Back when I started medical school, I had my trusty Handspring PDA. One of the programs it ran back then was called Skyscape. Skyscape allowed me to view all kinds of medical textbooks on my PDA. Skyscape was truly, truly life-changing as a physician.
Fast forward 14 years. I started my previous company, The Future Well. We were a design firm that helped health companies make awesome things. I got an email from the folks at Skyscape. They want to reinvent their program and make it awesome. That meant a ton to me because Skyscape had been so near and dear to my heart and my generation of physicians. We professionally “grew up” with it. But in 2012, the Skyscape app was so embarrassingly bad, nobody wanted to use it. So they came knocking.
They wanted to make an awesome app that people would love and use.
And I knew I could nail this one. So I said yes and we set off to design the next game-changing tool for doctors. It’s called Omnio.
As a doctor, I know what it’s like to integrate technology into a busy day seeing patients. I also know that doctors do the same thing over and over. They need access to familiar, helpful references on a regular basis and they don’t want to hunt for it every time. They also prescribe the same 20 drugs over and over because that’s what they know and trust. We doctors are creatures of habit. Inspired by my old-fashioned doctor bag that had 95% of everything you’d ever need as a physician right there in the bag, I came up with this concept, “a digital doctor’s bag that provides quick access to the most important things to your everyday practice.”
Skyscape has thousands of medical textbooks, medical calculators, drug indexes, and any other sort of digital reference you’d need as a physician. The problem is hunting through all that when you need quick access. So a user can favorite anything in the entire Skyscape library and “put it in their bag.” However, “in their bag” means adding a shortcut to the thing on the main screen of the Omnio app.
But I am my own unique doctor. I’ve got a different “bag” than my colleagues. But I know I have awesome stuff in there that my colleagues don’t have. And I’m super curious to know what they have in theirs that makes them an awesome doctor. So we made our bags “shareable.” You can steal from my bag and I can steal from yours. The point is, let’s help each other find the best tools and share them with our colleagues. And I’m also interested in seeing what the American Academy of Pediatrics or JAMA has in their bag. So you can find and follow people and trusted institutions to see what awesome things are going in and out of their “bags.” There’s plenty of other useful features, but the centerpiece is your digital doctor bag.
Omnio launched a few months ago and it’s got a 4 and half star rating and is the 7th most popular medical app for the iPad. The team we assembled to design and build the app are the cream of the crop. Fangohr always makes gorgeous, highly usable things and Anthony at Viking Laboratory is my UX secret weapon. Hence, why the same team is now designing and building Sherpaa’s site and apps.
This is what I love about what I do. My goal in life is to help doctors be better doctors and patients be better patients. Technology is just one of the means to do this. And I’d be a fool seeing a small amount of patients in an exam room for the rest of my life when I can build the team who can design and build tools that make us all better and healthier, all over the United States. It’s interesting to think of how a doctor’s tools progress. Heavy books and bags to apps and iPads. It’s a fascinating world. And I’m so happy to be able to help hundreds of thousands of doctors in America make that transition.
I’m a lucky, lucky guy. And I’m having the time of my life.