Blog post written by Dr Jessica Roberts, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Celo

I’m a Plastic Surgery trainee and also the Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Celo. I have worked in New Zealand hospitals for 10 years in various roles as a junior doctor. Over the years I have found that our medical teams have an ever increasing dependence on messaging via mobile phones as part of our day-to-day communication, both within our teams, and also with allied health professionals and other specialist services.

A typical tertiary healthcare team is made up of a hierarchy of junior doctors lead by a Senior Medical Officer/Consultant. The team works with nursing staff, allied health professionals and other specialist teams to provide hospital-based medical care. Effective and efficient communication between all team members is paramount to providing the best healthcare service for our patients.

In my department, a surgical team consists of a 1st or 2nd year doctor (house surgeon), a more senior training or non-training Registrar and a Senior Medical Officer (SMO)/Consultant. The patient is ultimately under the overall care of the Consultant, but a lot of the ward-based patient reviews & medical care is carried out by the more junior House Surgeons and Registrars under the close guidance of the Consultant who may not be on site every day.

As patient teams can involve many different health care providers, quick, effective communication is paramount to delivering excellent patient care. Before mobile phones came about, conversations were had over the phone. With the introduction of mobile phones, communication was able to be performed via text message or email. Naturally as cameras were introduced, photos were taken and sent. A photo of a rash or an x-ray provides so much more information than trying to describe it over the phone. Sequential photos also can help us to track patients’ progress over time.

Until more recently, a lot of communication was done via standard text message, email or via applications such as WhatsApp. The issues with these forms of communication is that:

1. patient information is being delivered via unsecured means
2. a user can make a mistake and send a message or photo to the wrong person and
3. the conversations and photos are stored on a users device and synced with Google or Apple cloud services.

Celo was created to help healthcare providers to communicate via an application that protects patient privacy, allows integration with the healthcare record and also provides a network of trusted healthcare providers from across the country.

I have been using Celo in three main ways:

1. within an individual consultant team
2. within an entire Plastic Surgery Department
3. within a nationwide Plastic Surgery trainee group chat

The first two ways I use Celo help me to co-ordinate patient care within a public hospital setting. We use it to allocate tasks to each other, to discuss results and to send photos to decide how best to treat patients. Using Celo means that everyone in the same team are all kept in the loop about all decisions relating to patient care and the photo library provides a record that we can use to keep track of things such as wound healing progress.

My Celo group of Plastic Surgery trainees includes doctors from across New Zealand. Using Celo enables us to talk about teaching sessions as well as co-ordinate patient care. Patients are often transferred between hospitals within New Zealand and Celo helps us to co-ordinate these transfers and also provide a means by which we are able to ask questions of different teams if we have queries related to their care once they have been transferred.

I have found Celo extremely useful as a tool in my daily work to help provide fast, effective communication between health care providers and also keep a secure record of our conversations and photos we take. Join Celo for free today by visiting celohealth.com or visit the app store.

Dr Jessica Roberts is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Celo and a Plastic Surgery Trainee Registrar in New Zealand.