HealthBlog

Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

Survey confirms more clinicians seek mobile access to electronic health records

Survey confirms more clinicians seek mobile access to electronic health records

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A new survey commissioned by Software Advice in collaboration with digital data collection company, Research Now, suggests an ever growing demand for clinicians to be able to access patient data on mobile devices. The survey, which is on-going, has already logged 400 respondents from small (3 or fewer doctors) to large (11 or more doctors) ambulatory practices. While much of what the doctors are reporting will come as no surprise to those who follow EHR trends and usage (see the full report here) I did want to make note of, and comment on what I think is one of the more noteworthy findings--the kinds of devices doctors are using to access their electronic health records.

Survey respondents were asked to select all channels of electronic health record access. Many docs selected more than one channel which explains why the sum of the percentages reported totals more than 100 percent.  Here’s the graph:

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While the desktop computer is not surprisingly still the dominant means for accessing EHR systems, one third of respondents say they are using a tablet to access patient information and 20 percent are using their smartphone. A deeper dive into the data shows that about 17 percent of respondents say they exclusively use portable or mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones to access their systems.

imageSo why do I find these figures so intriguing? Because they really amplify what I have been hearing lately from IT leaders and clinicians. The high demand for both mobile and desktop access also explains why we are beginning to see so many bulk orders for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 computers by hospitals and clinics. The Surface Pro 3 is a robust tablet that can easily replace not only your laptop, but also your desktop. It has the power, larger screen real estate and resolution to run any EHR--from the most contemporary cloud and touch friendly versions of modern EHR apps, to the full legacy software solutions found in most of today’s enterprise clinics and hospitals. It is a tablet that is equally at ease being used in the exam room as it is for doing research or writing budgets while docked with keyboard and monitor in the back office. Running Windows 8, it includes all the data entry modalities, including digital inking, that any clinician needs. It also provides the security, privacy and management capabilities required by IT in the largest enterprise healthcare settings. This is a machine that clearly earns clinical grade status.

As the full survey shows, doctors continue to be a bit frustrated with their electronic health record solutions. While they appreciate improved, easier access to patient records they remain challenged by such issues as slowed productivity and integration with other systems. However, I am confident that clinicians who purchase a Surface Pro 3, or quite frankly some of the other new Windows 8 tablets now available, will be absolutely delighted by how well these mobile devices facilitate the demands of clinical workflow. Believe it or not, I am actually hearing my clinical colleagues say these devices are helping them be more productive without getting in the way of patient care. So there you have it—a single device that easily replaces your desktop, laptop and tablet for easy access to your EHR. Learn more, here.

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