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Making Electronic Health Records go mobile

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The HITECH Act of 2009 calls for the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by 2015 for the majority of US physicians. These physicians qualify for incentive funds once they purchase, use and show “meaningful use” (MU) of the EHR system. The process and requirements of showing MU are ongoing and undergoes changes, like a sports team proceeding deep into the playoff rounds.

Some of the more recognizable components of MU include electronic prescriptions and patient access to their medical records. Regarding the former, the present mantra of encouraging HER vendors to allow a patient to View, Download and Transmit their data at will.

Enter mobile applications.

With 90% of physicians desiring remote access to their EHR system and the amount of American patients/consumers using mobile devices, it is critical for EHR vendors to develop a mobile application to keep up with marketplace demands for mobile access to patient data. Simply put, what will drive the market to pursue mobile app development for EHR systems is that patients and physicians alike are thinking “It’s my data and I want it now”.

So what is a mobile app? A mobile app is different than mobile web access to a EHR website or cloud based solution on five mission critical categories:

PERFORMANCE: Mobile web internet reliance results in slower load and response. Mobile apps runs locally with quick loading and fluid interaction.

COST: Mobile web is less investment as it is quicker to develop and roll out. Mobile apps require more investment due to resource and time demands, but can be updated and maintained with more ease.

MAINTENANCE: Mobile web is relatively simple to update. Mobile apps are updated through new versions for the user to download.

COMPATIBILITY: Mobile web provides easy creation of platforms and browser versions. Mobile apps require a separate version for each OS.

USER EXPERIENCE: Mobile web is designed for the desktop so access via a mobile device can be less satisfying. Mobile apps are made for mobile-offering smoother, faster and a more fluid user experience.

Other considerations in favoring development of a truly mobile app for Electronic Health Record systems are the many new features available that run seamlessly with the users mobile device. These include charge capture, coding, patient portals and secure communications, eRx, automatic reminders, billing, medication tracking, ultrasounds performed and captured on a user’s mobile phone and many more apps being developed each day. And throw social capabilities in there also…you know it’s coming.

So let’s repeat the mantra (with a twist): View, Download, Transmit-via mobile!

Soon, there may be no limit to what Electronic Health Records can do.