Survey: Virtually All Docs Want Mobile EMRs

Posted on August 21, 2012 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 FierceHealthcare.com 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 www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Here’s news that shouldn’t come as a surprise:  a new study has concluded that nine out of ten doctors would like to be able to use an EMR on their mobile device. The survey was conducted by a vendor, which arguably suggests that the study reflects its agenda, but if you’re like me you’ve been hearing the same thing from doctors almost daily.

By the way, to be clear, plenty of physicians are already accessing EMRs via mobile devices. The thing is, most access the EMR through some kludgy solution like a Citrix client,  which leaves much to be desired in the way of flexibility and usability.  So getting a “real” client onto the key devices is a hot item.

The survey, which was conduced by Sage Software successor Vitera Healthcare, reached out to 240 Vitera customers, most of whom were office-based physicians.  In the study, which was reported by Information Week, 72 percent of respondents said they used mobile devices in healthcare.  However, they mostly used their tablets and smartphones to do medical research or communicate with other staff members  — in fact, only six percent were using the devices to connect to EMRs or do e-prescribing.

What stood out most of all in this research was that 91 percent of physician respondents said they’d be interested in a mobile EMR solution. Features they like the best include ability to review and update patient charts and order prescriptions, along with documenting patient encounters.  In other words, they want to be able to do virtually everything they can do from a desktop.

Not surprisingly, Vitera is working on its own mobile EMR solution, designed for use on iPads (though usable on iPhones).  eClinicalworks is expected to launch an iPad-native EMR shortly.

It’s a lock that over the next few months, other vendors will take the same steps. The question is how usable these iPad and Android clients will be.  We’ll soon find out though!