Adding a iPad-friendly front end to EMR apps is a brain-dead obvious move — but vendors move at their own pace. Thus it is that enterprise EMR vendors are just getting around to kicking out front-end apps for their systems, a year or more after the iPad landslide hit medicine.
Perhaps the most recent vendor to develop an EMR app is SAP, which plans to make one commercially available by late October, according to mobihealthnews. The SAP app will be piloted by three European hospitals. (Check out a lovely screenshot of the EMR app, buried in the center of a ZDnet story.)
SAP’s app will do all the expected tricks, including access to patient data, med history, allergies and radiology images. It will also offer a real-time view of patient vital signs, something I’d argue every EMR app should provide.
At least two other major vendors have also gotten into the iApps game. A few weeks ago, for example, GE launched a front-end app for its Centricity Advance EMR, which serves practices with less than 10 physicians.
At the front of the line, surprisingly, was Epic, which released its iPad app Canto just over a year ago. To create Canto, Epic redesigned its iPhone EMR app Haiku and redesigned it for iPad use. I say “surprisingly” because as most readers know, Epic isn’t known for being fashionably current in its technology. (The MUMPS/Cache database at its heart is a dead giveaway.)
Not to sound too slavishly pro-Apple, but as I see it, there’s little excuse for major EMR vendors to avoid the iPhone/iPad platform. The iPhone is at least as popular among doctors as it is among the general population, and the iPad is increasingly becoming important in the practice of medicine.
Let’s hope we see the other enterprise EMRs snap to and roll out apps pronto.