March 13, 2012
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular in the doctor’s office. Digital medical office technology is booming as well. EHR adoption has doubled over the past few years, and ONC predicts that a majority of physicians will be using some form of EHR by the end of 2012.
The rise in mobile healthcare technologies has been fortuitous for a lot of practices. It is no secret that doctors dislike traditional point-and-click EMRs; they are slow, complex, and difficult to incorporate into a doctor’s workflow. But doctors are being pressed to adopt EHR nonetheless, so most are turning to more innovative solutions to their technology needs.
Most doctors prefer to dictate their notes. It used to be that each block of text had to be transcribed by a transcriptionist, but voice capabilities have vastly improved over the years. Natural language processing (NLP) is now the standard for most dictation devices, meaning that data is separated into discrete elements rather than displayed simply as blocks of text. Transcriptionists are no longer required, and doctors can get through their notes much more quickly.
But EHRs also need to be able to exchange health information across different networks; very few EHRs have excelled in this area. Future meaningful use rules will require that data be shared (using CDA standards) with other providers, vendors, and any other party who may need a patient’s information. The cloud helps advance interoperability, just as voice improves an EHR’s usability. As was seen at the Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS12 last month, some vendors are ahead of the curve and have already created products that will allow providers to create, review, store, and share data, regardless of the device being used.
The combination of mobile devices and voice enables new levels of productivity for physicians. The next few years should be very exciting for doctors; more tools will be available to help them be better doctors, and those tools are getting better, smarter, and easier to use.