Wednesday, September 19, 2007

iPhone puts consumers' health records in the palm of hand

iPhone puts consumers' health records in the palm of hand

Employee Benefit News via NewsEdge Corporation :

Philosophers say a new idea is simply two old ideas finally meeting up. Now consumers and physicians, especially those who embrace health information technology, can see this aphorism in the form of electronic medical records on iPhone.

New Mexico-based Life Record, a provider of electronic medical record applications, has teamed up with software and computer giant Apple, Inc. to provide electronic medical records on the iPhone.

The iPhone - the much buzzed-about lightweight handheld device - combines a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod and an Internet browser into one gadget. Users can retrieve digital information, such as e-mails and online maps, at a touch of a finger.

The idea of downloading songs from iTunes while checking on the status of prescriptions and reviewing X-rays is the brainchild of Michael Pike, chief software architect and founder of Life Record.

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Bridging consumerism gaps with health IT

So far, physicians are primarily using the technology. "We do have a product coming out in the next couple of months for regular consumers to manage their health records on the iPhone," says Pike. "Consumers need a different interface than physicians." Meanwhile, progressive employers embracing health IT may want to purchase health plans that contract with doctors using the system. Electronic medical records are believed to lower health care costs by reducing medical errors and duplications in care.

With Life Record, a user's iPhone accesses a company's computer server or the server at physician office that uses the company EMR's applications. Through the iPhone, doctors are able to review any part of the patient's record they desire. This includes insurance cards, history of visits, X-rays and echocardiograms.

The images are in high resolution, and the device has a zoom in function. Further, physicians can create patient notes and write prescriptions on the iPhone, which go through the Life Record system to the pharmacy.

Practicing mobile medicine

Neurosurgeon Robert J. Singer, M.D. at the Tennessee Brain and Spine, PLC, owns an iPhone and uses the Life Record EMR system. "I will take all of my patients' images from the clinic and hospitals and make movies and jpegs and embed them into the Life Record system. I can hook into my EMR anywhere via my iPhone and pull up data," he explains.

The device comes in handy when Singer goes to the operating room to prepare for surgery, allowing him to review notes and images about upcoming procedures.

"It does a good job in helping me to prep for cases," he says. "In addition, if I am out in the middle of nowhere, and I need to access my images, text, lab results, records and notes, I use the iPhone to get that information."

Singer believes the technology will evolve in the next couple of years. "The integration of a health data bank, where people can go online and get their medical information, as physicians can do, is really the right solution, he comments.

On the patient side, some individuals are more vigilant about their medical information than others. These patients typically tend to be the ones with the most medical problems and chronic conditions.

"Definitely, there's a subset of patients out there that would be very interested in keeping, managing and having access to there health information in the palm of their hands," Singer comments.

In theory, the health record is "owned" by the patient. Yet Singer believes the current system is too fragmented for this to be the case. "We really don't have a longitudinal solution to the electronic health record," he adds.

Consequently, health care delivery from a physician's standpoint is difficult, and from a patient's standpoint it can be a nightmare in terms of convenience and availability of medical information.

A longitudinal health database that can be accessed securely is clearly the right solution; it hard to argue against that, Singer explains. "It's just how is it going to be implemented and can it be constructed in a secured enough fashion to make everyone comfortable about where the information is archived."

YouTube, too

To bring the technology to a wider audience, Pike created a tutorial on YouTube titled "Life Record EMR on the iPhone" where he shows viewers how to use the application.

Pike says he has gotten more feedback from consumers than doctors about the YouTube video. "The iPhone has kick-started the idea that consumers can have health care information in the palm of their hand."

(c) 2007 Employee Benefit News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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2 comments:

taylor said...

I work for a company called Practice Fusion, and I’d like to clear up a few things about Electronic Medical Records.
There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the security and quality of EMRs, especially applications that are free and web-based. Costly applications want you to believe that you must pay for quality. However, there are many high-quality and free, web-based applications out there. Google Apps. is just one example. I can honestly say that we deliver the best product and support at absolutely no cost, and with no on-site implementation. And that is why we are one of the fastest growing physician practice communities in the United States. We have outstanding technical support, and we pride ourselves on our “Live in Five” process which allows us to get users started within five minutes of calling. If you are interested in learning more about Practice Fusion, you can check out our free EMR. Also, take a look at what others have to say about us: http://www.fiercehealthit.com/innovators/2007/practicefusion, http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4670, and http://blogs.zdnet.com/Stewart/?p=774”>ZD
If you prefer, you can visit the website and take a demo with a Practice Fusion team member. Give us a call at 415-346-7700.

rajeshwari said...

Personal Health Records allows patient to provide doctors with valuable health information that can help improve the quality of care that patient receives. Personal Health Records can help to reduce or eliminate duplicate tests and allow you to receive faster, safer treatment and care in an emergency and helps to play a more active role in yours and your loved ones’ healthcare.