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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.

3 Comments

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  1. I’ve been experimenting with using my iPad for my optometry EMR, and it’s truly a mixed bag. Since my EMR software (Examwriter) is only Windows-based, I’m using a remote-desktop app called Jump to access and remotely control one of my office PC’s. The setup would be great if Examwriter let me customize my data input screens, as in its current version it has too many small buttons and controls to be finger-friendly. Battery life is fantastic; I can get a full 9 hour day on one charge, and I feel the iPad is totally solid and in no way fragile. I find myself using it on and off, and I revert to PC use if I’m really busy and don’t have time to futz with it. If and when the vendor updates Examwriter to make it more tablet-friendly, this will absolutely be a keeper in my office.

    • Martin, thanks for your comments. I’ll be curious to hear how that works out. We are using some tablet computers (from Motion Computing) as thin clients but I am not real thrilled with the performance and weight. They have battery ‘slices’ which extend their use but otherwise I find it easier to use one of the desktop devices in each exam room. Our templates are too detailed to use a device with a finger-touch screen. We need something with a stylus. Still looking…

  2. I am also looking for ways to use my EMR system on an iPAD . I currently have a client-server based architecture & have issues of using the EMR thick client on the iPAD.
    I have not tried using the remote desktop app but am concerned since it would imply using 2 of my computers for the same task.

    Any advice / help would be appreciated.

    Alefia

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