Tablet-based electronic medical record (EMR) systems are very popular with physicians. Working on a tablet can be much less disruptive to typical practice workflow than having to use a desktop or laptop based EMR system. It is portable and, ergonomically, is similar to a clipboard. The main type of tablet used by physicians is the iPad or iPad Mini. There are several types of electronic medical records software available on iPads each with their own advantages and disadvantages: Native iPad EMRs, Web-based iPad EMRs, and Remote Access iPad EMRs.
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Native iPad EMRs
Native iPad EMR systems are apps that are developed specifically for the iPad. Because they are developed with the characteristics of the iPad in mind, they are best capable of taking advantage of the unique functionality of the iPad. For doctors that use this tablet for personal use, the ability to view and edit images (diagrams and X-rays, for example) with the swipe of a finger can be very compelling. Using an iPad can also make it very simple to be able to share educational materials with patients. The main drawbacks of this type of EMR is that many have limited functionality when compared to web-based or client-server based EMRs. Some of the more well-known native iPad EMRs are Dr. Chrono, Nimble and One Touch.
Web-based iPad EMRs
A second type of EMR that a physician can use with the iPad is a web-based EMR. These electronic medical record systems do not reside on the iPad itself, but in the cloud and are accessed through the iPad’s Safari web browser. The main advantage of a web-based EMR is that it can be accessed through multiple devices (iPad, smartphone, laptop, desktop, etc.). However, if you do not have an internet connection, then you will not be able to access this type of EMR, making the practice susceptible to internet outages. Examples of web-based systems include MediTouch, iCharts, WebChart, and Carecloud.
Remote Access iPad EMRs
Physicians can also access EMRs that reside on a server. The practice would purchase and install an EMR on a local server and be able to access the software through multiple devices like the web-based systems, using a remote access application such as Citrix. Likewise, this renders iPad users dependent on a network connection to be able to access the server-based EMR. Moreover, the user interface is the typical Windows user interface and does not allow the user to fully take advantage of the iPad’s functionality.