Checking in on Windows 8 EHR mobile app pilot

13 June 2013 | Gareth Hall, Windows 8 lead, Microsoft Worldwide Health

For clinicians, accessing a patient’s health records when traveling between clinics and hospitals can be a challenge. They need to either carry stacks of paper or find a computer they can use to log-in to their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, which may or may not be near the room where they’re seeing a patient.

Pediatric Associates—a large, privately owned practice near Seattle—had 250,000 reasons to find a better way. That’s approximately how many patient visits the clinic handles each year across its seven locations. Since November 2012, the practice has taken part in a Windows 8 pilot program that brings EHRs to the bedside. The pilot team uses PrimeMOBILE, a Windows 8 app developed by the clinic’s EHR vendor, Greenway, to provide access to the most common functionality in the Greenway PrimeSUITE EHR. The app runs on Windows 8, Intel-based mobile devices, and is used by doctors when they’re on the move—whether seeing admitted patients at the local children’s hospital, rounding on newborns at local hospitals, or interacting with patients at their clinics.

I recently caught up with Brock Morris, Chief Information Officer, at Pediatric Associates to see how the pilot’s been going. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

GH: How did user adoption go with your clinicians?

Morris: “That’s one of the most interesting pieces of this. Initially there was some resistance to Windows 8. Everyone had heard it was quite a bit different and questioned whether or not it would be easy to use. But our clinicians really like the tiled interface with touch and have adopted it much more quickly than I expected.”

GH: How is it helping your providers be more efficient and provide better care?

Morris: “Our doctors are really seeing the benefits of using PrimeMOBILE on Windows 8 mobile devices while they’re at local hospitals. They can easily flip through tiles in a patient’s chart to review immunizations, medications, vitals, the problem list, and more. It helps them quickly get the information they need right before they go into the hospital room so they have an understanding of the patient’s current condition.

“They can also update information at the point of care—not only patient information but also things like ambulatory charges, which are notoriously hard to capture. They can even take a picture of something—a burn or rash, for example—and import it right into the patient’s chart through the mobile app.

“For newborn rounding, one of the things that’s very exciting for us is that we can start these patients off with an electronic record before they’ve even been to the clinic. So we’re carrying them straight into the electronic world from birth.”

GH: What reaction have patients had?

Morris: “I have doctors tell me that when they walk into the room with their Windows 8 mobile device, the cool factor goes up. But more than that, there’s an expectation now from our patients and their families that we’ll use technology as a tool in our practice. To them, it’s a gauge of quality—it’s a sign that they’re going to receive a high quality of care.”

In my next post, I’ll share insights from the IT side of the house, and discuss future directions that are starting to generate buzz for Windows 8 in health care.

What are you hearing from clinicians and patients about Windows 8? Leave a comment here or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

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Gareth Hall
Windows 8 lead, Microsoft Worldwide Health