New medical app for doctors, patients' families

December 28, 2012

If you have ever had a loved one go in for surgery, you know how agonizing it can be to wait to hear an update from the doctor.

But now a new app called "MD Connect Me" is helping to make communication easier and give families some re-assurance.

73-year-old Rosemary Penrod is used to taking care of everyone. She has two daughters and a son and eight grandchildren.

But when she went in for sinus surgery, the tables were turned.

"My brother and I were very nervous, we were trying not to let her know, but we were," said daughter Lisa Frankel.

To alleviate some of that anxiety, Dr. David Kennedy with Penn Medicine is using a new app called MD Connect Me. It allows doctors to give families updates via text or email throughout the procedure.

"The patient has arrived, that the patient has gone back to the surgery suite, that the patient's asleep, doing well, waking up and so on and so forth," explained Dr. David Kennedy.

Co-founder of the app Scott Anzel says it's easy to use.

The messages are already set up. The patient decides who gets them, and typically a nurse sends them out every 30 minutes.

"It's a small thing that makes a big difference," said Anzel.

Rosemary's daughters agree. They had to be at work or with the kids while their mom was in the O.R.

"It was really nice, I was really grateful they had this in place so that I didn't have to worry," said Lisa.

And when the procedure was over, MDConnectMe helped them find their mom.

"We were able to walk with her as she was wheeled to her hospital room," Lisa said.

Rosemary was glad her kids were kept in the loop. She thinks the app will help other families as well.

"For people who are far away, really far away who have no way of coming when someone is having surgery, to know their loved one is doing well," said Rosemary.

The app does not break any privacy laws. It also doesn't give bad news via tex


Right now the service is being used at several hospitals nationwide, and they hope to expand the services to other areas of healthcare such as labor and delivery and long-term care.

It is free for patients.

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