Doctors can now collaborate on clinical problem solving through a new smartphone app developed in-house at Doctors.net.uk.
The UK’s largest online doctor community (50,000+) recently launched an app called The Forum after experiencing a need for support and advice on clinical cases.
With a range of groups, doctors can raise topics for discussion or get in touch with specific specialists for responses to clinical conundrums, difficult medical cases, or to share concerns such as work-load issues, training and career decisions.
A doctors.net.uk spokesman said given the recent concerns regarding the use of WhatsApp in clinical settings, “it is important to emphasise that the app is only accessible to verified GMC registered doctors and uses data encryption.”
“It’s a safe and secure channel for clinical discussions to take place. Doctors are asked not to post any personal data regarding patients to ensure confidentiality”, the spokesman said.
The app which took four months to create, has an ‘Emergency Room’, allowing members to ask questions that require a very quick response. Usually answered in a few minutes, the spokesman said this feature allows potentially life-saving information to be quickly passed into the right hands, the spokesman said.
Dr Tim Ringrose, CEO of Doctors.net.uk which is part of the M3 group, said the app puts peer-to-peer support in the hands of doctors in the UK and helps the profession to deliver better, safer care, especially when dealing with unusual situations or emergencies.
“During this time of constrained NHS resources, it is particularly important for the medical profession to be able to support each other in solving problems,” Ringrose said.
Ringrose said the app also allows doctors to upload images to assist their clinical questions or simply create their own thread or poll and browse the most recent forum activity.
“If a doctor needs a rapid clinical response to a problem or query the average time of response is four minutes”, Dr Ringrose said.
“If a doctor has a clinical conundrum they have a variety of specialty-specific forums they can post in and receive responses from their peers in order to address the problem.”
There are about 23,000 posts a month in the forum.
The app is available on Apple and Android. For more information visit doctors.net.uk