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EMRs on iPhones: HIT Life in the Slow Lane

October 2, 2009
by Suresh Gunasekaran
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Our EHR vendor is Epic Systems. They recently made an announcement that they will be releasing an Epic client for the iPhone. This announcement made me think: I believe that this is the first time in a long time that I will be able to tell my physicians something that actually sounds "cool" from a technical perspective. In general, most of the folks I work with and talk to are appreciative that the industry is maturing with IT and now more processes are becoming automated. However, in general (with some exceptions): 1. Very few hospitals's patient portal looks or works as well as amazon. 2. Very few hospital's patient billing website looks or works as well as your bank's website. 3. It's still a lot easier to schedule a flight, hotel, plumber or repair man than a doctor's appointment. 4. There are still to few systems that allow physicians to work on handhelds and mobile devices remotely. 5. There still hasn't been enough practical workflow penetration of RFID and other location based services. I'm more than happy to receive the flame mail from vendors who have capabilities in this area. I'm also jealous of healthcare providers that do have the above in place. My point is that the HITEC funds will focus us "rightfully" on the basics of putting in good EMRs that will serve as a foundation for these other "cooler" technologies. It might be an interesting time for some of us to think outside of the box, and leapfrog our way not only onto iPhones, but also other relevant newer technologies. Maybe I should start by taking meetings with some of these smaller, newer vendors that I ignore...

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