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iPad App Helps Patients Understand Inpatient Care Process

Posted on January 14, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

During an inpatient stay, patients have usually contact with a large number of professionals, including doctors, nurses, x-ray techs, phlebotomists and more.  Without help, however, patients often lose track of who’s delivering their care, forget to ask key questions and generally fail to understand the process of helping them get well.

At Boston Children’s Hospital, they’re hoping to solve the problem with a new iPad app that guides patients through their care process and makes it easy for them to communicate with clinicians. The app, MyPassport, pulls data from the hospital’s Epic and Power Chart apps and displays it in a way which helps patients stay on top of their care process.  It also prepares them for discharge and arms them with home care instructions.

The idea for MyPassport came from a paper booklet which the hospital assembled manually, adding pictures and titles for every care team member as well as pages for lab test results and summaries.  The paper book, which also offered a place for patients to write questions for their providers and information about discharge, was helpful to patients, but took a lot of effort to maintain.

The notion of transforming the paper booklet into an iPad app was spearheaded by urologist Hiep Nguyen, MD, who won a Boston Children’s FastTrack Innovation in Technology award from the hospital’s Innovation Acceleration program to create it.

Not only does the app make it easier for patients to ask questions of clinicians — or in this case, parents of patients — through an instant message-like utility, it also displays lab values in a simple format understandable by caregivers/parents. MyPassport also offers a list of goals a given patient should meet to be ready to go home.

I don’t know about you, readers, but I think this is an excellent idea. Helping patients and caregivers understand and coordinate the process of care, know their clinicians and plan for discharge is a really great use of iPad technology. While the app is undergoing a small pilot now, expect to see MyPassport or other apps like it turn up elsewhere soon. Good show, folks.

Centricity Gets FDA 510(k) Clearance for Mobile Radiology App

Posted on December 2, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she’s served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

There’s lots of interesting things doctors can do when they can access medical data on the road — and the number of options has increased rapidly over the past year or two. Until recently, though, mobile imaging apps were uncommon, for reasons that had as much to do with corporate inertia as technology.

Now, the FDA has approved another such app,  Centricity Radiology Mobile Access 2.0, for DiagnosticCT and MR Image Review. Centricity Radiology Mobile is one of the  first radiology apps to get FDA (510k) clearance. (According to, the first radiology app to get FDA clearance was Mobile MIM, which was cleared in February.)

The newly-approved app, which  available for Android and iOS devices, comes on the heels of GE’s release of the Centricity Advance Mobile app. Centricity Advance Mobile, released this summer, is an iPad EMR app aimed at small-practice primary care docs.

Not surprisingly, Centricity Radiology Mobile works hand in glove with the Centricity PACS system, which stores one-fifth of U.S. radiology exams according to the vendor.

The app’s design makes it practical to view even complex, large images, something that’s held back remote radiology image use. And it’s a commonsense fix. Rather than fill up the mobile device’s data storage device, he system allows users to browse images remotely without having to download the data onto their phones.

Having cleared apps like these is likely to give Centricity a new edge, as few EMR vendors have gotten to this point. While Centricity has the good luck to be part of GE,  a major medical device maker thoroughly familiar with FDA regs, few of its competitors will know how to work with FDA reps or how to keep the process moving. For now, smaller EMR  vendors with no FDA clout may simply be left behind (which is something of a shame, but that’s another story).

Rest assured that we’ll be grilling EMR vendors at the upcoming mHealth Summit (Dec. 5 to Dec. 7) about their plans for new mobile apps.  We’ll let you know what we find out.