Think about how much you rely on your mobile device and how lost you feel when you do not have it. The new trend in the healthcare IT industry is feeling that very same way. If you have visited a hospital system and noticed physicians and other medical staff utilizing mobile devices while caring for patients, they are using mHealth. mHealth (also known as m-health or mobile health) is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. The most common devices that are used for mHealth are mobile phones/smartphones, computers, iPads or tablets and PDAs (personal digital assistant). mHealth is used for gathering public and medical health information, distributing of healthcare data to practitioners, researchers, and patients.1
mHealth can be used in various departments at the point of care. One example is in operating rooms. A mobile application called Safe OR (developed by QxMD) is utilized in operating rooms as a mobile checklist designed to increase survival rates during surgery. It provides a series of specifications to be completed prior to commencing a surgical procedure; anywhere from administering anesthesia to making the initial incision into the patient. If a specification is missed, an alert prompts the surgeon and lets them know what was missed.2
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software vendors are also coming up with applications that relate or interface with mHealth. A few vendor examples are Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts. The Epic System has multiple applications and portals for mobile use. Some examples of the applications for mobile use include MyChart, Haiku, and Canto. Cerner utilizes PowerChart Touch and MPages Mobile Clinical Review. Allscripts utilizes Homecare Mobile and Sunrise Mobile MD II.
The first application for Epic is MyChart. It gives patients controlled access to the same Epic medical records their physician’s use.3 This is accessible through a mobile app or web browsers. I have first-hand experience with utilizing MyChart. I am able to view my test results, immunization records, and more, through the MyChart app via iPhone. I am also able to schedule appointments with my physician’s office as well.
The second application for Epic is Haiku. Haiku, a handheld mobile for providers available for iOS and Android, provides physicians with secure and portable access to patient’s charts.4 Providers are able to view charts wherever they are located, in the hospitals, making rounds within the hospitals, or away from the hospitals.
The third application for Epic is Canto. Canto offers access to Epic charts, messaging, and other EMR functions.5Providers are able to use the dashboard-style front end to check their schedules, send responses to messages they receive, dictate their notes, and review lab results from virtually anywhere. Canto also offers providers who round up to date information regarding their patients prior to visiting them in their hospital rooms.
Cerner’s mobile Health applications consist of PowerChart Touch and MPages Mobile Clinical Review. PowerChart Touch offers personalized, intuitive, and pertinent clinical workflows that provide the providers with the right information at the point of care. Dr. Jeff Wall, OB/GYN, physician executive, Cerner states, “Physicians are not one generic group. Each specialty has individualized options in their workflows and needs for treating a patient. By tailoring workflows to each specialty, Cerner will equip each physician with the information they need at their fingertips.”6
Cerner’s MPages Mobile Clinical Review allows providers and other medical personnel to input information regarding their patients from virtually anywhere, at any time and provides secure and immediate access to test results through a mobile device. MPages Mobile Clinical Review also provides the following information to physicians and other medical personnel; Patient List View, Provider Schedule View, and Patient Clinical Summary View. The mobile devices that the application supports are Apple devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), Blackberry mobile devices, and Android browser.7
Allscripts mobile health applications are Sunrise Mobile MD II and Homecare. The Sunrise Mobile MD II application enables providers to manage their daily activities. Providers are able to access their patient’s vitals, results, and other pertinent information they need to know at any given time. They are also able to communicate through their Secure Health Messaging Inbox, contact the patient, family members, and other care teams, input their Progress Notes, and order medications. Sunrise Mobile MD II supports Apple products such as iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.8
“Allscripts Mobile Homecare application rounds out the Allscripts suite of clinical solutions for home healthcare and hospice agencies.” It gratifies the time, attendance, and clinical needs of all the medical staff while providing true mobile information exchange amongst the agencies, providers, and patients. It allows medical personnel to document on their patients at the point of care, view daily/weekly schedules, view patient charts, enter medications, vitals, notes, and more. The Allscripts Mobile Homecare application interfaces with Windows-Phone 7 smartphones.9
All in all, throughout the years, technology within the healthcare industry has evolved tremendously and continues to do so as the years go by. Whether our physicians and medical staff members are within the hospitals or in ambulatory settings, there are new innovative technology solutions they are turning to, to improve patient care. I have to say, I am curious to see what the EMR vendors and healthcare in general will come up with next.