Urology patients seeking treatment at South County Urological in St. Louis have experienced technologically advanced consultations. Urologist Abraham Hawatmeh, M.D., set out to revolutionize doctor-patient consultations.
Not long ago, Dr. Hawatmeh used paper and a marker to draw explanations of diagnoses and treatment options to help patients understand the complexities of the new information they were being told. But in the digital age, Hawatmeh said explaining a simple treatment of ureteral stones with a marker and paper seemed like the Stone Age.
“I was putting time into drawing,” said Hawatmeh. “But then I asked, can we transfer this to an app?”
Hawatmeh put together a team of experts to form a company that would create technology to one day benefit all specialists and patients. Fortunately, he didn’t have to look far. Hawtameh’s daughter, Barbara Pozzi, helped her father form Digital Medical Arts LLC. Pozzi is the company’s chief executive officer and Hawatmeh is the president.
Hawatmeh shares his practice at South County Urological with his urologist son, Dr. Salim Hawatmeh, who is now the chief medical officer of Digital Medical Arts.
The family approached Seth Krauss, a family friend with the right expertise, to become chief technology officer.
“Knowing how heavily regulated the health care industry is, there aren’t a lot of technology companies that are out there taking risks,” said Krauss.
Envisioning a real opportunity, the founders created MAX, a patient education software platform. Krauss said MAX offers a comprehensive library of multimedia images and videos that can be used to support the patient education process. It gives doctors the ability to add notes and has tools to personalize the consultation. Printing and emailing capabilities for sharing documents with patients are included.
Prostate cancer patient, Aaron Darnell, and his wife, Anita, were among the first to benefit from visuals included in the new patient consultation software. They were able to watch the presentation on a tablet and flat screen in the patient room. The technology covered treatment options for prostate cancer.
“It helps you with questions you might have,” said Aaron Darnell. “I think it’s a great tool.”
Three years after his surgical procedure, Darnell said he’s cancer free.
“I just think that it’s wonderful that a doctor took his time to do this, to make it easier for his patients to understand,” Anita Darnell said. “My hat goes off to him.”
The founders of Digital Medical Arts said MAX empowers patients, giving them confidence and comfort with treatment decisions. The idea also allows physicians to use their time more efficiently. The team launched the technology covering urology and is ready to move into other areas of specialty.
“We have the platform, now we just need experts in those fields to just plug in additional information,” said Dr. Salim Hawatmeh. “The template exists.”