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Mobile EHR Use Meets Care Coordination Needs, Black Book Says

- Mobile EHR use is on the rise, says the latest Black Book Research provider poll, as clinicians seek more efficient, immediate ways to access patient information from a variety of settings.  Expanded access to EHR data that is optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets allows providers to communicate more effectively, coordinate care with greater ease, and ensures that emergency care clinicians, consultants, and specialists have the data they need to make timely and informed decisions.

Mobile EHR use and care coordination

More than half (52 percent) of all ambulatory practice physicians currently use a mobile device to access patient data or reference materials, the survey found, though that number is predicted to rise to 70 percent by the end of 2015. 

Just under a third of respondents use smartphones as some part of their individualized patient management strategy, with emergency department providers, radiologists, OB/GYNs, and surgeons among the most likely to use smartphones to access and manage EHR data on the go.

"As the transition to mobile devices has been rapidly occurring over the past five years, progressive EHR vendors have responded with clear plans and successful products to help expand the user experience," said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book Market Research.

"With more than half of physicians currently using a mobile device in their medical practices, these EHR vendors are allowing providers to choose which platform best fits in to their workflow in multiple healthcare delivery settings including highly usable mobile products,” he added.

In the Black Book poll ranking mobile EHR products, drchrono took the top spot for customer satisfaction and client experience for the third year in a row.  The vendor was followed closely by a number of familiar names:  HealthFusion, Greenway, Cerner, Allscripts, athenahealth, PracticeFusion, iPatientCare, Kareo, and ADP AdvancedMD.

Despite the widespread usage of mobile devices seen in the Black Book poll, other industry surveys have found that providers continue to struggle with finding the value in mobile devices for care coordination and communication.  The 2015 HIMSS Mobile Survey, conducted in April, found that two-thirds of providers can access at least some EHR data through a mobile device interface, but only eight percent of providers can transmit all the data captured by mobile devices into their EHR system.

Another survey, the 2014 Epocrates Mobile Trends Report, indicates that many clinicians still prefer accessing EHR data from their desktop computers instead of their smartphones.  The vast majority of nurses, physician assistants, and other allied health professionals believed that mobile EHR access has led to improved patient care and care coordination, yet providers were still significantly more likely to prefer using desktop or laptop computers for taking notes and accessing EHRs over tablets or smartphones.

Still, the upward trend in mobile device usage for both providers and patients is undeniable.  Providers may be increasingly likely to use smartphones and tablets to access EHR data as vendors continue to optimize their interfaces to meet providers’ workflow needs.  As care coordination, patient engagement and health information exchange become even more important to healthcare organizations interested in providing accountable care, mobile EHR use may become a critical tool to providers who wish to stay connected to patients no matter how far away they are from a desktop terminal.

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