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Mobile EHR Use

Posted on November 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the most fascinating sessions I attended recently was by Mihai Fonoage talking about the “Future of Mobile” at EMA Nation (Modernizing Medicine’s EHR user conference where I was keynote). At the start of the presentation, Mihai provided a bunch of really interesting data points about the EMA EHR use on mobiles:

  • 3,500,000 Screens Viewed Daily
  • 50,000 New Visits Each Day
  • 35,000 Photos Taken Daily
  • 12,000 New Consents Each Day
  • 8,000 Rx Prescribed Daily

The most shocking number there is the 35,000 photos taken daily. That’s a lot of photos being stored in the EHR. It is worth noting that Modernizing Medicine has a huge footprint in dermatology where photos are very common and useful. Even so, that’s a lot of photos being taken and inputted into an EHR.

The other stats are nearly as astounding when you think that Modernizing Medicine is only in a small set of specialities. 3.5 million screens (similar to pageviews on a website) viewed daily is a lot of mobile EHR use. In fact, I asked Modernizing Medicine what percentage of their users used their desktop client and what percentage used their iPad interface. Modernizing Medicine estimated that 80% of their EHR use is on iPads. This is a hard number to verify, but I can’t tell you the number of people at EMA Nation I saw pull out their iPads and log into their EMA EHR during the user conference. You could tell that the EMA iPad app was their native screen.

I still remember when I first saw the ClearPractice iPad EHR called Nimble in 2010. It was the first time I’d seen someone really make a deep effort to do an EHR on the iPad. DrChrono has always made a big iPad EHR effort as well. I’d love to see how their iPad EHR use compares to the Modernizing Medicine EMA EHR numbers above. Can any other EHR vendor get even close to 80% EHR use on an iPad application or any of the numbers above?

I’d love to hear what you’re seeing and experiencing with EHR iPad and other mobile EHR use. Is Modernizing Medicine leading the pack here or are their other EHR competitors that are seeing similar adoption patterns with their mobile EHR product lines?

Full Disclosure: Modernizing Medicine is an advertiser on this site.

fEMR Targets Pop Up Clinics’ Needs

Posted on April 29, 2014 I Written By

When Carl Bergman isn't rooting for the Washington Nationals or searching for a Steeler bar, he’s Managing Partner of EHRSelector.com, a free service for matching users and EHRs. For the last dozen years, he’s concentrated on EHR consulting and writing. He spent the 80s and 90s as an itinerant project manger doing his small part for the dot com bubble. Prior to that, Bergman served a ten year stretch in the District of Columbia government as a policy and fiscal analyst.

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,

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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.

fEmr Triage Screen

fEmr Triage Screen

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.

Learning about HealthFusion and MediTouch EHR

Posted on November 26, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is an interview with Dr. Seth Flam, Co-Founder and CEO of HealthFusion. If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Flam, he’s doing a Meaningful Use stage 2 webinar today at 9:15 PST (12:15 EST).
DrSethFlam
Tell us a little bit of the history of HealthFusion.

HealthFusion was founded in San Diego in 1998 by two primary care physicians. The company started out as a clearinghouse, but has since evolved into a fully integrated software suite – including MediTouch EHR (Electronic Health Records and Patient Portal) and MediTouch PM (Practice Management and Claims Clearinghouse).

What differentiates the MediTouch EHR from the other hundreds of EHR software out there?

First of all, even though the iPad has been part of our culture now for over three years, there are still very few pure cloud EHRs that work natively on the iPad browser. Native is important because with MediTouch, every EHR function that can be performed on the desktop can also be performed on the iPad. Our product was developed from the ground up for the iPad, so the interface is not a “retrofit” from an older legacy desktop one. Instead the interface is a set of buttons that are sized perfectly for fingertip and even work well on the iPad mini.

Now if you couple that with Meaningful Use 2014 certification, I challenge you to find more than a handful of products that meet this profile. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. We are consistently rated by users on average at around 4.5 stars out of 5, so our doctors love us. Because we are an early adaptor of new technology we have the time to not just present new technologies such as the ones required in Meaningful Use 2014, but we have the time to hone those new technologies and make them usable.

It seems that HealthFusion’s MediTouch EHR has been designed for every specialty, but are there certain specialties where it really excels?

Primary care is of course a focus. We are poised to release our comprehensive Patient Centered Medical Home module this month. Our commitment to Medical Home is very strong and I don’t know of any software that makes becoming a tier three medical home easier. Speaking of primary care, we do great with OB/Gyn and Pediatrics – in fact, Miami Children’s Hospital has selected MediTouch as their exclusive private label solution for their hundreds of admitting providers. For Pediatrics, that’s the best validation of our product, especially since MCH is known as the technology leader among pediatric hospitals.

We service most all of the internal medicine specialties, many of the surgical specialties and some niche providers such as pain management specialists. We are the exclusive EHR vendor for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the first cloud-based endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA ). Needless to say, we are very strong with the Osteopathic doctors from all specialty types and simply the best choice for podiatric physicians. And it’s not just us saying that – we have the endorsement of those associations to back it up.

What’s been HealthFusion’s approach to meaningful use?  Are you ready for meaningful use stage 2?

HealthFusion’s MediTouch was actually one of the first 5 pure ambulatory EHRs to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2 certification. Our whole system was designed with the government standards in mind, which means Meaningful Use is incorporated into the daily workflows of our EHR.

As an additional resource, we recently started hosting webinars on Meaningful Use. The next one is scheduled for November 26th, and will offer a “deep dive” into Meaningful Use Stage 2.

Most EHR vendors that were certified for 2011 have not achieved Meaningful Use 2014 certification. Buyers should be leery of EHRs that cannot meet government compliance standards. We are beginning what I call the “Great American EHR Consolidation.” Simply stated, if your EHR can’t meet Meaningful Use 2014 by the end of this year, you are at a disadvantage heading into 2014. Remember, 2014 is not just about Meaningful Use – ICD- 10 begins in the fourth quarter. Providers need time to prepare for ICD-10, it is even more important than Meaningful Use since it impacts every dollar. Because Meaningful Use 2014 compliance is behind us, we have been able to focus on developing all of the tools providers will require to make their transition to the new diagnosis coding system easier. A simple list of ICD-10 codes just won’t cut it – the tools need to be more sophisticated and we have them today.

How have your doctors and other doctors responded to meaningful use from your experience?

Meaningful Use and other government compliance programs are here to stay. Sticking your head in the sand simply won’t work. In fact, we would not be surprised if the federal government standards that define Meaningful Use spill over to private sector. I think providers liked getting the front loaded incentive dollars but I don’t think they like some of the compliance requirements, and they definitely don’t like the threat of an audit. I am certain that they will find Stage 2 harder, and that is why they need committed technology vendors to help simplify workflows for them. Patient Engagement requirements such as a Meaningful Use compliant patient portal can simplify Meaningful Use, and of course that should be part of the buying decision for physicians.

How are you approaching interoperability?  What will be the key to cracking the interoperability challenge?

With interoperability, the problem isn’t with the sophisticated EHRs, instead it is with the lack of mandated standards and the adoption of those standards. MediTouch responds quickly when faced with a new standard, a good example is Direct Secure Messaging. This is the new standard for secure email. It’s crazy, we adopted the standard in June and our providers have secure email addresses but hardly anyone to exchange mail with today. In the coming months we hope that will change as more EHR vendors implement this standard.

The government makes interoperability challenging because as an example they use HL7 standards alone to define a way to exchange data, but HL7 is at best a “suggestion, not a standard.” What I mean is that there is too much room for interpretation within the HL7 guide to permit seamless interoperability across multiple exchange points. A good example is the immunization registries that are run by state or regional entities. I like to say, if you connected to one state you connected to one state. The work required to maintain and manage 50-60 connections and standards is wasted time that could be spent on better projects. It would have been simple for the government to tighten the requirements so that there was less variation between states, or to consider a national immunization registry with a single standard and connection.

Are you getting many requests to incorporate accountable care (ACO) features into the EHR?  What’s your thoughts on the future of ACOs in healthcare?

First of all, I hope they work. Sharing savings is not a new concept and there have been failures, occasions where quality was sacrificed for short-term financial gain. With EHR technology, we think that there is enormous promise and it starts with great Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). It will take a new breed or a transformed primary care doctor to really make PCMH work because it changes the role of the primary care doctor significantly. Managing patient populations is different than managing individual visits. MediTouch software is committed to making PCMH work for primary care practices so we expect to play an important role in the interplay between primary care medical homes and the ACOs they relate to. The truth is that without great EHR software that supports PCMH, the ACO initiative will fail and therefore we understand that the effectiveness of our software will contribute to better population management, and ultimately the success of ACOs.

Where is Health Fusion heading 5-10 years from now?

We have a nimble group of engineers and we have found that meeting government mandated compliance standards has not been an obstacle that we cannot easily overcome. By complying with Meaningful Use 2014 early we now have time to do what we love and that is innovate. Our innovation process is simple – we listen to our users. As a physician I know that it is difficult for engineers to understand the complex workflows required to manage just a single day in a doctor’s office, and our culture is built on listening closely to the end user – the medical practice.

There are times though that we innovate or create new features that were never requested by a medical practice. Remember, we were designing an iPad EHR solution one year before the iPad was released, clearly that was way before any physician would have requested a system like the one we designed. Steve Jobs invented the iPad even though there was no market for the device prior to its release. A great EHR combines features that are a reach (like the example of the invention of the iPad) with more everyday solutions that refine everyday workflows. Remember, each year the practice of medicine requires more attention to administrative and compliance issues – our job is to innovate at a faster rate so that provider workflow is continually enhanced, and to make sure that patient care is still rewarding for our docs.

Full Disclosure: HealthFusion is a sponsor of EMR and EHR.

“Fat Finger Syndrome” Not Just a Google Problem

Posted on December 19, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

In trying to keep things light this week, I’ve taken inspiration from two very different sources – NPR and Homer Simpson. A recent Morning Edition piece on “Fat Fingers Blamed for Mobile Ad Clicks” highlights the problem many smart phone users face –  large fingers on a small screen usually result in the occasional misspelling, accidental click on a field or image, or unintended dial.

The story concentrated on “Google’s launch of a new type of mobile ad that aims to combat the ‘fat finger’ problem. As the smart phone market grows, mobile ads have become more important to the tech giant, which makes most of its revenue through advertising.”

homeriphone

Listening to the piece, which started off with a hilarious sound bite from the Simpsons, made me wonder if EMR developers face this same type of problem when developing their software for mobile devices. What sort of consequences do providers face as a result of unintended clicks or incorrect data entry?

I polled a few friends who work in healthcare IT user experience (coincidentally, a topic that I heard come up quite often during the fall conference season), and they brought up numerous cases – some with dire consequences – of mistaken medication administration because of very similar patient names.

I also came across the ubiquitous drawback of using tablets in healthcare: “The iPad is difficult to type on, [one provider] complains, and his “fat fingers” struggle to navigate the screen,” according to a Kaiser Health News story last year.

But, providers, as they so often do, are creating workarounds. One family practice in particular has “introduced a stylus since some people occasionally suffer from ‘fat finger syndrome’ (some people just have an innate ability to miss the buttons in the questionnaire when they use their fingers).”

How have you, your practice or your colleagues dealt with pleasantly plump pads of the finger? Please share your anecdotes in the comments section below.

drChrono EHR Featured on Apple’s iPad Website

Posted on August 6, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Carl Bergman recently sent me a link to a video on the Apple iPad website that profiles an urgent care center in St. Louis using the DrChrono EHR software. Here’s the intro about the urgent care facility using the iPad:

iPad makes the rounds with physicians.
Trained to handle any medical condition that comes in the door, emergency room physician Dr. Sonny Saggar treats everything from life-threatening issues to small cuts that need a few stitches. Dr. Saggar is also the medical director at Downtown Urgent Care in St. Louis, MO — and its sister location, Eureka Urgent Care in West St. Louis County. He and his staff rely on iPad to help them deliver efficient, high-quality health care. “We can often get patients precisely the care they need in less than 20 minutes,” he says.

I think it’s brave for any doctor to put a time on how long it takes to give care. Does DrChrono have a module that tells you average patient times. Did Dr. Saggar get those times from the EHR? Plus, he says that they often can which I guess could mean that they often can not? Of course, the above copy was probably written by some intern at Apple.

The page also offers these benefits to using an iPad EHR:
-Health records go paperless
-Better communication at the point of care
-Smooth operation
-More personalized care

Are these the benefits you see of using an EHR with the iPad?

We’ve written a lot about ipad EMR software on EMR and EHR. In fact, we were writing about the iPad together with EMR well before the iPad even was officially released. While doctors love the iPad, I’m still not seeing very many doctors use the iPad for their daily documentation needs. The challenge has and still is that the iPad is a great consumption device, but has yet to be a great documentation tool. I’ll be interested to see if someone will be able to crack that second nut.

Epocrates EMR Killed Immediately After Launch

Posted on March 15, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Back in 2010, Epocrates had its EMR ducks in a row. The company, known best for a very popular smartphone-based drug interaction database for physicians, announced plans to release a mobile SaaS EMR.  While Epocrates was jumping into a market more crowded than a barrel full of monkeys, one could see where leaders might see an EMR as an extension of the relationship it already had with physicians.

Now, Epocrates leaders have said “oops” and announced that they were killing the product,  telling investors and the public that building the darned thing was distracting it from its core business.  It does seem that the company was struggling with the EMR rollout process:  it didn’t roll out its first-phase product until August 2011 and didn’t get its Meaningful Use certification until February of this year. But this is the first time I’ve seen a company kill a product at this stage of development, particularly in such a high-profile manner.

It must have been more than a bit embarrassing to make the announcement during HIMSS12 when, of course, companies traditionally kick off products they’re planning to sell vigorously. As Epocrates was making plans to dump or sell their EMR, the company’s CMIO, Tom Giannulli, MD, was pitching the company’s new iPad EMR to editors.

As Epocrates itself pointed out, there aren’t too many dedicated iPad EMR offerings out there. So in theory, this should not have been a waste of the company’s time.  On the other hand, with the iPad still a new frontier for EMRs, we still don’t know whether it will ultimately work as a platform of choice for physicians.  As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, the iPad seems to be a pretty good medium for reading data but a very awkward one for entering data. Whether that’s a fatal flaw remains to be seen.

Truthfully, this looks like a failure of execution from start to finish, rather than a product that couldn’t possibly work. But these are tough times. Even the best execution may not work; and if so, Epocrates was probably wise to fold its cards before further damage was done.

Physicians Say iPad Not Ready For Clinical Computing

Posted on February 16, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Doctors love them, but don’t think the iPad is ready to play a major role in clinical practice, as Apple hasn’t done enough to optimize it for healthcare, according to a new study by Spyglass Consulting Group.

According to a new report by Spyglass,  doctors don’t feel the iPad is ready to have an impact on care delivery. While 80 percent of physicians responding predicted that the iPad will have a positive impact on future care, it’s just not ready today, they said. (Most doctors I’ve talked with agree, noting that while it’s great for reading data, it’s extremely difficult to use for data entry.)

We’re not at all surprised to hear this given some of the iPad horror stories traveling around. For example, when Seattle Children’s Hospital pilot-tested iPads for its doctors, the result was a complete flop. Doctors there complained that that it was just too awkward to enter data into the otherwise sexy device. Shortly thereafter, IT switched its plans and rolled out a zero-client set-up.

So, what will it take to make the iPad clinically useful? To be successful in healthcare, Apple and its partners need to rewrite and optimize clinical apps to include gesture-based computing, natural language speech recognition, unified communications and even video conferencing, Spyglass research concludes.

I’d add that EMR/EHR vendors need to create native front ends for the iPad; given its penetration among doctors, I’m baffled by vendors who demand that doctors use their system via Citrix or the Web.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Epic’s Canto, few vendors offer a fully-fledged iPad app as a front end to their system. (One of few examples of a native iPad app from a smaller EMR vendor comes from Dr. Chrono, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, just got $2.8 million in venture funding.)

What’s more, Apple will have to do something about iOS security. It’s little wonder that 75  percent of doctors said that hospital IT departments weren’t eager to support mobile devices on corporate networks. While any device exposes networks to additional threats, Apple seems to have some particularly difficult problems, especially where its Safari browser is concerned.

Like the doctors surveyed by Spyglass, I have little doubt that iPads will end up assuming an important role in healthcare.  But given the snail’s pace at which native iPad apps are being launched, it may be a long time before that happens.

Obstacles To Using Tablets As EMR Front Ends

Posted on December 16, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Not long ago, I recently posted an item on HospitalEMRandEHR.com discussing how one hospital dropped plans to distribute iPads as front-ends for its Cerner EMR.  Doctors at hospital, Seattle Children’s, gave the iPad very bad reviews as an EMR-connected device, in part because they felt that Cerner’s system was too hard to use via a Safari browser.

Since then, a few readers have commented on the story, and interestingly, they’ve offered more nuanced feedback on what works (and doesn’t) in deploying a tablet as an EMR device for clinical use, including the following:

* Deploying the iPad initially offers a patient “wow factor” — in other words, it may make providers look hip and up-to-date technically — but that doesn’t last very long.

* Even a well-designed, tablet-native tablet app may still be frustrating for clinicians to use, given the high volume of information they need to enter. (Paging through a dozen screens is no fun.)

* When choosing a tablet, be aware that the physical performance of the tablet (especially the touch screen) can be a big issue.  If clinicians “touch” and the screen doesn’t respond, it can throw them off their stride.

It’s hard to argue that hospitals (and medical practices) should take mobile access to EMRs seriously. And anyone here would know, most organizations are.  After all, now that health IT industry is looking hard at mHealth, smart new ways to use mobile devices in care seem to be springing up daily.

But before you dig too deeply into your mobile strategy, you may want to hear more clinicians on how their mobile EMR usage is playing out. Call me a curmudgeon, but it seems to me that it may still be too early to invest big bucks in a tablet for mobilizing your EMR just yet.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m convinced that someday, every doctor will enter and access patient data via some sort of mobile device. But it seems that there’s some fairly important technical issues that still need to work themselves out before we can say “this is how we should do it.”

Reasons to Not Use Virtual Desktop Access to Your EMR on an Ipad

Posted on December 8, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. 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 found this great article which highlights a number of the reasons I’ve been saying that the iPad needs its own native EMR interface and not just some Virtual Desktop solution to access your EMR.

First it offers two reasons why the Virtual Desktop solution is a good option:
-Security
-Cost

The first benefit of security is a good once since as long as your virtual desktop and access to your virtual desktop are secured, then you don’t have to worry about healthcare related data on the iPad. The second benefit is mostly a benefit to the EMR software vendor. Sure, they could make the argument that the price to develop a native iPad app is passed on to the end user. However, most doctors won’t feel that cost. In most cases it just means that other features on the EMR development roadmap will just get pushed back. Although, even this can be a bad strategy if your developers are good at developing EMR software on your current platform, but aren’t familiar with developing a native iPad app. Then, it’s worth spending some money on an iOS developer who knows which features of the iPad they can really leverage.

Now on to the reasons the article suggests that you develop a native iPad app and not just do the virtual desktop solution:
-Doesn’t Make Use of Native iPad Functionality
-Requires Constant Connectivity
-Virtualized Apps are Not Optimized for the iPad

The first and third in the list are very much related and are the biggest reasons why a native iPad EMR app makes so much sense if you’re going to do something on the iPad. The second item actually doesn’t apply very well to an iPad EMR app which even when created as a native app will likely need to have internet connectivity to have any value. An EMR iPad app could be made that didn’t need connectivity, but I have yet to see one that’s done that.

Black Friday Sales Boost mHealth App Predictions

Posted on December 1, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

The holiday season is officially upon us, or so said both of my daughters after they saw Santa Claus conclude the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone – not unnoticed by the average American consumer if recently released retail figures are any indication. The economy seems on the verge of a slight upswing, if our holiday spending this early in the season is any indication.

How does healthcare fit into all this? Two holiday headlines recently caught my eye. The first, “Apple Breaks Black Friday Record,” notes that iPad sales “surged 68%” that particular day, breaking the company’s own purported predictions that it would achieve Black Friday sales four times higher than normal. The second, “Mobile Healthcare and Medical App Downloads to Reach 44 Million Next Year, Rising to 142 Million in 2016,” makes the prediction that “[a]cceptance of new healthcare practices like remote patient monitoring will come directly from consumers becoming engaged in mHealth through the smartphone.”

Forty-four million medical app downloads next year might not be such a high number to reach when you take Apple’s record one-day iPad sales into consideration. Physicians and healthcare consumers alike seem to not only be jumping onto the tablet bandwagon, but gearing up to race it to the finish line as well.

So now that we’ve established the healthcare connection, what’s all this got to do with EMRs? Will these predictions and likely outcomes coincide with an upswing in mobile EMR app development? As of yesterday, 60 apps popped up when I searched for “EMR” apps for the iPad in the iTunes store. Forty-seven results came up for “EHR,” many of them the same. I’ll be interested to see what this number is six months and then a year from now.

As this blog has well documented for some time now, healthcare’s love affair with the iPad was a slow burn at first, but has now become fast and furious. I can only imagine that EMR developers will take their relationships with the iPad to the next level in record time just to meet customer demand. While I won’t necessarily be waiting with baited breath for Practice Fusion’s launch next year of its iPad app, I will definitely check it out while at HIMSS, where I assume they’ll give it a Vegas-style launch.

I’d love to hear from physicians as to how inundated the market is likely to become with these types of technologies. And aside from EMR/EHR apps, will mobile health downloads really take off as predicted? Share your own predictions in the comments below.

Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion is an advertiser on this site, but they didn’t pay Jennifer to mention their iPad app. In fact, I’m not even sure if Jennifer knows they’re an advertiser.