Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Entering data in mobile EHRs still a challenge

Smartphones and tablets are becoming popular in the medical profession, in part because they can be used to access electronic health records (EHRs). However, some obstacles still stand in the way before mobile EHRs are used to the fullest extent. 

The majority of physicians (72%) are using a mobile device at work, according to a recent survey from healthcare IT provider Vitera Healthcare Solutions. That number includes doctors using smartphones, but tablets are also very popular in medicine. In fact, another survey says that 62% of doctors are using tablets in their practice — double the number using those devices last year.

Tablets are gaining popularity in the medical profession in part because they are particularly well-suited for working with EHRs. Doctors can hold tablets displaying a patient’s record in much the same way they would with a paper chart, allowing them to use EHRs during patient visits with minimal change to their usual workflow.

However, right now mobile EHR use is still fairly limited, according to a recent report from research firm KLAS. Currently, 70% of doctors view EHRs on smartphones or tablets — but few of them are using those devices to enter data into electronic records.

Part of the reason is that the devices’ screens make it difficult to input information. Even on larger tablets such as Apple’s iPad, some doctors quoted in the report said it’s difficult to enter data when the touch keyboard takes up two-thirds of the screen.

Despite those all-around difficulties, some EHR systems were rated better for entering data on a mobile device than others, according to KLAS. The top systems in that regard are Allscripts and McKesson, followed by Cerner, Epic Systems and Meditech.

Viewing mobile EHRs tricky, too

Although the majority of doctors view mobile EHRs, there are some difficulties with doing that, too — especially on small smartphone screens. With some systems, doctors are worried that not all important information is being displayed.

KLAS also ranked EHR systems based on their mobile viewing capabilities. The top choices were systems from Epic and Cerner — 80% of those vendors’ users said they were confident they were seeing all the important information on their mobile devices.

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