EMR Mobile Integrations

I can’t quite figure out why EMR software was been so slow to integrate with various mobile technologies. Certainly we’ve seen quite a bit of effort when it comes to EMR and the iPad. However, I’m talking more about patient focused mobile apps.

I started thinking about this when I saw the video below. It’s a sales video, but demos some interesting mobile features that I think should be part of most EMR software:

Something as simple as appointment reminders should be part of every EMR, but sadly it’s not and I’m not sure why. I’m sure some will cry HIPAA, but that’s a total cop out. Besides the fact that you can obtain consent, you can text an appointment reminder without violating HIPAA. It’s not that much different than an automated call system calling to remind them for the appointment.

The automatic welcome text with directions to the office is a nice touch too. Some of the Cisco mobile integrations I’ve seen before in a few EMR, but it definitely adds to the complexity of the EMR implementation. That’s something that I think you have to be careful with as an EMR vendor.

However, the mobile nurse notification is something that could be really interesting. This is a little harder to implement properly since you need to balance the nurses need to know the information and alert fatigue. Or in other words you don’t want to bombard the nurse with so many messages that she stops looking at them because there’s too many and many are outdated since she can’t keep up with the messages.

What about using the bump or bump like technologies to give patients their clinical summaries on their mobiles to satisfy the meaningful use requirements? I’m sure there’s many more.

Why don’t we see more functions like this? Sadly, I’m afraid the answer is that these features won’t likely sell more EMR software.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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.


  • I think the technological boundaries of traditional EMR prevent these type of advancements from being implemented. The costs and time involved with updating and upgrading traditional server based systems scares the manufacturer and the consumer; another cop out. Look for web-based systems to become the standard when these innovations become a necessity. Mobile is the future, hopefully the industry doesn’t hide from it.

  • Agree with Mike that Web-based systems are the standard when these innovations become necessity. Applications running on ipad, mobile and iphones will be useful in future.

  • Hi EMR EHR Team:
    I read you materials and find it highly relevant and anted to kno if you would be intersted in having me submitt material to you? I am very invloved in PCHM and ACOs nationally and would be happy to be be you “iReporter” talking about EHR EMR issues related to meaningful use, HIE, PCMH and ACOs. Let me know if you’re interested!!!

  • Quoting you: “I can’t quite figure out why EMR software was been so slow to integrate with various mobile technologies.”

    The business models are really weak…Take appointment scheduling for instance which you talk about… In our EMR (Not naming it to avoid this becoming a sales message) we provided an SMS Add On. This feature automatically sends Text message reminders from the EMR with some addnl info: Clinic Address, Website etc.. It also has the provision to cancel the Appointment via a return SMS.
    Further we integrated Twilio’s API with our EMR and allowed Phone calls to be made by the EMR itself to patients reminding them of the Appointment….

    Result: Its been 8 Months, No one willing to pay for these features…But then we feel that this is because its too early and the medical field does’nt have too many early adopters …

  • Nrip,
    Yep, I’m thinking that these features need to be part of the whole package. You’re right that most clinics won’t buy them as an add on. They aren’t compelling enough to pay more, but could tip some sales that are on the edge.

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