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Making Good Doctors Better: Joel Selzer of Ozmosis Sits Down with GovConExecutive

Joel Selzer, CEO and founder of Reston-based Ozmosis, sat down and spoke with us last week.  He told us how a trusted, secure, and verified network of physicians can help doctors learn from each other without spending a fortune, and spoke about health apps for the iPhone and other high-tech tools doctors will use in the future.  Bottom line: trusted IT platforms like Ozmosis will make good doctors better without bankrupting practices.

GovConExecutive: How does Ozmosis differ from the competition?

Joel Selzer: Ozmosis is a more purposeful application of a professional network to enable physicians to learn from each other in a secure environment, and we focus on three key elements that significantly differentiate us from the competition. First, Ozmosis is a trusted network which means that our physicians know exactly who they are learning from and communicating with at all times. What you see in the competitive landscape are anonymous sets of discussion boards where doctors have to use a pseudonym to engage their peers. The problem with that approach becomes clear in a clinical situation where physicians are evaluating the efficacy of one treatment versus another or discussing a specific clinical case. In this setting, most physicians have told us that they absolutely have to know whom they are learning from and talking to or the information being shared is of less value. Second, Ozmosis is a more powerful platform that dynamically aggregates the collective insights and knowledge being shared by our physicians and posts that information back to each individual doctor based on their specialty, interests and network of peers. Our physicians build professional relationships with each other, similar to the way most of us do on LinkedIn or even on Facebook. Our doctors filter the information they receive through the power of that network: instead of drinking from the proverbial fire hose, they use the tools on Ozmosis to find the information they need at the point of medical decision. Finally, our business model puts physicians first. Due to current macroeconomic events, not only do physicians have less time and less access to the traditional drug rep or sales rep but they need more immediate access to the information about those products and services in a timely and trusted manner. If you can provide value to doctors, protect their privacy, and truly help them deliver better medical care then the rest of the business takes care of itself. We don’t let third parties peer over the physician’s shoulder and literally watch their private conversations through a one-way mirror, instead we’ve tried to create a more effective model to bring physicians and the health care industry together in a more trusted and transparent way.


“What we’ve done with Ozmosis is created a system that today (without spending $19 billion) enables physicians to learn more effectively from each other…” -Joel Selzer


GovConExecutive: Airtight security is essential to trust, so how do you guarantee the privacy of your constituent doctors?

Joel Selzer: We protect our physician’s privacy at several points along the security continuum. First, we verify the identity of every doctor before they are granted access to Ozmosis. This is a two-step process: first verifying that they are in fact a physician and then verifying their online identity. In the second step of the process we require each physician to answer a set of knowledge-based questions that only the individual physician should know the answer to. It’s a very similar process to what financial institutions are doing online to verify users, whether you are signing up for a credit card or doing an online mortgage. Every doctor who joined Ozmosis knows that every physician before them has gone through the same process. Their identity has been verified and when they become part of the Ozmosis community their real names and credentials are being used. Every physician not only knows whom they are learning from but also understands that when they share information their own online reputation is at stake, and they value both their own privacy and the privacy of their colleagues. All of the information on Ozmosis from a technical standpoint is encrypted via SSL and the data in our datacenter is protected by all of the standard biometric security features of a hardened datacenter. We take great pride in making sure we live by our privacy policy and that our physicians know exactly how their information is being used.

GovConExecutive: CTO Chopra wants to “bend the cost curve of health care with IT innovation”. How does Ozmosis help do that?

Joel Selzer: What we’ve seen over the last six months since the Obama administration has come into office is a fantastic energy and passion around healthcare reform and transformation. As President Obama said in his speech to the AMA, a key element in driving that transformation is healthcare IT and Secretary Chopra has always been a big supporter of IT innovation in healthcare. What we’ve done with Ozmosis is created a system that today (without spending $19 billion) enables physicians to learn more effectively from each other and enables hospital systems to engage their physicians in a more collaborative process that can drive the more rapid adoption of healthcare IT systems like e-prescribing, computerized order entry, and electronic medical or health records (EMRs or EHRs). You can think of Ozmosis as the glue that helps to tie these other systems together and as a communications vehicle to reach out and touch physicians at multiple points along the healthcare IT adoption curve.

GovConExecutive: What new IT tools will physicians use in the future?

Joel Selzer: We actually ran a survey on Ozmosis (which you can see on the Ozmosis blog) that highlights the web centric tools physicians should be using in their practice. For example, online sharing of lab results in a properly controlled forum let’s a patient have access to their lab results more rapidly in order to accelerate the delivery of care. Some lab results can be shared and some lab results need to be discussed in the physician’s office face to face. Everything has a sliding scale. Another example is mobile devices. There is an application from Air Strip that was just released in conjunction with the new 3G IPhone that allows a physician to access all of the patient monitoring information; the EKG, the results, directly on the IPhone no matter where they are so physicians can instantly react when there is a change in the patient’s vital signs. Today, there is too often a delay in sharing of critical data and things always get lost when paper is involved, but when you take tools like Ozmosis or mobile-based applications you enable physicians to have more rapid access to the medical information they need to make informed decisions in real-time.

GovConExecutive: Tell me about your partnership with the Doctor’s Channel.

Joel Selzer: The Doctor’s Channel is a fantastic company based in New York, and they help physicians and other parties create short educational videos for health care providers. We host their videos on Ozmosis where our physicians can discuss the information being shared in the videos in a secure, trusted environment. A great example of our partnership can be seen on Ozmosis and the Doctor’s Channel with the videos we produced from UVA. Last summer we went down to the University of Virginia and together filmed twelve to thirteen of UVA’s leading physicians at the hospital and health system. We turned those interviews into short educational videos that were displayed on both the Doctor’s Channel and Ozmosis where our physician’s were able to discuss the different treatment outcomes, scientific research and best practices that had been shared.

GovConExecutive: What advantages does a social media model bring to the table?

Joel Selzer: The beauty of social media is that with very little cost you can enable parties across the world to more effectively share information and to collaborate in real time. When you are talking about healthcare IT adoption there are a number of impediments that we have to get over, like up-front capital expenditure to deploy an EMR system and the loss of revenue and productivity associated with a new set of tools. How do we get physicians to figure out what are the right electronic medical record systems to deploy in the first place? How do they pick the right tools and integrate them into practices at the lowest possible cost with the least amount of disruption? The way to drive adoption more effectively is to have doctors, healthcare providers and vendors all come together and share insights in a structured manner. Whether it is Ozmosis or another platform, you can crowdsource all that great insight and best practice to let physicians see the virtues of one solution and implementation methodology versus another. For example, PracticeFusion is a free web-based EMR for private practices that has over 10,000 physicians using their tools. Most doctors have never heard of PracticeFusion or FreedomMD and they are just two of the many new EMR vendors that have great web based tools that doctors should be made aware of. Another example is Hello Health, a new concierge web-based practice up in Brooklyn. They are using an innovative web interface built by Myca to help enhance communication between physicians and their patients to improve care. I think the Office of the National Coordinator has a great opportunity to drive innovation activity, but it’s not just about funding EMR adoption, it really needs to be about making doctors better. President Obama echoed this sentiment in his recent speech to the American Medical Association, when he talked about “harnessing our collective knowledge and experience on behalf of better medicine”. So the question we need to ask ourselves, as we push for health reform, is how do we enable physicians to leverage their knowledge and experience more effectively to deliver better care? As the co-founder of Ozmosis, I clearly believe that social media and the power of a trusted physician network provide an immediate answer. By bringing physicians, health systems and industry partners together to learn from each other, we will make good doctors better.

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