Several years ago I was at a physician CME meeting and I asked my doctor buddies if they had purchased a smartphone, a phone with email capabilities, internet browsing, etc. I showed them my early version Blackberry®, and these were some of the comments:

“What do I need that for? – I have an answering service.”

“I work all of the time – now you want me to carry my work with me!”

“I already carry a beeper; do I really need another work related device?”

Recently, I met up with some of those very same doctors at still another conference – guess what? They were showing off their iPhones®, Android®, and Blackberry® devices. What a difference a few years makes in adoption of new technology! We were speaking about the ease of conversion to new smartphone technology. My physician associates all explained that they spent an hour or so at the local AT&T® or Verizon® store, paid a couple of hundred bucks, and they were out the door with the latest technology. The cell phone retailer was even able to convert their contacts and appointments to display perfectly on their new smartphone devices. Even though they were late adopters of this new, highly functional, and even fun technology, there were really no penalties or drawbacks.

With EMR technologies, my physician cohorts do not have the same luxury as they had with smartphones. This time around they need to play it safe and purchase an EMR that is built for the latest trend in computing – the mobile tablet, specifically Apple’s® iPad®. Some providers may believe that they will never use an iPad® in their practice; they also probably did not believe they would ever get email on their phone. Those providers should continue to use the hardware platform they are most comfortable with today, but purchase MediTouch® because as they become more comfortable with new tablet technologies, they will eventually convert from their current hardware platform to a mobile tablet.

In fact, a recent study, authored and conducted by QuantiaMD® (an online physician-to-physician learning collaborative), found that the overwhelming majority of physicians are charting on a mobile tablet, or believe it is likely they will be charting on a mobile tablet in the future.

EHR iPad Use vs. Practice Size

© 2011, Quantia Communications, Inc.

With MediTouch EHR® they can “hedge their bet”, because our software works on all of the standard hardware platforms (laptops and desktops), and also on Apple’s® iPad® tablet. Our universal approach matches the workflow of medical offices; some users are “on the go”, not tethered to a desk – they require a mobile computing platform; while others, such as billers and schedulers, spend almost 100% of their time at a workstation and should be using desktop computers.

According to the AMA News, “One year after Apple® launched its first iPad® tablet computer, 27% of primary care and specialty physicians own an iPad® or similar device — a rate five times higher than the general population, according to a report by the market research firm Knowledge Networks.”

Physicians have adopted iPads® at a greater rate than the general population, but most are not using them in clinical practice. They are not using iPads® as the hardware solution for their EMR software because most EMR companies do not offer effective hardware support on the iPad® platform. In fact, MediTouch® is the only Meaningful Use Certified EMR, native to the iPad® software, and hardware platform. We have compared ourselves to the largest and most prominent EMR software vendors, as well as to EMR vendors that provide downloadable iPad® EMR applications.

The majority of the most prominent EMR products can only display their software on the iPad® over a network using slow-running, remote access software (think of running your EMR through webinar software like Webex® or Go-To-Meeting®). The EMR application is not actually running on the iPad or the iPad® browser. Instead, the remote access application is allowing you to view the application, as if you were at a desktop or laptop. This approach will allow you to access their old-fashioned, EMR but the experience is slower and not optimized for iPad® use and touch.

Downloadable iPad® App EMRs have limited functionality. Physicians can perform basic tasks, such as capture billing charges, view a patient record, or track patient schedules. But, they don’t offer a complete set of features that other EMRs offer. They don’t work on multiple hardware platforms. Most importantly, iPad® EMR Apps don’t have ONC-ATCB certification. Therefore, these applications cannot achieve Meaningful Use, and users cannot access the $44,000 – $64,000 in HITECH Act incentive funds.

We have compared MediTouch® to the largest and most prominent vendors, as well as to other vendors that sell downloadable iPad® EMR apps in the following table:

EMR/EHR Vendors Meaningful Use Certified Does not Require a Downloadable App to Access the iPad® Does not Require Remote Access Via External Software to Access the iPad® (Not iPad® Native) Does Not Require Practice to Host a Server Designed Specifically for the iPad® Browser Designed to Work on Any Hardware Platform Including iPad® Notes
HealthFusion® MediTouch EHR®
Designed, built, and tested from the “ground up” for the iPad® browser.
Allscripts® (Allscripts Remote®)
Only works with the iPad®, utilizing a potentially slow remote connection.
eClinicalWorks® (iClickDoc®)
No official app released; utilizes a resellers non-native app.
PracticeFusion®
Potentially slow, remote connection through a third-party app.
Sage Intergy®
Remote access available through complicated configuring of the iPad®.
SOAPware®
Only works with the iPad® and iPhone®, utilizing remote applications.
Epic® (Canto®)
Relatively unknown non-native, remote app with limited functionality.
GE Centricity®
No product; app supposedly in development.
Greenway Medical® (PrimeMobile®)
Non-native app providing remote access with limited functionality.
NeredXtGen® (NeredXtGen Mobile®)
Remote, non-native app with limited functionality that only works on mobile devices.
Dr. Chrono®
Native app with limited functionality.
Nimble®
Native app only allowing basic tasks.
MediMobile®
Basic, native app that only works on mobile devices.
IQMaredX®
Native app allowing only basic functions.
Capzule EMR®
Native app with eredXtremely limited capabilities.
Mediforms®
Relatively unknown native app with barely basic functionality.

When choosing an EMR there is really just one choice – MediTouch EHR®.

If one follows the history of smartphone adoption, then it is reasonable to conclude that most every provider will be migrating to a mobile tablet technology like the iPad®; it’s really only a matter of time. Migrating EMR data is not as simple as moseying over to the Verizon® or AT&T® store and leaving with all your data in a new EMR system. EMR migration could cost a provider tens of thousands of dollars, and take months of time.

One can only conclude that even providers who are skeptical of tablets today, MUST LEAVE THEIR OPTIONS OPEN. Today’s physicians need a tablet that is Meaningful Use Certified, which can work on any hardware platform, and that does not require servers or remote access software; they require software that works natively with iPad’s® web browser. Physicians need to play it safe and adopt a flexible solution, because they need to plan for the day when everyone is working on a mobile tablet. That day is fast approaching, and there is only one way to plan for the inevitable – ADOPT MEDITOUCH EHR® TODAY!