While over 500 medical apps have been created for the iPad since its launch in April of this year, few attempt to bring an entire electronic medical record system onto the device. Today, St. Louis-based medical software company ClearPractice is releasing Nimble, which the company says is “the first comprehensive EMR solution developed in iOS to run natively on the iPad”.
With Nimble, ClearPractice aims to use the iPad to address several commonly cited issues about EMRs. They emphasize the iPad’s potential for removing barriers in EMR use and physician workflow by integrating the device and software in the care delivery process. The hope is that the iPad’s portability and accessibility will allow it (and thus Nimble) to be present wherever the doctor is—from the clinic to the hospital to the home—and make having an EMR more appealing, especially to doctors in small practices. Given that the app was built as a native iPad application, it attempts to take full advantage of the iPad’s unique interface and user experience.
The country seems to have shifted in less than 18 months from a slogan of “Yes We Can!” to “Oh, well…” and a shrug, then back to “Cool! I think. What was that, really?” Hopes for a true rebirth of health care turned into the Year of Screaming Inanely, then took that long slide from what we might hope for to what we might settle for. Yet suddenly it seems like things are popping up all over the place, like mushrooms on a forest floor in springtime. New projects and initiatives are emerging from little companies, big companies, garage startups, info-giants and mega-industrial combines.
It looks just as if, frustrated by a glacial and refractory legislative process, Americans and American companies have taken matters into their own hands, not with torches and pitchforks, but devices and codes and business models, all trying to figure out some way they can help make health care better, faster and cheaper. It is as if Rosie the Riveter of the World War II poster were once again flexing a muscle and saying, “We can do it!”
The guys from DrChrono have come a long way since we saw them first just last summer. They have a SaaS based practice management system, but at Health 2.0 at the Doctor’s Office they introduced an iPad-based tool for physicians. Here’s a quick video I took of them last month, with a live fake demo of what it might look like in a real encounter between a real doctor, and a fake patient.
There have been a lot of discussions on the Net regarding the potential impact of the iPad in the healthcare sector. At this point, there is very little agreement with some pointing to the ubiquitous nature of the iPhone in healthcare as a foreshadowing of the iPad’s future impact, while others point to the modest uptake of tablet computing platforms as a precursor for minimal impact.
Our 2 cents worth…
We believe the iPad will see the biggest impact in two areas: medical education and patient-clinician communication.
In case you’ve been preserved in amber the past month, there’s been lots of excitement in technology circles about the iPad – as well as other tablet computers – and how they’ll transform (take your pick): games and word processing and movies and magazines and newspapers and music composition.
But there hasn’t been a great deal said about their possible usefulness in healthcare.
In truth, healthcare has a horrible record with technology. Medical technology, after all, is one of the principle reasons that annual healthcare costs in the U.S. are at $2.5 trillion, and climbing. The CT scan may beguile radiologists and diagnosticians, but it’s also a horribly inefficient technology (it doesn’t scale, there’s no price transparency, etc.). In short, everything that technology is good for in the rest of the universe – lowering costs, reducing expertise – it has exactly the opposite effect in healthcare and medicine.
There have been attempts here or there to introduce consumer-style tools to medicine. Dozens of companies, for instance, offered versions of the Palm Pilot that promised to recognize a physician’s unique needs. But too often these one-off gadgets fell into the wrong quadrant of the efficiency and expense matrix. And the fact that pagers are long dead in every corner of the world except in hospitals serves as yet more proof that healthcare is a bizarro world when it comes to technology.
And consumer-facing tools have fared just as poorly. Fancy set-top boxes that promise to connect patients to their doctors via telemedicine, and cumbersome monitoring devices for people with diabetes or other chronic conditions haven’t exactly inspired confidence.
So: enter the iPad. Does it have a chance?
Yes, and for two reasons. The first is this: In the past healthcare technology has always been about the hardware – building a box that promises to do something, and then trying to educate patients or providers on how to use the box. That hasn’t worked because of bad interface design; the mission was complexity, not simplicity. But the tablets, and the iPad in particular, are designed to be as simple as possible (just one button). They’re not really about the hardware, at all – in fact, if these tools work as promised, the hardware disappears. The device will let users engage with information immediately, without having to negotiate a cumbersome interface. Indeed, the device itself vanishes and the user connects directly with the experience. That’s a powerful shift, and it has great potential for health.Continue reading…
The iPad got it right and will set the standard for a new and improved way to enjoy our connected lifestyle. The iPhone blazed the way as it shifted mobile phones from something to talk on…to powerful multi-app platforms that solve many problems and just happen to make phone calls, too.
The iPad and soon many similar devices will revolutionize the way we experience life and work from newspapers, t.v. and movies to fitness, personalized health and medical services. Here are 10 insights for delivering person- centered fitness, health and health care inspired by the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch from Apple, the world’s leading MD (Mobile Device) company.Continue reading…