openEMR, an open source system based on the Linux operating system.
    I assume that, since you are Android compatible, that we will be able to figure this out.

    I am planning to buy an Android when I am ready for a smart phone.

    Thank you for your help!

    • November 30, 2012 at 3:25 am, admin said:

      DocbookMD allows messages to be uploaded into an EMR or HIE by using a national standard secure email protocol. Your EMR must be enabled to accept messages that follow the Direct protocol ( - which will become standard to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2. Thank you for your inquiry - and please do not hesitate to contact us for questions or suggestions!

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