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The Philadelphia COPD Initiative; PCMS Chooses DocBookMD

By Lynn Lucas- Fehm, MD, JD

The Philadelphia COPD Initiative: Translating Guidelines into Opportunity

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It is projected to be the third leading cause of death by the time the next census is taken in 2020. According to the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvania has the sixth-highest COPD death rate in the U.S.

There is a strong association between poverty and COPD with lower family income associated with increased mortality risk. Philadelphia with its diverse population, high tobacco use prevalence, and pockets of socio-economic deprivation makes COPD care an urgent public health priority for our city.

When we look back on our experience with this illness, it sometimes appears that the people who write treatment guidelines expect physicians to address every aspect of COPD care at each visit. We recognize thatís not realistic.

By breaking the issues of treatment down into their most relevant components, the Philadelphia COPD Initiative can help you maximize the impact of the time spent on COPD care – making what you can do for your patient within a typical visit much closer to what you would like to do for your patient in that visit.

The goal of the Philadelphia COPD Initiative is to provide simple-to-use resources that can help physicians and patients increase their effectiveness in managing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Our objective is to create a repository of straightforward insights that can help clinicians deal with the practical realities of COPD that are not traditionally reflected in established COPD guidelines.

There are four integrated components to the program that are available at www.phillycopd.com. You can mix and match the parts that work best for you. The core function of the web-based methods is to help improve COPD outcomes in primary care and consolidate the volumes of available guideline information and recommendations into several easy-to-reference, continuing education opportunities, each with immediate relevance to everyday practice needs. The CME activities are free, and monitored by the American Academy of Family Physicians for clinical relevance and absence of commercial bias. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health sponsor this Philadelphia Department of Public Health Initiative.

Additionally, The Philadelphia County Medical Society will hold a CME COPD Program at Society Headquarters on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 from 6:00 PM ñ 8:00 PM. Speaker: Frank Leone, MD, MS, Director Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program, University of Pennsylvania, Penn Lung Center and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Division. To register please call PCMS at (215) 563-5343 X 113


Philadelphia County Medical Society Chooses DocBookMD for HIPAA-Compliant Messaging

Suppose a previously healthy man passes out at work and is taken to the emergency room. When evaluating this hypothetical patient, various medical tests would be obtained. If a cardiac abnormality is detected, the ER physician contacts the on-call cardiologist for consultation to discuss appropriate treatment.

Under normal circumstances, it might take the ER physician considerable time to locate and communicate relevant findings to the on-call cardiologist. Valuable time that can be better utilized in patient care is often lost due to inability to directly communicate and discuss patient information, tests, and imaging. However, new HIPAA compliant technology has provided a solution to this issue.

Now Philadelphia physicians are able to text patient data legally using a new HIPAA-compliant mobile application, DocBookMD. The smartphone platform designed by and for physicians, utilizes secure networks for physicians to share patient information and collaborate with their medical colleagues.

With DocBookMD, the above described ER physician can quickly locate the cardiologistís mobile number using the online directory and speak with him/her within minutes. EKGs can be sent using DocBookMDís messaging capability. This ability to securely transmit relevant patient information gives physicians the tools to make efficient informed decisions and save lives. In the above hypothetical case, the cardiologist could review the EKG, determine that a patient has a serious heart block and notify the ER physician that he/she is on his way to the hospital to evaluate the patient in a matter of minutes.

Faster patient care coupled with time savings for physicians is the promise of this new mobile application, DocBookMD. It allows HIPAA compliant communication among doctors with data sharing of patient X-rays, lab results, charts and more.

DocBookMD also allows physicians to:

  • assign an urgency response time to outgoing text messages and confirm receipt
  • search a local pharmacy directory, and
  • search a local medical society directory to locate other doctors by name or by specialty

The smart phone application is free to physicians who are members of the Philadelphia County Medical Society through a sponsorship paid by PMSLIC. DocBookMD is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android phones. To download the application, visit the App store on your smart phone.

“As a family physician, I handle a lot of urgent care and I need to contact multiple specialists,” said DocBookMD co-founder Tracey Haas, MD. “Now I have an easy and quick way to send a text message or look up their back office phone line without bothering my front office staff or my nurses.”

Drs. Gueramy and Haas founded the company the night of their first wedding anniversary. Just as appetizers arrived, Dr. Gueramy was paged to the hospital for an emergency which later turned out not to be serious as first thought.

The couple spent months researching technology options and talking with X-ray technicians and their fellow doctors in Central Texas. ìWe started out to solve this problem only for our fellow physicians in Austin Texas. Today, more than 100,000 physicians in 20 states who are members of a medical society have free access to DocBookMD.

To find out how the medical society in your county can sign-up for DocBookMD, contact jill@docbookmd.com or call 512-468-2070.



Lynn Lucas- Fehm, MD, JD, is the 150th President of the Philadelphia County Medical Society (www.philamedsoc.org).

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