I don't understand why it's so hard for the major hospital EMR vendors other than Epic to enable iPads/iPhones to input and review EMR data. I am sure, however, that there are software issues involved. This was the subject of a recent Q and A on HIStalk (see: Monday Morning Update 11/14/11). Here is the exchange from that blog:
Q. From Commodore: “Re: Cerner running poorly on the iPad. Do other inpatient vendors have native apps?”
A. The only one I know of is Epic, which has Canto....There may well be others. I tried using a couple of my hospital’s clinical apps [with] the iPad using the Citrix portal and that’s definitely not something that’s workable for clinicians. The shrunken screen is impossible to comfortably read, you have to constantly zoom to hit tiny drop-downs with your finger, and the clicking doesn’t feel sure-footed at all. I think it’s safe to say that for most vendors, there’s not much to brag on if your iPad capability consists of running an emulated desktop screen. Only your marketing people will be impressed.
I have raised the idea of the two-screen revolution in previous notes, with one being the PC and the other, now, the iPad/iPhone screen (see: A Possible Scenario of the Two-Screen Revolution for Physicians). Here are more details:
I believe that one of the major barriers to EMR adoption, aside from poorly designed user interfaces (UIs), is that most physician lack a major personal stake in the development of a comprehensive clinical database. EMRs tend to be static, based on outdated software, and offer few useful tools to physicians other than the ability to order tests and drugs and regurgitate prior clinical records....By way of contrast, the two-screen revolution provides physicians with a more significant value-proposition for the EMR. However, this does not guarantee that they will begin to relish the role of a data-entry clerk for the EMR.
By dragging their feet in enabling "small screen access" to EMR data, the vendors other than Epic are continuing to emphasize the inflexibility of their systems and unresponsiveness to the user community. Also, as emphasized by Mr. HIStalk, running an emulated desktop screen on Citrix will simply not suffice as a solution.