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Demand for Mobile EHR Apps Growing, Survey Indicates

May 30, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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There is a growing market for mobile device electronic health record (EHR) applications as physician users look to replace current ineffective systems, according to recent research from Black Book Rankings, a Clearwater, Fla.-based research firm.

One-in-five physician users surveyed by Black Book indicated that they were highly likely to shift EHR systems after a disappointing result from a first vendor. Mobile apps, the Black Book researchers say, have been added to the list of physician must-haves in the replacement market demand. Black Book found that 122 vendors in the industry are expected to introduce fully functional mobile access and/or iPad native versions of their EHR products by the end of 2013. An additional 135 vendors expect to have a mobile strategy on the horizon.

“A mandate has been issued and progressive vendors are reacting,” stated Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Research. “A full 100 percent of practices participating in the follow up poll expect EHR systems that allow access to patient data wherever physicians are providing or reviewing care.“

The market for mobile EHR systems, and more mobile health (mHealth) clinical applications overall, isn’t just spurred by physicians. In a survey of hospital CIOs, Black Book found that mobile applications was ranked above cloud computing and clinical analytics as well as business intelligence in upcoming technology urgencies.

“The business priorities of operational results and reducing costs, combined with the digital management requirements for records, access, identity and risk have healthcare information executives seeking broader EHR solutions with useful mobile applications,” Brown said.

Current use of clinical mobile applications vs. desired use is a wide gap, according to the findings of the survey. Eighty-three percent of office-based physicians indicated they would use mobile EHR functionalities to update patient charts, check labs and order medications immediately if available to them via their current EHR. However, only eight percent of office-based physicians use a mobile device for accessing records, ordering tests, or electronic prescribing.

Furthermore, while 89 percent of primary care and internal medicine doctors use smart phones to primarily communicate with staff, less than one percent estimated they maximized the use of their mobile clinical and business applications.

In terms of those who do use mobile EHR applications, the biggest criticisms have to do with the small screen size of smartphones (95 percent indicated this was an issue). Eighty-eight percent said they had difficulties in the ease of movement within the chart, while 71 percent do not appreciate non-optimized touch screens. Brown said that most respondents surveyed favored mobile applications that focus on patient data and the core parts of a medical practice most needed when the physician is away from the office. Related, the highest ranked EHR mobile applications had the ability to remotely do things like review charts, update charts, assign tasks, view schedules and appointments, and send messages to practice staff.

In terms of current products, Mountain View, California-based drchrono, scored  the highest customer satisfaction in this area. drchrono was one of Healthcare Informatics’ up-and-comers.

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Hi! Great article!! I was just wondering, how many physicians did Black Book survey for these findings?

Rachel, for this survey they talked with 1,400 practices nationwide.


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