iPad EMR Eases Doctors Concerns

Posted on October 27, 2010 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.

At least the above is the title of the Information Week article on ClearPractice’s iPad EHR interface called Nimble. You might remember that I did a short review of the Nimble iPad EMR previously. I still stand by my comments of the Nimble iPad interface not being perfect for the iPad. The keyboard was clunky and slow to appear and the boxes were surprisingly small for a native iPad app.

Here’s the doctor in the article’s take on the iPad EMR:

Having a small office, there’s no space for a desktop in the exam rooms, so prior to recently using Nimble on the iPad, Dr. Lianna Lawson, a solo-practitioner, wheeled a laptop on cart to exam rooms.

“Laptops on carts — I don’t like that, it seems impersonal,” said Lawson, whose practice, Lawson Family Medicine and Aesthetics is based in Daleville, VA. Lawson has been using ClearPractice’s web-based EMR on a laptop for about a year. Lawson added Nimble to her practice in September.

Nimble running on the iPad, “has the feel of a [paper] chart,” Lawson. “Many doctors are traditionalists, so the comfort level with technology is difficult,” she said. “But for physicians not particularly tech savvy or reluctant of about how they’ll meet the meaningful use requirements, this gives a little more comfort and confidence,” she said.

It’s true that laptops on carts are a mess. As I recently argued in a post on healthcare mobile devices, the iPad does seem to have the right size and feel. That combined with the 3G connection helps to change the game. Although, I think we’re going to see more devices that build on top of the iPad’s innovations and provide an even better user experience for doctors.

Here’s another quote from the Doctor about the use of the Nimble iPad EMR:

Now Lawson said she brings the iPad with her wherever she goes, responding to patients “24 by 7,” when they have questions over weekends, or other after-hour concerns. In the office, she can use Nimble “while scooting around” in her exam rooms caring for patients.

There’s been other surprise perks to using the iPad-based product, namely engaging patients while using the EMR, she said. “I didn’t expect this to be the result, but patients can see” and talk about what’s on the EMR as she uses the iPad near them. The interactions can help in building a more solid dialogue between physician and patient — and can even help make records more accurate.

While Lawson was using the iPad during a patient exam recently, the patient saw that an entry on the list of medications in her health record was incorrect, and the patient reminded Lawson that she was no longer taking a particular drug. Lawson updated the information.

The first paragraph highlights what some doctors hate about an EMR. They want to leave the office at the office. They don’t want to be proverbially chained to the office since it’s all literally at the touch of their fingertips. Maybe this is why there were so many work life balance sessions at the AAFP conference I attended recently.

Patients seeing what you’re doing in your EMR has often been seen as good and bad. Some doctors love it and embrace the participation with the patients. Other doctors hate having the patients look over what they’ve done and have to answer more questions because a patient saw something on the screen which they didn’t understand. I think we all know which doctor we’d rather see. Although, we can all appreciate the uneasy feeling of someone looking over our shoulders.

The article did remind me of the images that the Nimble EMR makes available to a doctor. That part is actually really cool and the iPad is the perfect way to display and navigate those images as a doctor describes something to a patient.

I should also remind people, the iPad still doesn’t print. Although, that should be remedied relatively soon. Or there are a few hacks out there to make it happen.