The Must Have EMR Feature – An iPad Interface

Posted on November 3, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve written many times about the amazing phenomenon that we call the iPad and particularly how EMR vendors are reacting to the widespread adoption of iPads in healthcare. As I’ve written these dozens of articles, talked to hundreds of doctors, and far too many EHR vendors it’s become clear to me that an iPad interface is basically a Must Have feature for an EMR.

No, I’m not talking about some remote desktop type connection from the iPad to an EMR. Yes, every EMR is available on the iPad using a remote desktop type application. While that’s neat that it can do that, EMR vendors whose whole iPad strategy revolves around remotely accessing your PC which can run their EMR software are missing out on the real benefits of the iPad. The love affair that so many people have with their iPad is much more than just remote connectivity and a small touchscreen device. If that was all that mattered, tablets would have gone mainstream in healthcare long ago.

If an EMR vendor wants to leverage what’s made the iPad so popular, they need to create a native iPad app that can interact with their EHR software.

I’m not talking about replicating your entire EHR software on the iPad. That would be a mistake as well. Does your biller really need to do the billing on the iPad? Do you really want to do all your documentation on the iPad? Probably not, but with some thoughtful discussions with your existing EHR users, I think vendors will find some real value in leveraging the iPad technology connected to their EHR software.

I can imagine EHR vendors that create beautifully done iPad EMR apps will do very well in the market. Why? Because the doctors that love their iPad EMR app will start showing it off to their doctor friends.

My biggest fear with this commentary is that far too many EHR vendors are busy coding for meaningful use and EHR certification that they’re not looking for smart ways to leverage technologies like the iPad. Time will tell how this plays out, but I’ll be surprised if the iPad doesn’t play a part.

Could the iPad app of an EMR vendor become a real differentiator between the 300+ EHR vendors out there today? I’ve long believed that the biggest problem with EHR software today was their interface. The iPad is all about a new interface.