The Facebook of Medical Records


A California hospitalist has launched a website that he envisions as an electronic health records (EHR) portal for physicians and patients alike.

MDblackbox aims to blend the interactive familiarity of such social networks as Facebook with the institutional-grade security necessary to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), according to its inventor, Sami Bogale, MD, a hospitalist at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, Calif.

"The idea is for any doctor to sign up, nationwide, and [the site] will provide uninterrupted communication" both between doctors and between physicians and patients, says Dr. Bogale, CEO of MDblackbox Inc. "The idea from the patient side is that if a patient goes out of town or goes to a new physician, they have a real copy of their medical record right there."

Dr. Bogale says he's been working on the site for the better part of three years and has spent $250,000 or so on its development. (He jokes that he doesn’t want to know how much time he’s spent on it.) He decided to launch the site this month as he saw other entrepreneurs and physicians looking to take advantage of the momentum behind EHR, buzz attributable in large part to health reform. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in January that registration had begun for applications to garner a piece of the $20 billion the federal government has set aside for doctors and hospitals that adopt new technologies.

Dr. Bogale continues to look for venture capitalists to back his site, which includes records management, appointment scheduling and reminder, lab orders and voice recordings that can be attached to medical files. Most services are free.

"The idea is to have a nationwide system where every doctor could pretty much have their own personal page and interact with doctors and patients," Dr. Bogale says. "I could see it really growing."

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