iOS and Android mobile EHR apps: everything you need to know
Mobile EHR on iOS and Android devices represents one of the major growth areas in the EHR market and has been documented as an effective way to improve practice efficiency. Accessing an EHR via tablet computers can decrease the total time physicians spend logged into workstations while on duty, improve the efficiency of inpatient medical care by facilitating earlier order entry, and decrease inpatient data management time, while increasing the time physicians spend interacting directly with patients.
Further mobile device use in the clinical setting can result in qualitative gains through improved documentation, medical decision-making, and physician efficiency. As such, EHR vendors have shifted their focus to the prospects of mobile technology’s adoption by practices.
This guide provides a comprehensive look at mobile EHR apps and what they can offer your practice. Below, we cover:
- The benefits of mobile EHR
- Key mobile EHR features
- Deciding between iOS and Android apps
- The best mobile EHR apps for iOS
- The best mobile EHR apps for Android
Once implemented, mobile EHR apps offer numerous benefits for your workforce. These include:
- Quicker and more accurate documentation: the longer the time between the patient encounter and the time the visit note is written, the more likely small but important details will be omitted, which can have an effect on patient wellbeing and also jeopardize potential insurance payouts. Mobile EHR apps allow your healthcare providers to take notes as the patient encounter is unfolding, which reduces margin for error and frees up time that they would have spent documenting the encounter later on.
- A more informed workforce: your clinicians are busy, and it’s easy for small tasks to slip under the radar. Mobile EHR offers the possibility of automated tracking alerts for things like yearly tests and normative values for lab findings, and push notifications to alert
- A more efficient revenue stream: with mobile EHR, providers can input their billing at the point of patient encounter. This greatly increases timeliness in billing, which results in faster reimbursement from payers. In turn, this ensures that revenue streams remain constant so that your practice can operate as efficiently as possible and provide top-quality patient care.
There are several different types of mobile EHR, from fully-featured EHRs designed specifically for use on tablets (like drchrono) to companion apps with more specific functionality. The best mobile EHR for you will depend on your unique practice requirements, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Hands-free notes: voice recognition features save time on typing, ensure that all data is recorded at point of patient contact, and increases physician engagement during patient encounters.
- Lab integration, patient notes and remote charting: ensure that your clinicians can view patient test results, and add to notes and charts instantaneously by providing access via mobile device
- E-prescription: e-prescription from mobile devices saves clinicians time, and ensures patients can access the medication they need as soon as possible
- Clinical image capture: particularly important for clinicians in the field, this connects your mobile app with your device’s camera for immediate and secure clinical image upload
- Scheduling: add, delete and reschedule patient appointments as appropriate. Look for apps that offer push notifications for upcoming appointments.
Android holds an 85% market share in the mobile OS space to iOS’s 14.7%. This is largely because iOS is exclusive to Apple products, whereas the Android operating system is used by a number of smartphone and mobile tablet manufacturers.
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Apple products come with a hefty price tag, so it is a natural choice for practices on tighter budgets. Given the market share discrepancy, it’s likely that any current mobile devices in use at a practice are operated on Android, so Android would be a natural choice here. If there are no mobile devices available and you’re looking at buying a suite of new devices for your workforce, Android is the cheaper option.
One major area of concern for mobile EHR is device security. Currently, due to the open source nature of Android, iOS is seen as being more secure. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for practices to create a secure environment while working on Android - but it will take more planning, and there’s a greater chance of loopholes occuring that hackers could exploit.
AdvancedMD EHR for iOS allows users to review medication histories; review, add, edit and print patient charts, medications, problems, allergies, immunizations, scanned documents, lab orders and results. Further, the system allows users to connect with staff and patients through a secure messaging environment. Labs and charge capture are currently only available on the iPad app but are in development for the iPhone.
drchrono's iOS EHR app has been voted the “Top Mobile EHR” for three years in a row by BlackBook rankings. From a clinical workflow perspective Drchrono provides an environment in which charts can be created quickly with customizable medical forms, macro buttons, medical speech-to-text and drawing tools. Users are also able to order labs and prescriptions through the mobile platform. The system provides practice and patient management as well as billing functionality allowing users to automatically send email/text/phone appointment reminders and the ability to view and analyze billing reports.
Kareo’s mobile EHR app offers a streamlined interface with what it touts as “touch and go simplicity.” Kareo “touch and go” offers a simplified and icon based interface, which aims to provide an easier screen navigation experience. Functionally, the app allows practice staff to manage schedules, send secure messages, chart, ePrescribe, request and view labs. Interesting functionality offered by Kareo includes Apple Watch compatibility and an emphasis on patient engagement with the incorporation of full-color images and patient-friendly diagrams in the app.
MediTouch is a cloud-based EHR solution. Their iPad EHR has been designed from the ground up to work on mobile devices. The software is optimized for touchscreens, meaning that fingertip data entry is a smooth and intuitive process. Clinicians can also populate data fields with their device’s dictation functionality, which comes as standard on all iPads except the first generation, allowing them to chart at the point of care.
MediTouch is completely iPad native, so users can log on using their iPad’s internet browser without any need to download an app. Charting, e-prescribing and access to MediTouch’s innovative MediDraw feature - which allows more accurate documentation of physical exam findings - are therefore available with no modified or restricted functionality.
CareCloud offers a mobile ‘Companion’ app that clinicians can use alongside its desktop EHR and practice management solutions. Users benefit from fully-featured e-prescription features, direct access to lab results, patient documents and patient clinical summaries, and extensive scheduling functionality. The app can also connect with smartphone and tablet cameras for clinical image capture and direct upload into patient charts.
There was a time in the development of healthcare information technology that mobile applications in the care setting were an afterthought to the main business of providing either cloud based or server based EHRs. As the development of mobile software and devices has progressed over the last five years, iOS EHR systems have reached a point in their development whereby they can be treated as a viable option for practices looking to implement mobile technology on par with those found outside of the healthcare technology space.
Epic’s Haiku EMR app transforms mobile devices into portable workstations for healthcare providers. Clinicians can access patient charts and lists, schedule appointments, capture images for clinical use, and prescribe medication remotely. A ‘hands free’ dictation feature allows for increased engagement with patients, while the secure messaging system can be used to contact patients on-the-go while remaining HIPAA compliant.
Epic also offers the freestanding Lucy PHR (Personal Health Record) system that patients can use to review their medical information and enter health data directly. Lucy provides access for clinicians to upload Continuity of Care documents, and access those from other facilities and incorporate them into the patient's electronic chart.
Meditab provides clinicians with a comprehensive set of EHR features, all accessible via an Android app. This includes e-prescribing, charting, scheduling, a set of communications tools, and a suite of practice management features. Voice recognition functionality allows for saved time and increased patient interaction while taking notes, and the interface is often mentioned by reviewers as well-designed and easy to use.
Medlium’s contract-free mobile EHR for both Android and iOS devices allows users to access practice's records, schedule appointments, send automated reminders to patients, and record patient demographics and vitals. The system also offers users the capability to digitize existing forms with a form builder, take clinical photos with a mobile device, send secure messages, upload and organize documents, manage tasks, and receive alerts for low inventory.
RxNT offers a specialized ECPS-certified mobile e-prescription app to accompany their full EHR and practice management suites. Physicians can connect to retail and mail order pharmacies on-the-go, and request renewals immediately from retail pharmacies. Users can set up pharmacy default options for each patient, and also benefit from automated allergy and adverse drug alerts.
Note: product information correct as of March 2018. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to report incorrect information.
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