Should Healthcare Systems Develop Their Own Mobile EMR Apps?

As more and more healthcare systems implement EMRs and physician order entry functionality there will be the need to deliver mobile EMR apps to the physicians.  The challenge that has faced healthcare systems to date, is that even EMR vendors that have mobile apps do not provide the functionality required for the physician’s work flow. Due to these limitations and other competing projects mobile solutions have not been implemented in many healthcare systems.  

Recently, CIO Talk Radio had a podcast where they discussed the mobile implementation at Ottawa Hospital where they armed the physicians with iPads and mobile EMR.  As part of this discussion, the CIO of Ottawa mentioned that they partnered with a company to assist with the development of the mobile EMR.  This generated some questions in regards to mobile EMR applications:

  1. Should healthcare systems be developing their own mobile EMR Apps if their EMR vendor can’t deliver the functionality?
  2. Will the healthcare systems be on the hook for FDA regulation if they develop their own mobile applications?
  3. With the shortage of clinical IT folks in America right now, is it even possible to get the necessary staff to develop a mobile EMR application?
  4. Should EMR vendors be providing their mobile application for free until the can deliver the needed solution?  Note:  most mobile EMR solutions are additional cost on top of the standard EMR app.

Doubt that these are all of the questions about developing a mobile EMR application but they are ones to consider if reviewing to develop an in house mobile EMR app.