Detroit’s Wayne State University students are pioneering fEMR, a special EMR for pop up clinics. These are transient clinics operating in under served areas with mass medical emergencies.
Beginning after Haiti’s devastating, 2010 earthquake, WSU’s undergraduate, medical students and doctors started staffing several pop ups. Operating with little or no electricity or other basic supports, these clinics often provide residents their only medical services.
Two volunteers, med student Erik Brown, and premed grad Sarah Draugelis, realized the need to create a basic medical record to aid their work and to print out for the patients. They looked at current EHRs, but they were far too complex, as Draugelis told Improvewsu.org,
We needed something that was fitted for high volume short-term clinics,” Draugelis explained. “We don’t have time to scroll and look at all the tabs in the EMR system. We need something very bare bones, very, very basic.” So, they looked into the EMR systems that already existed, but none of them fit the bill.
Last month, Brown and Draugelis told fEMR’s dramatic story on Live in the D TV show,
For help, the two turned to WSU Computer Science professor, Dr. Andrian Marcus, who recruited senior, Kevin Zurek, as technical lead.
fEMR is the result. Built using Play, a fast, light platform for web and mobile apps, fEMR incorporates a simple workflow of three steps: Triage, Medical and Pharmacy. Running on iPads, its tap and touch interface is designed for speed.
I contacted Zurek who gave me a login to their test site running on Chrome. It is, indeed, bare bones and fast. I created a patient, shown in the web shot above, and played with the package. Though a work in progress, it had no surprises, that is, no crashes, mysterious behavior, etc.
I asked Zurek what he sees as fEMR’s future? Are they going to take it commercial, etc.? He told me,
Our target audience generally consists of volunteers, so we have no concrete plans to commercialize fEMR as of right now. The purpose of fEMR is to bring continuity and increase efficiency in transient medical clinics while producing important data that can be used for research purposes.
In terms of the EMR system, we plan on delivering this to the end user in the most intuitive way possible, with as little training as possible. We have come to the conclusion that the best way to approach this is via an open environment that promotes collaboration across the board.
They need help to finish the work. Right now, they have two of six needed iPads. As befits the bootstraps nature of the project, they plan to raise funds with a car wash.
If you know some iPads that are a bit bored and looking for something more interesting to do, drop Zurek a line. He and the WSU team can keep them busy.