MGMA 09: Mobile Clinical Assistant deployed for patient services

Understandably, the IT focus here at the 2009 Medical Group Management Association annual conference in Denver is on EMRs and on the forthcoming conversion to ANSI X12 5010 transactions and ICD-10 coding. But there is some interesting mobile healthcare technology on the show floor, and not just from the smartphones that most of the 4,500 attendees seem to be carrying. Atlanta-based International Medical Solutions (IMS) is showing its take on the Intel Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) platform.

While other MPC vendors are marketing their lightweight, ruggedized, sterilizable and wireless touchscreen computers as ideal for nursing documentation, IMS is positioning its devices and software for patient use, while also maximizing nurse productivity. "We think that the low-hanging fruit is patient registration and check-in," company president Kelvin Buncum tells FierceMobileHealthcare.

Patients can use the devices to sign in, fill out their medical histories, update insurance information and sign electronic consent forms. As soon as that's done, the nursing staff electronically notifies the patient of room availability, and an on-screen map guides the patient to the appropriate exam room. While waiting, the system delivers multimedia, condition-specific patient education. Videos--and short quizzes on comprehension--also are nested in the registration form so patients can understand exactly what they're consenting to. This, according to Buncum, helps protect physicians against malpractice claims because the system keeps an audit trail.