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New app ensures confidential communication between doctors

  Photo: Freepik

Photo: Freepik

Ainhoa Sorrosal
A student is to thank for the design of DICUS, an app offering doctors professional positioning and the ability to consult with other medical professionals when making diagnoses

DICUS is a free app for doctors which allows its users to be part of a community, position themselves as specialists, exchange information confidentially and study the latest advances in the pharmaceutical industry. Users can turn to the app to request help with diagnoses from other doctors in the community or to share patient information with strict confidentiality, as required by the law on data protection. "The doctors don't need to know each other personally. Members of the DICUS community can reach out to one another depending on their professional interests", the app developer explained. "It's a quick and easy-to-use work platform, like an instant messaging app; a mix between WhatsApp and LinkedIn for doctors".

The DICUS project is led by Lorena Jan, a student on the UOC's Master's Degree in Legal Practice. The app has already completed a pilot test with a community of neurosurgeons and has now turned to advertising in hopes of attracting professional and medical associations that may be interested in the product.

To join the community, doctors sign up for free by entering their personal details on the app, which DICUS then validates to ensure users are licensed medical professionals. The doctors participating in the pilot test highlighted the fact that the app allows users to search by specialization and medical centre, making it much easier to locate medical specialists than on generic social media networks like LinkedIn. In this regard, Jan explained that "doctors make little use of LinkedIn when trying to find experts and exchange information. Sometimes they consult with their colleagues on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, but these are not designed for professional use". As well as the app's professional network being exclusive to doctors, the first round of users appreciated the legal security DICUS provides them when sharing patient information.

"I have seen doctors' concerns at first hand with my family, and as a law student I have come to realize that doctors need to be able to communicate amongst themselves without breaking doctor-patient confidentiality", Jan went on to say.

The business model is inspired by the real experiences of younger doctors, who have less time for consultations but are accustomed to using new technologies. The app is free for doctors and allows them to receive new studies and other updates from pharmaceutical companies, which pay a set fee to gain access to the DICUS community. "In 2017, pharmaceutical companies in Spain spent 143 million euros on advertising and 181 million in payments to doctors, either directly in the form of salaries or indirectly by covering the costs of their travels and attendance at conferences. We know that not all doctors have the opportunity to attend such events, but they do want the chance to receive information about new advances and products", Jan pointed out.

The app groups new studies and information relating to events by specialization.

The app has high potential: in Spain there are 253,000 registered doctors, 75% of whom are under 55 years of age. The project's promoter has now set her sights on Latin America as a potential target. This vast region hosts a million medical professionals, many of whom studied in Spain. "The app will allow these doctors to stay in touch with their mentors", Jan remarked.

Jan presented the application at the latest SpinUOC event, the forum promoted by the UOC to foster entrepreneurship within the educational community. "Presenting the project to other entrepreneurs who are at the same stage in their businesses was a great opportunity and a good learning experience in terms of networking with future investors", Jane noted.



Lorena Jan

Student on the university master's degree programme in Legal Practice

Expert in: Legal Practice

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