iPad EHR or Not

I first wrote about the possibility of an iPad EMR back in February when the iPad was first announced. At the time my speculation was that we wouldn’t see an iPad EMR developed, but that the iPad would have a significant impact on the EMR input methods.

Well, I guess I was wrong on one account. MangoMed has developed what their website calls an “iPad based EMR EHR.” I wonder if this was just a quick shift from being an EMR like all the rest and the company quickly just decided to capitalize on the PR that an iPad EMR would have. They’ll be interesting to watch. If I had an iPad I’d try out their EMR and give you a full recap. MangoMED EMR, want to buy me an iPad and I’ll review your EMR and post it on my site as payment?

I must admit that it’s not a bad initial move. I’m actually quite surprised how many people are searching for iPad EHR or iPad EMR or some variation on those terms. The other company that I think is likely to benefit from the iPad is the Epocrates EHR that was announced at HIMSS. Epocrates has been all about this type of form factor for a while and so they should definitely capitalize on that skill.

With all of this said, I still don’t see the iPad being a revolutionary device in the EMR world. Outside of my initial assertion that it will change EMR input methods that will then be implemented by other companies as well.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Interesting to hear about the iPad-centered EHR. I agree, I’m not sure how big a market there is for such a thing. While mobile is definitely becoming a bigger player in the medical world, I’m not sure how many doctors really want that sort of technology. Plus, “all that glistens is not gold,” and the iPad in its current incarnation lacks some features I think would be necessary for medical professionals. Time, of course, will tell. Dr. Nathanson at least seems sold on the iPad (http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/2010/04/ipad-goes-live-at-bidmc.html).

  • I’m skeptical about the lack of keyboard. Many of our clients had slate style tablets back in the day. But once lightweight convertibles became available, everyone rallied towards devices WITH keyboards and gave up their slates (I have a pile of them here at the office if you want one).

    Unless the interface is extremely template driven and avoids use of typing, I think it’d be a pain to use all day. Initial reports are that it’s not a typing centric device.

    I say this as I get ready to text someone on my iPhone. 😉


  • Jason D,
    I’ll take one of those slates. In fact, make it 2.

    We had a pile of convertibles that were never used as tablets. Were always left in laptop format so they could use the keyboard. Although, the iPad is a new model for entry with touch. So, not a perfect comparison.

    Even most template driven EMR software would not be fun on an iPad. Checking a check box with touch can be painful if the check box is too small, no?

  • I’ll shoot you two over right now. 😉

    If someone can make the software gel like the native iPad apps, then it’d probably work great. Sadly, I think iPad represents cutting edge 2010 and most medical interfaces are just now rounding 2000.

    A Citrix window that rotates on your iPad that then simply shows you a window of the old guard doesn’t count in my book.. err.. iBook.

  • Excellent. Happy to help you out.

    Good point. I’m waiting to see if the EMR software is able to leverage the unique interface of the iPad. The one listed above looks like it just made it work for the iPad as opposed to designing for that type of interface. Although, I don’t know for sure unless they send me an iPad to try;-)

  • Thanks for the great post. I did visit the web site and watched all three videos. Very impressive! I also contacted the the owner who gave me a login and I was able to access the site from my windows pc and iphone and found the software to be device agnostic. I am sold! Thanks again

  • Many of those searches are probably developers looking at competition. An EMR isn’t usually something you just download, but depends entirely on its implementation. However, I love my iPad, and I think if you have a keyboard dock for each staff member, then it would be the perfect device for an EMR–as long as it used the native iPad OS.

  • roger atkinson,
    If 3 videos is all you need to be sold on an EMR, you’re in trouble.

    Depends. There are a number of EMR softwares out there for smaller practices that can be up and running REALLY quickly. Sure, there’s quite a bit to setup, but you can get going quite quickly with many of the newer SaaS (usually) EMR.

    I agree that a keyboard dock will be very beneficial. Although, once you have the keyboard dock, why have it and not just a desktop? In the clinic I work with they’d likely end up just docking it all the time like they did their tablets;-)

  • My only opinion on this is it is still pointing toward a proprietary software to run.
    The questions I would have would be:
    How adaptable is the data collected for export import into a new device/or software if I change my mind or if the government changes requirements? Being an apple fan I am used to the planned obsolescence that comes with these products. It can become a bit frustrating to keep buying in and then Apple brings out another option that really makes the item more usable.
    I use my powerbook and my Iphone for everything and I am very happy with them, but I am not sure if I was in the arena these doctors are in I would trust anything that was not web based.

  • Bill,
    I read a good article about “the web is the killer app.” Certainly the apps on the iPad/iPhone are going to be around for a while and have their place, but just like the rest of the web it will eventually move to the web. At least that’s the argument.

    The data isn’t an issue Bill. That will all be stored on a server of some sort and will just be accessed using different methods.

    The point about Apple coming out with new products/versions is a good one. However, that makes it worth considering waiting for the second generation iPad instead of the first generation iPad. However, it still means that the iPad will have a big effect.

  • It would not surprise me one bit to learn that Apple reps are perusing sites exactly like this to monitor the conversation so that they can make adjustments to later models of the iPad to specifically improve features for healthcare professionals. While I’m not sure there’s a huge market for iPad based EMR programs, the simple fact remains — there is potential for the iPad to improve workflow (key word: potential).

    Good article.

  • I read somewhere that the success or failure of the iPad will be determined in large part by the applications that other people build to leverage the iPad’s capabilities. What are those apps in healthcare?

    300 EMR vendors will be considering that question among others.

  • It took six years, three rewrites to develop this app and it runs on all platforms, but our preferred platform is apple. It was initially developed on Oracle then migrated to php/mysql, then rewritten with ajax. Our android port is almost complete and we may drop our PC support and maintain android and mac ports in the future.

  • Using an iPad’s screen keyboard may work better than you think. The first time I tried typing I was pleasantly surprised. Touch-typing is quite practical in landscape orientation. Yes you have to look at the keyboard a little but your fingers go to the right places as with any full-size keyboard. Using it regularly for 2 weeks, I’m still happy with it. This helps: you get the same auto-correction/auto-completion (with learning) as with the iPhone.

    I’m not saying everyone will love it, but its quite practical. Journalist Andy Ihnatko recently mentioned writing a 500-word story on it: ” As I’d expected, I couldn’t type as quickly or as accurately as I can on my MacBook keyboard, but even with this little slate balanced between my knees I was typing fast and naturally.” http://tinyurl.com/ykr9p6v (somewhat racy drawing accompanies article).

    The key is whether you’ll see software that wisely leverages the current iPad user interface, and improves on it to serve the user better than any cross-platform or web solution can.

  • Daniel,
    I’d love to do a walk through/demo of your application. Only problem is that you need to send me an iPad so that I can demo your iPad EMR properly.

    I think I made that offer above, but the offer is still open. If you send me a free iPad, I’ll do a full review of your iPad EMR on this site and/or http://www.emrandhipaa.com and I’ll include your EMR in my list of EMR vendors: http://www.emrandhipaa.com/emr-and-ehr-vendors/

    That’s a pretty good value if I say so myself. Let me know if anyone’s interested.

  • Hi John,

    We can do a simulated demo for you anytime via a web meeting and a walk through of our platform, email me and I will setup a time.

    My email is daniel (at) drchrono (dot) com.

    Let me know when works for you and if this is possible!

    Cofounder DrChrono

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