Native Apps Make iPads Truly Useful for Physicians
There’s lots of interest among healthcare providers about tablet computers, such as the Apple iPad, for clinical work, and many hospitals seem to be racing down the mobility track. But CIO Magazine threw up a yellow flag this week in an article that reported on the experience of some clinicians who tested iPads at Seattle Children’s Hospital. According to the article, the early returns from these clinicians literally were “returns”; they gave their iPads back, because the applications were unwieldy to use. A major reason for this dissatisfaction was that physicians were not accessing the EMR using native iPad apps; they were accessing a desktop EMR that was not designed for touch screens and smaller form factors.
The response of these clinicians should not come as a surprise to anybody who designs software, works with physicians, or has ever used a mobile device. There’s undoubtedly a bright future for mobile healthcare apps – at PatientKeeper, we’ve seen a strong surge in physician adoption of our mobile clinical results and mobile charge capture products since they became available as native apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and there’s growing demand for mobile CPOE – but the key is the application architecture. To work efficiently and provide maximum functionality on handheld devices, they must be native apps – that is, applications specifically designed to run on a mobile device’s operating system – not a desktop application accessed through a Citrix virtual desktop crammed onto a small touch screen.
Automating physician workflow with software pays significant dividends when done properly. In today’s increasingly mobile world, that means implementing native apps on the handheld devices that physicians are eagerly adopting.