The email from an OhMD user

I was at the office late one night last summer when my iPhone buzzed on the desk.

*New email*

It was from a pediatrician on that I had spoken to a few times in the past. I was expecting a support question or a feature request, but this email was different:


I always believed that we could truly have a positive impact on healthcare if we just made patient communication ridiculously easy.

Read the rest of the article here (originally published on Medium)…

Co-founder, Ethan Bechtel’s, goal for OhMD Texting for Doctors

Founder and CEO of OhMD, Ethan Bechtel, wants to protect healthcare from HIPAA violations for free. In this day and age texting and other alternatives to phone calling are ideal for the average person in America. Many people outside of the healthcare field don’t know or understand that they cannot communicate with their doctors over SMS. With so many different communication applications coming out everyday, the average person doesn’t think much about texting their doctor. By using SMS to send protected health information is a violation of HIPAA. Ethan’s goal is to address this issue with OhMD.

What does OhMD allow me or my doctor to do?

With OhMD doctors and patients can communicate easily and efficiently without violating HIPAA.  By using OhMD patients can have direct access to their practice and health information if they need it. For example if I go to a new Ophthalmologist for a new pair of prescription glasses, my new doctor will not have my old prescription on file.  If I were using OhMD I could have easily requested my information and been able to give my new Ophthalmologist accurate information. If a similar exchange happened over SMS, it would be a HIPAA violation. Using SMS to send protected patient information (PHI) is a violation because it is not secure. With OhMD all your information is being sent of HIPAA certified channels as well as stored in your doctors EHR. With OhMD patients can access their information securely, and not have to worry about non-medical professionals accessing their information. 

It’s clear that there is a disconnect between patients and Doctors in terms of the proper channels to communicate outside of calling in. Bechtel has addressed this with OhMD and will change the way people communicate in healthcare.


OhMD and Me: Physician says Erysipelas

Written by Kate McIntosh, M.D.

The following story is based on a real-life patient situation I have encountered with names and some clinical details modified:

Rebecca is 6 years old.  She has been healthy, except for her mild asthma, which hasn’t been bothering her. She woke up with a rash on her arm which was a little red. Her mother wasn’t really concerned and put some antibacterial cream on it. The next day, however, the rash was red and spreading.

Her mother took a picture of the rash and sent it to our office using the secure messaging functionality of the OhMD app. The message was received by the office manager who routed it to the nurses. The triage nurse ran the photo by the Nurse Practitioner who was working that day. Based on the photo sent by the mother, the Nurse Practitioner determined that an office visit was necessary.

Dr. Kate McIntosh, a practicing pediatrician in Middlebury, Vermont.

Dr. Kate McIntosh, a practicing pediatrician in Middlebury, Vermont.

Rebecca came into the office, where the rash was seen to be very extensive and spreading over her arms and trunk. It was a concerning red rash. She was otherwise completely healthy, no fever, no cold symptoms, no other complaints. The rash didn’t itch. It wasn’t hives, it wasn’t raised, it was not a classic viral rash.

The two providers in the office were not sure what to make of the rash. So the Nurse Practitioner took several photos of the rash and sent me a secure message over the provider side of OhMD.

I was about an hour away from my practice, when my phone alerted me that I had a message in OhMD. I got the history and the photos of this rash. I was able to ask the Nurse Practitioner several additional questions, and she sent me several more photos.

Based on the photos, I suggested that she get a strep test on the patient because the rash looked like erysipelas. Erysipelas is a rash caused by strep. The patient’s strep screen was positive, even though she didn’t have a sore throat, and the patient was started on antibiotics.

OhMD allows us to text securely with our patients, and with each other. It improves hand-offs between providers, and transitions to call. It allows us to notify each other in real time of patients and conditions which need to be followed up.  It also allows us to use an expanded consultation network for communicating with providers who may not be in the office at the time.

We also use it to ask each other questions about patients which might not be answered by the existing notes. Our patients really like being able to contact us by text, and we really appreciate being able to contact each other easily and securely.