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EMR? We have an iPhone App for that...

January 21, 2010
by Pete Rivera
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With very little fanfare EPIC released Haiku. It is a free iPhone application that allows users to access their EPIC system and obtain schedules, patient lists, health summaries, test results and notes. After so many blogs about how healthcare is the “late adopter” to most technologies, along comes EPIC and does something about it.

This post is not about a plug for EPIC. It is about a plug for any company that is willing to challenge the industry to capitalize on technology that already exists in the marketplace and develop portals to their systems. Maybe we take a jaundiced eye at “portability” because so many systems tried to deliver a handheld device for physicians in the past. We had issues with synching to the device, with the weight or power consumption of the device. Now we have a company that side steps all those issues and reaches out to clinicians that are already using a multipurpose device. Free download? Why not? Just like viral videos, it is all about word of mouth. Get physicians excited about something and they will talk about it everywhere.

Getting users an application that they can use, how they want to use it and weave it into their personal workflow…that is what Healthcare Informatics is all about.



Interesting info, but don't forget the little guys. There's a company out of Austin called Opus that can take an Ipod, or Blackbery, or whatever you have and quickliy load up an applet and let you cruise their EMR, orders, etc.
When they have two docs standing in front of them and one has an Ipod, the other a BB, or Driod...it blows the docs mind too see how easy it si and realize they will not have to learn a new deivce.

Agreed Joe. I guess I was looking at it from the big legacy vendors and their ability to enter into this market. Some of the smaller EMR's out there are able to provide many features and "coolness" factors, but they cant scale to the user size of the Epic, GE, McKesson's of the world.
I just cheer on anyone that can get physicians excited about using technology and meet the demands of Academic Medical Centers that are looking at ways to attract young Medical Students.

I did a Google search. Many of the other vendors have deployed iPhone and iPod Touch support. Even before introduction of the iPhone, physicians at AMDIS were showing their use of their EMRs on their SmartPhones across several vendors, in part because of citrix client support and support for zooming. They were actually using it to remotely check up on patient's they were concerned about.

What I think is more important about the consumerization trend, including the branding and new emphasis on "free" is the move toward better understanding what docs need and giving them one-click ways to get it. That's important in any form factor. It's that kind of concern for the end-user that's helped drive the usability and adoption of the consumer technologies, including the iPhone and it's apps.

Hi Joe, I don't think we need to make it a certification requirement. After all, the beauty of SmartPhone applications is that you let the market drive it. You have a solid feedback loop from your users and remain flexible enough to keep making changes as users become more accustomed to your features and functions...they may even come up with new things you did not think about.
As for marketing, its all about getting out there first. People brand by that. Kleenex, Q-Tips are all brands that became synonyms with the product. Hopefully other vendors will jump in with their iPhone applications soon. That is before customers start asking....do you have a "Haiku" on your smartphone?

I have seen several other in-patient EHR vendors as well as another, major ambulatory EHR vendor demonstrating support for various capabilities with an iPhone app. Many booths, including ours at HIMSS last year (2009) demonstrated production code, both for the functionality you listed, as well as enhanced CDA-based document manipulation with VR and codification.

So, I agree with your assertion that many healthcare vendors and their clients are not "late adopters." I also concur that, when we do role these things out, we typically are relatively quiet (i.e. "very little fanfare.") We show our install base and our prospects - we rarely take out full page advertisements, or otherwise broadcast.

The real question, in my mind, is "What does DONE look like with an EHR system?" That includes, by the way, the enterprise's EHR marketing campaign.

And then, what's the best way to roll that out, from all of the shareholders perspectives.

Or, we could simply legislate SmartPhone support as a certification requirement. Do you think that would be warranted?

(Interested readers should see "Year of the Module" blog post for more on that topic)