EHRs for Your iPad

September 28, 2010

Just as healthcare technology vendors have clamored to develop smartphone apps, many are looking to create software for this next must-have mobile gadget - the iPad. iPad functionality is already evolving beyond basic apps like dictionaries and calculators. We are entering the era of EHRs for iPads.

Just as healthcare technology vendors have clamored to develop smartphone apps, many are looking to create software for this next must-have mobile gadget - the iPad.

iPad functionality is already evolving beyond basic apps like dictionaries and calculators. We are entering the era of EHRs for iPads.

St. Louis-based ClearPractice announced their EHR developed specifically for the iPad. In April, Dr. Chrono released its own iPad-native EHR application.

There are a host of companies who have developed apps that connect iPad users with their EHRs, and that crowd will continue to grow. These are often slimmed down versions of the EHR. But what's unique about the ClearPractice and Dr. Chrono (and others that may are out there) is the native part. The interface was designed specifically to run on the iPad, meaning it was simplified and tailored for the iPad experience (in ClearPractice's case, the EHR app has three buttons). ClearPractice president Joel Andersen called this a "critical distinction."

The idea with these applications is that physicians and other clinical staff can use just the iPad software, which then synchs with the existing Saas-based software. Other staff could access the EHR through any browser on their desktop or laptop, Andersen said.

Derek Kosiorek, healthcare technology consultant with the MGMA Health Care consulting group, told me in an e-mail, "I don't think there's any question that EMR for a tablet like the iPad is the way of the future." He explained that the tablet PCs that relied on the stylus writers "will go the way of the dinosaur in favor of touch-screen devices." iPads offer more screen real estate than a smartphone, making it easier to access the full EHR charts.

However, Kosiorek cautioned that practices should be wary of smaller, startup companies in this space. He added, "It won't be much longer before every system has this option."

Do you have an iPad, and if so, would you or are you using an EHR app?