The Social Web Moves From Facebook to Face Transplant: The New Look For Patients and Loved Ones is Secure and Private

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MDconnectME, a Pennsylvania based healthcare technology start-up, has developed a way to improve patient experience and health care efficiency through a secure and HIPAA compliant communication platform. Dr. Chad R. Gordon, the visionary and Co-founder of MDconnectME, was interviewed on DoctorRadio (SiriusXM radio) yesterday and discussed how one great innovation he was involved in (the first US face transplant) led him down the path to another innovation at the intersection of healthcare and the social web.

“I realized during the face transplant operation in 2008, that there has to be a secure way to communicate with loved ones, instead of depending on potentially out-of-date phone numbers, or taking a chance with potentially non-secure web or ph

Over the past three years, we have seen revolutionary changes in the field of reconstructive & plastic surgery, starting in 2008, with the first U.S. face transplant, performed at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Just last week, a 25-year old man, burned in an electrical accident, received a full face transplant at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

These complex surgeries often require the collaboration of large teams of doctors, nurses, and allied health personnel, across many specialties. While communication is key, it’s not always easy. Sometimes getting everyone on the same page, with real-time information, can be as complicated as the medical procedure itself, and sometimes, patients’ loved ones might be unintentionally overlooked.

But health care communication is taking on a whole 'new look' as it converges with the world of social media.

In general, health care professionals are particularly mindful of bridging the gap between patients in surgery, and giving status updates to their loved ones waiting anxiously in limbo. A recent statistic finds, 92% of doctors now carry a smartphone, which should make it easier to reach out to a patient’s family... but not so fast.

Patient-privacy and security rules, covered under HIPAA and HITECH restrictions, are making healthcare professionals reluctant to contact patients’ loved ones through Facebook, Twitter, and other online social networks, because repeated violations could prove costly.

Hospitals and medical institutions are well aware of these technology-communication challenges, and have been doing a lot to augment their presence on the social web. According to a recent statistic, more than 10% of US hospitals now have their own social media communication departments, including the Mayo Clinic, which has even developed its own Social Media guidelines.

Harvard /Massachusetts General Hospital Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Chad R. Gordon knows about the communication difficulties first hand. As the medical team coordinator, for the first US Face Transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, he was responsible for making sure everyone was in sync.

During an interview on Thursday, on SiriusXM’s Dr. Billy Goldberg show, on Doctor Radio (Sirius ch.114 and XM ch.119) Dr. Gordon said, “I realized during the face transplant operation in 2008, that there has to be a secure way to communicate with loved ones, instead of depending on potentially out-of-date phone numbers, or taking a chance with potentially non-secure web or phone communication.”

Dr. Gordon said, in many cases, especially at world-renowned institutions like Massachusetts General, Johns Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic, where many patients travel from other parts of the country for care, “The family can’t be in the waiting room, and consequently we need a secure method of communication that adheres to strict patient-privacy and security requirements, which is why we developed MDconnectME.”

In addition to being a face transplant surgeon, Dr. Gordon is the Co-founder and key visionary behind MDconnectME, a pre-revenue start-up, which has plans to launch it’s patent pending technology in later 2011. He said, “The whole idea behind MDconnectME is to improve the overall patient-experience by providing secure, HIPAA-compliant, patient-centered and patient-directed communication.”

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Scott Anzel
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