While something as simple as a “to-do list” might seem trivial, a secure hub to store, prioritize and assign clinical and administrative tasks could be game-changing in healthcare.
Michael Docktor, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital made this case yesterday at the Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. He demonstrated Dock Health, a secure iOS mobile and web application that helps medical teams manage the numerous tasks that fall under clinical care. The idea was born in his gastroenterology practice at Boston Children’s and was incubated by the hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA).
“In an average day in clinic, I might see 15 patients and get 75 emails, 10 secure messages, three pages and five [electronic medical record] messages in my inbox,” Docktor writes on Medium. “Not too long ago, some emails were from frustrated colleagues, asking me to do something for a second or third time. Sadly, some were from parents of my patients, kindly reminding me that they were sitting in the lab waiting for the orders I forgot to place or trying to book their colonoscopy, for which I had forgotten to submit the form.”
A docking station for healthcare providers
Docktor wanted a tool to help him remember and close the loop on these many small tasks. Something with the simplicity of the shared to-do list on Wünderlist, which he and his wife use routinely. Something with the ease of collaboration and communication of platforms like Slack, Asana and Trello. Something to combat clinician overload and burnout.
Fortuitously, he received a call from Keather Roemhildt, a veteran user experience designer from the Silicon Valley. She wanted to apply her talents to problems in healthcare, and became Dock Health’s cofounder along with Docktor.
Their task was seemingly very simple — yet it had never been accomplished in healthcare. “There is no incumbent system or workflow,” says Docktor. “Our largest competitor is the Post-It note.”
As they began designing, Docktor got his core gastroenterology team, and administrator and a nurse, on board. They started by using Wünderlist, omitting patients’ last names and sensitive information since the tool isn’t HIPAA-compliant.
“The barrier to entry was incredibly low, and the ability to work together, collaborate and communicate was transformative,” Docktor writes. “My team had never been more efficient. Suddenly, we had clarity, we had accountability and we were all on the same page.”
From concept to HIPAA-compliant app
In 2016, Dock Health received an accelerator grant from IDHA, where Docktor serves part-time as Clinical Director. This gave the team access to software engineers, startup analysts, marketing experts and graphic designers who helped to create today’s HIPAA-compliant app.
In collaboration with HT Developers, Dock Health began a pilot in early September in Boston Children’s departments of Gastroenterology, Allergy/Immunology, Orthopedics and General Pediatrics. External pilots are set to begin shortly.
“We’re beyond excited to give clinical teams a simple yet powerful tool designed to make their lives easier and help them take better care of their patients,” says Roemhildt.