Giffen Solutions, Created by Fed-Up Doc, Connects MDs and Patients

5/2/12Follow @arleneweintraub

Michael Nusbaum rarely thought twice about giving his personal cell phone number to patients after he operated on them. Nusbaum is a bariatric surgeon at New Jersey’s Morristown Medical Center, and he wanted patients to be able to reach him easily by phone or text. But then he found out that sending text messages to patients violates federal privacy laws. Whenever patients texted him, “I wouldn’t text them back,” Nusbaum says. “I had to pick up the phone and call them so I wouldn’t violate the law.”

So Nusbaum turned his annoyance into a business plan. He teamed up with his wife, who is a neuroradiologist at New York University, and founded Giffen Solutions in 2010 with the intent to create a secure smartphone app that doctors could use to talk to patients without violating privacy regulations. Giffen beta tested the product, called MedXCom, with a couple hundred doctors for a year before making it available to the broader medical community on April 12, Nusbaum says. More than 35,000 doctors and patients are now using it, according to the company. And Giffen, which raised $1 million in angel funding, expects to secure an additional $5 million financing round this month, Nusbaum says.

Nusbaum designed MedXCom to replace the after-hours answering services that doctors typically use. “There are huge barriers that exist in the communication between the doctor and the patient,” Nusbaum says. For example, he says, when a patient has an emergency and calls her doctor’s answering service after the office closes, the doctor may not have access to her medical records when he calls her back. And if he needs to order a prescription for her, he’s unlikely to remember what drugs she’s already taking.

If a doctor is subscribed to MedXCom, after-hours calls get forwarded to his cell phone instead of an answering service. “Before I speak to you, it will push your entire health profile to my cell phone,” Nusbaum says. “I can see everything—what surgeries you’ve had, what allergies you have, the medications you’re on. I have all that information even before I take the call.” If the doctor wants to order a prescription, he can do so right through the app.

Nusbaum had more than just his experience as a doctor to call upon when he created MedXCom. In 1998, he founded Hamilton Scientific and created one of the first electronic medical records (EMRs). He sold the company to MeridianEMR, which built it into a leading product for urologists before selling it to HealthTronics in 2011.

Since then, competition in the EMR field has intensified, thanks largely to the federal government’s new “meaningful use” legislation, which offers financial incentives to doctors who embrace technology for record-keeping. Dozens of companies have popped up to offer … Next Page »

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