Need to Consult a Trauma Surgeon? There’s an App for That!


Technology continually improves healthcare and our daily lives.

The video below is a fantastic example of technology saving lives by providing improved access to trauma surgeons in areas that don’t have them on staff. Trauma surgeon Rafael Grossmann MD(@ZGJR) reached out to me on twitter and shared with me the video. In it, he discusses iPod Teletrauma: the $229 130 million sq. ft. Trauma Room.


I would love to see the use of Facetime via iPhones and iPods be utilized more often to incorporate specialist consults in more patient care. But as Dr. Grossmann makes a slight mention to in the video, I am sure there are many HIPAA concerns that would have to be addressed in order for this to take place in any healthcare organization.

Using an Apple iPhone and Facetime to improve patient care and save lives. Amazing. And a fantastic use of emerging technologies.

But How Will They Get Reimbursed?

There is also the very real and practical concern of billing for services provided by physicians. I’m not 100% clear of the standards, but I believe there are certain criteria that MDs have to meet in their relationships with patients in order to bill for  service. Although honesty, that world is one I don’t know well enough to speak too much on the subject.

The beautiful thing about using iPods is that facetime is incorporated into the operating system and is a free service to other apple iDevices. Most hospitals already have secure wifi networks in place as well. So setting it up and getting programs utilizing facetime would be fairly simple (at least in relationship to hardware). The policies and other details may prove more of a challenge.

However, if compensation logistics can be worked out, and it can be done in a manner than is protective of the patient’s privacy, then I see no reason why programs like this shouldn’t be adopted across the country.


Think of all the lives that can be saved. Think of the increased access to care this will give so many patients. This could open up a whole new playing field in access to healthcare.

This is a very exciting time to be involved in healthcare with all the innovations we are seeing that help us improve the lives of the patients we serve. I am thrilled that I get to participate in it.

We can now video chat on our cell phones and that is nothing short of amazing. It is such a huge leap forward in using technology to enhance our lives. I doubt the engineers at Apple had any idea that facetime would be used to save lives. But it is. And that is awesome.


  1. says

    This type of technology is sure to be a breakthrough in medical care. One of the biggest complaints patients have is dealing with hospitals and ER’s for health problems. This type of medical application can provide access to a doctor or a nurse to help people avoid many hassles and bring down the cost of healthcare. I’m sure many people in rural areas will love to put this in use.

  2. says

    This is amazing technology. But the question remains, how will doctors get paid for this service that they provide? And with so much use of the technology the costs may rise with it. If we can get around the “Money” this is an awesome tool to save lives. Really amazing!

  3. Rafael Grossmann says

    Thanks for an excellent article about the intersection of innovation, technology and healthcare. A good idea behind the technology is what makes it successful and useful. Intuitive use of technology is one of the main tools to decrease the insane cost of our health care delivery.

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