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.

Healthcare needs transparency to improve the overall “health” for patients.  Everyone should be asking/challenging their physicians on their stance about sharing/providing access to their medical record. A frustration for a lot of patients is not being provided the option to view their PHR (personal health record).  

This too often the case. “When The EMR *Is* The Problem via EMR & EHR”

This experience left me wondering: How often are good clinicians being turned into distant, vexed and struggling professionals who barely acknowledge that the patient is there twiddling their thumbs?  And how can the health system afford this kind of timewaste and error-prone user patterns?  I don’t know the answer to either question but I think we should find out.

Working as a Healthcare IT professional I have seen this scenario one too many times.  Usually this is due to a poorly designed EMR, system workflow and lack of training.

This too often the case. “When The EMR *Is* The Problem via EMR & EHR”

Where’s the EMR usage this latest physician iPad Report?

The attached article from the American Medical Association indicates how much this physician gained productivity by using the iPad in his daily practices.  This is good news that technology is helping with daily workflow in healthcare.  However, there is no mention in the article at the use of an EMR on the iPad to check patient charts, place orders or print out discharge instructions.  My suspicion is that a lot of the EMR apps available for the iPad are still limiting and lack al the functionality to perform these common tasks.

Where’s the EMR usage this latest physician iPad Report?

Caution not all EMR’s are equal. “The main reason why the iPad Mini is the perfect prescription for doctors via Dr Hussain”

While Dr Hussain from iMedicalApps makes some good observations in his report does not mean that the iPad Mini is a good fit for all EMRs.  Based upon experience a lot of EMR’s are designed to be interacted with by a keyboard and mouse which makes a touch device near impossible to utilize.  The form factors of devices are finally getting there for physicians and it is now time for EMRs to be developed for devices in the common era. 

Caution not all EMR’s are equal. “The main reason why the iPad Mini is the perfect prescription for doctors via Dr Hussain”