Mobile EHRs taking root as hurdles slowly dissipate

Mobile electronic health record systems face a list of challenges, from device integration to immature clinical apps, yet some believe they may hit full speed within a few years, according to a Healthcare Informatics report.

As one internal medicine specialist relates, mobile EHR is best done in a full throttle approach--which requires expertise with devices, apps, training, support and systems integration, Lee Peter Bee told Healthcare Informatics.

"If you don't do it well, it's very dangerous," said Bee, an internal medicine doctor at Sesser, Illinois-based Southern Illinois Medical Specialists.

According to the report, Bee has deployed Windows 8 Surface RT tablets, complete with voice assistant tech, to all staff, and uses an iPad and Apple's Siri to speak and comprehend medical speak for verbal diagnostic documentation. Bee's immersion into mobile EHR, however, is far from the norm as many providers are not focused yet on making mobile EHR work.

The third annual Epocrates Mobile Trends Report, published last month by athenahealth company Epocrates, found that 41 percent of clinicians were "digital omnivores," meaning they are using computers, tablets and smartphones to access EHRs.

"I've worked with several EHRs in the past, and the challenge around EHRs is that there is so much information to compile and to organize, it's difficult to get all that information onto a small work space," Stephen Beck, CMIO at Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners, told Healthcare Informatics. "Mobile technology will eventually evolve and make it easier for clinicians to see smart trend lines and other intuitive tools, and allow [doctors] to get a good sense of a patient's information without having to go to multiple screens."

The Epocrates report was also optimistic the outlook will change soon.

"In this era of easy access to and widespread proficiency with computers, smartphones, and tablets, the conversation must move beyond hardware and into the data and design that can be delivered to any healthcare provider's preferred screen," the report's authors said. "The outlook is favorable, and timing is everything."

For more information:
- read the article at Healthcare Informatics

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