9 Q&A: Doc Halo allows secure smart phone communication between healthcare professionals

CINCINNATI - Doc Halo is a pioneer in secure communications in the healthcare industry. The downtown Cincinnati startup has created suite of tools that help doctors and patients communicate without compromising privacy.

According to the Doc Halo website, more than 80 percent of all practicing physicians and more than 95 percent of residents carry smartphones (2012). Doc Halo aims to provide a way for healthcare professionals to share data without violating HIPAA privacy rules .

9 Questions for Doc Halo COO Cliff McClintick

1. How did you get the idea for Doc Halo?

Dr. Jose Barreau and Dr Amit Gupta (both oncologists) first came up with the idea in 2009 when they wanted to use their smart phones to collaborate with other doctors on patient care. They knew texting was a more efficient communication method but were not allowed because it violates HIPAA regulations. At that time there were no other options so they started to research creating an app that would allow them to communicate efficiently and securely. Voila, Doc Halo! Doc Halo was the first organization to enter this market.

2. How is Doc Halo better than other secure communications options for doctors?

Number one, Doc Halo is healthcare-centric. This is an application that is designed by clinicians for healthcare organizations. Doc Halo has the most clinically relevant features. For instance, we have the highest resolution secure photo attachments in the industry. Why? Because Doc Halo knows that physicians will be using these photos to diagnose a patient’s illness.

We have worked tirelessly on making our product have the best usability in the industry. This is crucial because we know that physicians and hospital staff don’t have time for training, and a huge part of making something efficient is to make it easy to use. And our clients agree. The last survey we had in 2013 more than 95 percent of our clients said that Doc Halo is easy to use, which makes them more efficient and ultimately improves patient care. This is why Doc Halo is the leading provider of secure texting solutions in the nation.

3. Who are your target clients?

Efficient, secure communication is needed by everyone in the healthcare industry. Our customers range from single practices with one physician and one staff member to large healthcare systems with tens of thousands of physicians and staff. Our first customer was a physician who lives in Alaska and flies a Cessna from town to town visiting patients. Instead of communicating with a CB radio (not even close to HIPAA compliant) he uses Doc Halo. We truly have a diverse client base representing literally every specialty in health care.

4. What is Doc Halo's "Big Vision?"

Doc Halo’s mission and number one goal is to improve patient care by improving real-time communication. That is why Dr. Barreau and Dr. Gupta created the company and the product. In healthcare if you can create something that actually improves patient care, that is really something special.

5. What have been the most popular key features of your communication suite?

I think the open network. Efficient communication is addictive and contagious! Obviously the secure aspect of our product is the draw and the hook. But once our customers start using the product they realize Doc Halo is not just about secure texting but about aligning their communication inside and outside their organization. They can securely share files, videos, photos, complete patient notes and bills, contact their staff and referring physicians all on their phone at the touch of a button. Doc Halo is secure powerful communication!

6. How has Doc Halo evolved since its beginnings?

Doc Halo has come a long way in a very short period of time. Doc Halo, like most successful companies, started from a great idea and now we have a product that is improving patient care across the nation. It’s like a dream come true. We are growing exponentially and there is no sign of slowing down.

7. What has been the biggest challenge in growing the company?

The biggest challenge is keeping focused on the right things. This is our biggest challenge, but also a key to our success. It is easy to get distracted by every new shiny thing that comes along. We know if we remain focused on our mission of improving patient care success follows.

8. Are there any new features planned?

The ideas are endless. We have a very creative team and we also partner with our clients and listen to their ideas. One idea we are working on is creating a secure gallery for physicians to keep photos, files, etc., on their phones. They will be able to organize these assets by any key words they want, to help with diagnosis and education. We are also designing a virtual clinic to give healthcare organizations a way for professionals to easily collaborate on patient care for tough unique cases.

9. What's next for Doc Halo?

We are committed to improving our product with constant change and new features. For instance we just released Patient Halo, a secure and efficient way

to communicate with patients. This product is perfect for organizations that are committed to the highest level of patient care. Health care organizations can control who the patient can message (one way or two way) to encourage a healthy lifestyle and remind them of their appointments and to take their medications. 

Connect with WCPO Contributor Feoshia Davis on Twitter: @feoshiawrites.  Look for a new column each Monday.

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