iConsult: Sharing Physician Resources Online

iConsult, iConsult app, digital health

iConsult is a dynamic physician resource allowing doctors from around the US to share insights with each other on challenging cases.  It is expanding the way physicians diagnose and treat patients.

Physicians who are members of Sermo (free for all physicians with verification) can simply go to the iConsult feature on the Sermo iPhone app and upload key case information anonymously.  The typical physicians will give a brief history, stats, any lab results, and often include pictures or X-rays if relevant.

From there the responses come in.  Most iConsult cases have a first response within three minutes.  iConsult posts can easily have more than 50 comments as physicians from various disciplines discuss patient diagnosis and care.

Since the iConsult app was first introduced physicians within Sermo have noted faster diagnoses, a decrease in unnecessary lab work and an increase in positive, speedy patient outcomes and recovery times.

So yes, lower costs and better patient care, something we’re all striving to achieve.

iConsult Case Study:  Floating Doctors / Panama

A 33-year old Ngabe woman (indigenous group living in remote rural communities in Western Panama), presented with a black “cloud” over her eye which had been worsening for three years.  The internal medicine doctor provided a picture of the eye and all the pertinent information.

Physicians from six different disciplines discussed the case online including nine separate ophthalmologists weighing in with their opinions.  Floating Doctors was able to go back to the patient and check a few more details and pinpoint a diagnosis and treatment.

In the words of Benjamin LaBrot, founder of Floating Doctors, “We were able to post this last night, and this morning I sat the patient down in front of the computer, showed her how many doctors posted about her case (she cannot read), and told her that we think we have a diagnosis, and that–good news–if this is correct and there are no other problems with the eye, then a surgery will probably be curative.

She was pretty pleased (as you can imagine; think of having that for so long and having no answers and no option for help or treatment) and wanted to know when we could arrange the surgery. So, we are on it–so awesome, so powerful. I am giddy with this new capability!”

iConsult Has Many Applications

The iConsult app is not just for rural or remote parts of the planet.  Our physicians use iConsult regularly throughout the US to collaborate.  Our doctors estimate that as much as 40% of cases fall into a “grey area” where more than one possibility for diagnosis exists;  by using the iConsult app, doctors have the opportunity to narrow down their choices or determine what the best next steps are.

The iConsult app is free and available to all physicians who are members of Sermo.  Membership to Sermo is also free.  Just sign up and once you’re verified you are ready to participate.