From Florida Politics
Ever get tired of filling out the same mundane medical form asking about allergies, family history and current medications every time you go to the doctor?
Tallahassee residents fed up with the paperwork may have the opportunity to help pilot a new app that allows patients to electronically share information with their providers about the medications they take, as well as their family history and their insurance.
Called WellConnector, the app could prevent patients from having to fill out duplicative forms, reducing the time health care providers spend on front-end paperwork.
It also could help cement Tallahassee — which the state’s top IT officer lamented as a “remote” locale away from the state’s famous beaches that hurt talent recruitment — as a budding IT hub.
The app is the brainchild of public relations maven Allison Aubuchon, whose recent rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and carpal tunnel syndrome diagnoses meant she was filling out patient information for physicians she had never before seen. The IT know-how is provided by WellConnector co-founder Eddie Gonzalez Loumiet.
While Aubuchon is no stranger to filling out patient paperwork, her diagnoses made the arduous job painful and difficult.
“That’s when I started banging my head against the wall saying, how is it, in 2022, we are still filling out the paperwork?” Aubuchon recalled during a recent interview with Florida Politics. “I can’t believe we have all these apps to do everything in life. Why is it there is not just an app where you can have this information at your fingertips and know it’s accurate and up to date and just give it to your provider?”
Aubuchon recalls becoming obsessed with the idea and speaking with her husband, Tallahassee lobbyist and WellConnector co-founder Josh Aubuchon about the idea. He encouraged her to speak with Tallahassee physician and family friend, Dr. Nicholas Farber, a vitreoretinal surgeon.
After Farber and her treating rheumatologist, Indhira Bisono Jiminez, confirmed there would be upsides for physicians, Aubochon reached out to Gonazlez Loumiet. As the founder of a health IT company called Ruvos, Aubuchon was convinced he would provide a healthy dose of skepticism about the idea.
But instead of “getting talked down from the ledge,” he encouraged Aubuchon to take the leap.
“Everything took off from there,” she said about the summer conversation she had with Gonzalez Loumiet. “It’s been surreal, honestly.”
Gonzalez Loumiet’s support came with the caveat that the app be first piloted in Tallahassee to ensure it is user-friendly for physicians. Because if it’s not, Gonazlez Loumiet said he knows it won’t be used.
He also insisted that the app’s focus remains on the electronic exchange of front-end paperwork and not on the electronic exchange of health records between providers.
“We aren’t trying to solve all of health care’s problems as we feel being hyper-focused on the intake process will make a huge difference,” he told Florida Politics. “This app is focused on the Tallahassee community, created by people in Tallahassee for people in Tallahassee.”
Florida Digital Service Chief Information Officer Jamie Grant earlier this year said that because of Tallahassee’s “remote” location recruiting IT talent to the area is difficult.
“You have to find a unicorn that is both talented, experienced, believes in the mission and is going to go do it for a short period of time and say, ‘Hey, I can do this and move,’” Grant said.
The number of information technology firms in Tallahassee has grown by 13% over the last seven years and is projected to grow by more than 7% in the next five years, according to the Tallahassee Leon County Office of Economic Vitality.
In a prepared release, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Dick praised WellConnector’s goal of improving health care and applauded its “innovativeness.”
“WellConnector’s mission to improve health care locally and bring providers together to solve a problem collaboratively is an example of what we need and hope to see more of in our community,” she said.