Partners Brings EHR To Mobile Devices

This week, Partners HealthCare announced that it made its EHR available on mobile devices for the first time, a move which has already attracted 2,000 of its affiliated physicians to mobile use.  At first blush this seems like a true mobile support project, rather than slapping a crude mobile interface on a desktop-based product like some of Partners peers, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Partners, a Boston-based integrated delivery network, created an app for iOS and BlackBerry devices drawing on InterSystems CACHE object database.  According to mobihealthnews, it took Partners’ IT staff 90 days to implement mobile options. In the future, Partners IT leaders plan to support Android devices, as well as making it possible to view radiology images on iPads.

The event deserves notice given Partners’ huge scope, which includes teaching and community hospitals making 160,000 admissions per year, along with a network of more than 5,000 physicians. It will be interesting to see how much use doctors make of the “mEHR” over the long term, and even more intriguing if Partners can isolate specific clinical, financial or operational benefits from its mobile support effort.

That being said, it’s also worth noting just because it happened, given how few hospitals seem to have invested significant development dollars in mobilizing their EHRs. Sure, doctors can connect with hospitals using their iPads and Android phones, but sometimes that’s limited to using a somewhat limited mobile browser. The problem with browser-based interfaces, however, is that Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer developers control the experience. An app tied directly into the guts of Partners’ EHR makes a lot more sense in my book.

Yes, I realize hospitals have much more to do than enable mobile access. I also realize that if they’re frantically trying to support onsite access to their EHR system, meet Meaningful Use requirements, manage sprawling integration projects and more, native mobile access to the EHR may not seem like a priority.

I’m dying to see more mobile EHR applications emerge, though. Hey, they’re effective, convenient, useful in a crisis and, ok, I’ll admit it, pretty darned cool.  (You can’t beat bringing your EHR along in your pocket!) Besides, once doctors get used to having medical data at hand when they need it, they might be more comfortable with the EHR in their office. Who knows?



About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • All I can say is about time. I think the best number in there is the 2000 physicians of the 5000 they have that are already on it. Shows the type of demand they know doubt were hearing from physicians that wanted EHR access on their mobiles. This will only grow over time as the mobile devices get better and our need to access things from our mobile becomes more important.

  • I wish I could find an inexpensive web based practice management and EHR that would sync with g-calendar, let me use SquareUp as my credit card processor, and actually be a program that caters to mental health. My dream is to have an android tablet, where I could handwrite on the screen, have clients fill paperwork out on the screen, be completely paperless, and bill automatically. Whew! Streamlined and simple – what a concept. I use YouCanBook.Me for my on-line scheduler. It syncs with my g-calendar, and is very customizable and inexpensive, so I don’t want to give them up. I am happy to hear of the syncing with android apps. We really need to push into the 21st century with record keeping and billing.

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