DSignage. Key Biscayne entrepreneur develops app to better connect medical patients and hospitals

Imagine you have a doctor’s appointment, but it is at a hospital you've never been to before.

Luckily, you have an app on your phone that will not only give you driving directions, but also tell you the quickest route. It can also inform the hospital if you are running late. When you arrive, the app interacts with the hospital network, which recognizes your arrival and progress through the building. The app can even send you text messages that tell you how to find your way through a hospital.

Apps for hospital patients are at the forefront of the digital transformation of healthcare, and COVID-19 has only accelerated the industry’s need for smarter tools.

A Key Biscayne business technology company called DSignage -- owned by Jose Diaz and his wife Karina -- has joined Medrics, a developer of interactive healthcare applications, to create just such an app. DSignage and Medrics were joined when Diaz and Altug Ozdamar, CEO and co-owner of Medrics, were introduced by a business partner in Spain when they both worked with another company.

“Our partnership with Medrics offers patients better control over their care,” said Diaz. “At the same time, it gives hospitals a better handle on reducing costs because of improved efficiency and communication. It also reduces no-shows, increases referrals and shortens out patient wait times.”

The app is purchased by hospitals and health care facilities, adding their brand and customizing user and multi-language options.

In 1996, the 14-year-old Diaz moved with his family from Venezuela to Key Biscayne. He grew up on the key, and later attended the University of Florida, where he earned a degree in Computer Engineering. With the education in hand, and an entrepreneurial drive to match, Diaz created several information technology companies. In 2003, he sold the last company he owned, KEIKI, before starting DSignage in 2005.

DSignage is located in an office at the Key Colony Plaza. Diaz, his wife Karina and their son Stefano also continue to live in Key Biscayne.

Diaz said, “We currently have 12 employees and hope to hire at least 5 more once the COVID situation is under control.” The app is already available at VA hospitals in Las Vegas and Orlando, and at other healthcare facilities in the US, Romania, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates. It currently serves more than 350,000 users and has placed more than 15,000 appointments.

“The app enhances the provider’s value-based care, and everyone benefits -- from the administrators to the patient,” said Altug Ozdamar. All solutions are white labeled and customized, depending on priorities of clients.

“We will be able to trigger content on large screens and on patient's phones based on the user’s location,” Diaz said. “We can send them text messages, videos and emails to keep them informed with information essential to their health.”

All costs are with the hospital which has purchased the app, there is no cost for the patients, and there is no need for concern over data mining or security. Diaz said, “We do not have any of the patient’s records or information. We are simply a bridge between the patient and the hospital. All of the patient’s information exists solely within the hospital’s databases.”

The app features 47 customizable functions, including: smart appointment management, virtual doctor appointments, patient referral management, health related videos and entertainment, access to medical records and results, smart patient surveys, and zero-contact patient registration.

The partnership with Medrics marks a milestone for DSignage, according to a press release from the company. Now, in addition to using digital tools like touchscreens and video displays to enhance customer communication, they have broadened their reach through the ubiquitous smartphone.

“Like it or not, everyone has a smart phone in their hands,” said Diaz. “It has become an essential part of our lives. Now they give patients an edge when it comes to their health. It delivers tools that hospitals can bank on. “