Hospital communication goes mobile

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

It’s 2014 and in hospitals across the country, doctors are still using pagers.While the rest of the world has moved on to mobile phones with messaging apps and data sharing through social media, many hospitals still require on-call employees to walk around with technology from the 1990s. More

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Hospital communication goes mobile

PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
MOBILE DEVICE: Care Thread has a secure way for surgeons and nurses to coordinate patient care on their phones and through social media, instead of outdated pagers, says President Nick Adams, above left. Also pictured is Chief Technology Officer Andrew Shearer.

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 7/7/14

It’s 2014 and in hospitals across the country, doctors are still using pagers.While the rest of the world has moved on to mobile phones with messaging apps and data sharing through social media, many hospitals still require on-call employees to walk around with technology from the 1990s.

It’s not as if health care providers have less of a need to send, receive and access information than other professions. In fact, the collaborative, 24-hour, data-hungry nature of medicine requires greater mobile communication than most professions.

So why can’t surgeons and nurses coordinate patient care on their phones?

The issue, of course, is security, says Nick Adams, president of Care Thread, a Providence company trying to change how the medical profession communicates.

“If we could just use Facebook to share patient records, that would be great, but hospitals have to protect patient privacy and comply with the [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act],” Adams said. “We are a secure social network, connecting the care team to each other, so they can communicate and bring the patient into the conversation.” Founded by three friends from Wisconsin, Care Thread has been working to bring their mobile health-records app to the health care industry for three years, including time at Providence’s Betaspring startup accelerator in 2012.

It hasn’t been easy finding a niche between the giants in the health care and mobile-app sectors. Over the last three years, one of the company’s three co-founders left to explore other ventures, as has a head of marketing.

But this year, Care Thread has signed two contracts with major health providers and is close to crossing the threshold into positive cash flow, Adams said.

Care Thread’s first deal was with Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which includes two hospitals and 16 other outpatient facilities.

Then this spring, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston purchased the Care Thread system, which launched last month on a contract set to run through August 2015.

Adams said the company is also close to a deal with an accountable-care organization for its first contract in Rhode Island and hopes to be able to announce it this summer.

Care Thread has also teamed with Beacon Partners Inc., a health care management firm in Weymouth, Mass., that will sell and implement the Care Thread system nationally.

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