Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

EHR stands for electronic health record, (also known as electronic patient record) and it is an organized collection of health information of patients/group of patients. Comprehensive summaries of health issues are kept in records for time-to-time access by patients and health care providers and such information includes medical history, age weight, radiological images, billing information etc.

 Benefits of EHR:

 1. Sometimes faulty diagnosis leads to major health problems. With EHR such errors can easily be minimized.

2. EHR helps a healthcare provider to have fast access to medical literature and current best practices in medicine; this helps him/her in critical decision making process.

 3. EHR helps to automate day to day processes thus reducing administrative cost and hassle which can then be used for patient care.

 4. Clinical research scopes have been multiplied by the EHR’s presence. It provides huge data that can be utilized by the professionals to further their knowledge.

 

Disadvantages of EHR:

 Among the significant disadvantages of EHR is the fact that its usage often results in short term decrease in productivity of the doctor as he spends much time trying to learn the nuances of the new system and the techniques of entering as well as storing his data. Apart from that EHR has a steep price tag and that some time deters medical practitioners from using it.

 Nonetheless despite the disadvantages EHR use seem to be on rise among medical professionals as tech vendors offer them products which are moderately priced and easy to use.

 An interesting fact to note is that with enhanced use of EHR, the use of PHR or personal health records is also on an upward growth curve. Even sometime back non availability of electronic medical data from doctors, a tedious setup processes as well as the static nature of personal health records (PHRs) had resulted in the unpopularity of the product. With ready availability of electronic data now PHR use seems to be on rise.

 PHR or Personal Healthcare Record is a highly effective way to keep health records, which can inform and educate the patients about their current health status, medical histories thus guiding the course of their treatment. Having such a comprehensive record makes diagnosis and treatment much easier.

 Unfortunately, however, customers keen on PHR are often provided with compartmentalized offerings –for instance a PHR of an insurance company might have all claim details but not clinical details as lab data which might be needed for diagnosis of a particular patient condition.

 Different IT providers have offered PHR, notable among them being Microsoft and Google. However, there has been a limited usage of this product though as per a 2011 study from consulting firm Deloitte there has been an increase in usage from 8 % to 11%. With an increased number of doctors using EHR, it is predicted that use of PHR too would be on rise.

Medical professionals are always on the go to find the most suitable device to make their work easy. Among their recent list of favorites Apple iPads seems to top the list. A recent survey done by QuantiaMD shows that as compared to 5% total of US population 30 % of the doctors are using iPad.

 So what attracts medical professionals toward iPads? The popular opinion seems to be that these devices are popular as they allow a physician to manage his daily practice despite being constantly on move. Certain popular applications that have made the device a hit among the physicians include:

  •  iPad WebMD: This application, that consists of a drug detection tool, information on treatment and first aid,  neighborhood health register and a tool to check symptoms, is extremely useful as a ready reckoner  for the physician.
  • The Merck Manual: It is like a digital version of the best seller medical text book, “The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy”. This is a handbook which most medical practitioner uses and it is thus extremely useful for the practicing doctor.
  • Medscape: This is a frequently downloaded medical application that provides regular medical update and also has tools to check drug interface and reference procedure.
  • Visual DX: It is a collection of reviewed medical images that allow the physicians to view a   visual representation of the disease thus ensuring diagnostic accuracy.
  • Special Apps for Cardiology and Oncology: The Oncologist and JACC iPad edition are the two specialized medical applications that are used by physicians in the domain of cardiology and oncology.
  • Med Page Today Mobile: The application presents exclusive news from the medical world.

 Such applications have ensured that iPad becomes a favorite among the practicing doctors. However, though most of the medical practitioners prefer it not all of them are favored towards the gadget and they point out that the device has several flaws some of which are as follows.

  •  Most EMR Applications are not built for touch screen devices as iPad. In most cases they need to be used in 21 inch monitor and cannot fit into tiny screens
  • The EMR applications are extremely keyboard and mouse driven and thus they are not fit enough to be used in a iPad. In fact users have provided negative reviews of Critix virtual desktop which is used to access and utilize such applications. The users have pointed out that the Critix virtual desktop is not fitted for the iPad as the users need to pinch and zoom field screens, use ones fingers to put in data to the screen and repeat the process again and again thus accounting for a tiresome user experience.
  • iPad does not have a camera and so you cannot take a photograph of the patient’s condition which at times is needed for diagnosis.
  • iPad touch screen does not work while one is wearing gloves, which is the usual case with medical practitioners.
  • Lots of medical portals use flash plugins. But absence of flash in iPad means those websites are out of bound for the user.
  • iPad is neither waterproof nor it can be disinfected easily.
  • Carrying such equipment can be a headache as it is big enough and cannot fit in the doctor’s coat pocket.
  • The battery life of maximum ten hours a day in iPad does not suit a doctor’s schedule at all. If switched off, it takes considerable time to recharge.
  • Medical practitioners require solid items that would not break the moment they are dropped. IPad is fragile.

Apart from these another major cause of concern for physicians while using iPad is the necessity to use Apple’s new iCloud storage –using this they feel would compromise the security of the data, in many cases which is confidential.

 In the health care world at the moment there is a lot of buzz about the iPad. While some swear by its benefits others are quick to point out its disadvantages. However, only with time we would be able to come to a final decision as whether the gadget is useful for the healthcare industry or simply another passing fad.