Chicago physician creates company out of informed consent

Interactive tutorials help educate patients while decreasing the liability risk for physicians.

By Mike Norbut — Posted Aug. 23, 2004

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Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: David Sobel, MD

Specialty: Urology

Location: Chicago

Business: Dr. Sobel is co-founder and chief medical officer for Rightfield Solutions LLC, which develops an interactive patient education software program called Emmi (expectation management medical information).

Touted as a risk management and patient satisfaction tool, Emmi uses a secure Web site to walk patients through a surgical experience, as a way to enhance traditional informed consent.

Programs are available for a variety of surgeries. Product fees vary, but average about $100 per surgeon per month.

Annual revenue: Undisclosed, though Dr. Sobel said the company recently completed an investment round in which it received $4.2 million from private investors.

Why he started the business: During a surgical internship, Dr. Sobel said he learned the power of informed consent and the importance of taking that facet of physician-patient interaction very seriously. The program is not designed to take the place of traditional informed consent, but it does enhance the education process, he said.

Dr. Sobel, who also has a law degree, said the program could decrease liability risk.While it has yet to be used or challenged in a court case, he said Emmi is admissible as proof that the patient viewed the program and learned the risks of the procedure.

"Our server documents and reports all interaction," he said. "Rather than a case of 'He said, she said,' here we can say, 'At minimum, this is what we did tell you.' "

Why he keeps practicing: Dr. Sobel is completing his residency.

Words of wisdom: "I have the luxury of helping two segments -- patients and doctors -- that I'm crazy about," Dr. Sobel said.

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