Docs wild about iPad apps

June 4, 2013 in Medical Technology

As physicians continue to switch EHR systems or select a first vendor, a new survey by research firm Black Book Rankings has identified  a “meteoric trend” in favor of mobile EHR applications, especially a marked leaning for iPad apps.

Black Book conducted the user poll as a  follow-up to the 2013 electronic health record study, foretelling the “Year of the Big EHR Switch.” Nearly one in five physician users indicated the high likelihood of shifting systems after disappointing first vendor results. Several new EHR integrated mobile apps have been added to the list of physician must-haves in the replacement market demand.

[See also: EHR users unhappy, many switching.]

Today, 8 percent of office-based physicians use either a mobile device for electronic prescribing, accessing records, ordering tests or viewing results, according to the survery. However, 83 percent indicated they would immediately utilize mobile EHR functionalities to update patient charts, check labs and order medications immediately if available to them via their EHR.

The mobile application market is expected to grow 500 percent by the end of 2014 primarily because of the government’s meaningful use incentive program, but the marketplace remains quite crowded, according to Black Book, and overall physician usability and approval are the main factors that will keep vendors competitive.

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

Black Book received 122 vendor responses, indicating vendors planned to introduce fully functional mobile access and/or iPad native versions of their EHR products by the end of 2013. Another 135 EHR product vendors claim to have mobile applications on their near strategic horizons.

Desire for mobile apps and their actual use remain two separate matters, as more programs are introduced, according to Black Book. Although 89 percent of primary care and internal medicine doctors use smart phones to primarily communicate with staff, and 51 percent of clinicians use tablets to perform independent medical reference and Internet research, less than 1 percent estimate they are maximizing use of their mobile clinical and business applications.

In a separate Black Book poll of hospital CIOs with network physician practices conducted last month, mobile applications 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.

[See also: Physician mobile use grows 45 percent .]

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