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Can You Use an iPad with EMR?

I’m always in search of the perfect end-user device for EMR. And there are videos all over the internet showing off real cool EMR applications using tablets or smart-phones – these are typically commercials for the software products. But these are usually fairly basic, uncustomizable systems. What we need are touch screen devices which will work with any of the fairly robust EHR systems out there. My son has an iPad and, I must admit, it is a very slick piece of hardware. The question is whether the iPad could be used in the healthcare IT setting. Here are some of the downsides to using it as your EMR input device:

  • Limited selection of medical software – although if you could use it as a thin client, as we would, this would be a non-issue
  • Unsealed ports do not allow for disinfection¬† and are prone to damage from chemicals and fluids
  • No barcode scanning capability
  • No integrated camera – but I think the new version may have one (and would we really use it that much?)
  • Battery cannot be changed by user
  • Somewhat fragile body

At the present time, the iPad seems to be more attractive to healthcare IT professionals. And while many physicians either own an iPad or plan to purchase one, their integration with EHR systems is not quite there yet. In the end, however, third-party software developers and peripherals companies may bring the iPad along within the healthcare field.

Are any of you out there using an iPad with your EMR/EHR system? Paste a comment and let us know how it’s doing.

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