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Aug 3 2011   1:51PM GMT

Integrating mobile health to achieve meaningful use: One physician’s advice

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
EHR, mHealth devices, mHeatlh, mobile health

Q&A with Jagadish Navare, MD., practicing physician at ENT Specialty Care, NY

1. What are the top considerations that provider IT managers must have when looking at ways to improve workflow for their physicians and clinicians?

  • IT managers must always balance the needs of the organization as a whole as it relates to deploying technology with the needs of clinicians.  From an organization-wide perspective, key factors to consider when deploying technology are: affordability; ease of and resources required for implementation and support; access to data; stability of and support provided by the vendor.  Yet, from a physician’s perspective, speed, ease of use, and unobtrusiveness are paramount.  Ultimately, the technology cannot slow the physician down and cannot interfere with patient care.  In today’s reimbursement climate, physicians simply cannot afford to see fewer patients per day during or after the implementation of an EHR.
  • Taking these needs together, IT managers must provide electronic solutions that are as easy and fast to use for the physician as their traditional pen and paper or dictation documentation methods, while simultaneously meeting Meaningful Use requirements, being affordable, and producing data.
  • We have been working with a technology that allows us to continue documenting the same way as before, using regular paper forms and pen. The only difference is that we use a digital pen, that looks and feels like a regular pen. This digital pen solution was offered to us by our EMR provider Waiting Room Solutions. They have integrated a technology from Shareable Ink that makes this possible. The best part is that whatever is written with the pen is brought into the EMR in a digital format.

2. How can the integration of new mHealth devices into facilities and practices be made less painful?

  • mHealth implies ‘mobile.’ We need to have technology as mobile as a pen and paper. I can carry a pen and pad of paper in my pocket. The problem is that this paper has no intelligence. mHealth devices must bring this mobility with intelligence.
  • I consider two different aspects of mHealth. Being mobile for data input and using mobile devices for information consumption to help in the clinical decision making process. While there are several means of accessing information on mobile devices, not much exists for mobile data input other than a transcribing device. We’ve been fortunate that the EMR we chose from Waiting Room Solutions offers a simple digital pen technology that allows me and even our patients at the front desk to use simple paper and pen to capture information in a digital format. Innovation does not have to be exotic, innovation should manifest itself to solve a complex problem in the simplest possible manner.

 3. How is mHealth helping to achieve meaningful use?

  • In general, mHealth, and any devices that make it easier for physicians to interact with electronic health records, while maintaining focus on the patient, help to achieve meaningful use by enabling the use of certified EHRs by physicians.
  • The WRS Digital Pen solution is such a mobile device -as the front-end data entry tool into the certified EHR.  This is not only easy for the physician to use, but it’s also fast as documentation can be written and completed in the exam room with the patient.  We have found that many physicians do not have the time or feel comfortable with using a computer in the exam room with the patient, and the requisite typing, pointing and clicking that’s involved to complete a note.  

4. What do you say to those who are uncomfortable using mobile health technologies due to concerns over data privacy and security? 

  • This depends on the type of technology being used. When one is uncomfortable using any technology, from it stems concerns and one of them is security. We are not concerned about technologies we are comfortable such as fax, landline phone or even a simple mobile phone. Our concerns for computers and internet are also slowly fading away. We buy things online, we use online banking. However, mobile devices such as smart phones and their use in healthcare setting is still new and therefore concerns emerge which is not surprising.
  • Using a device such as digital pen that looks feels and works like a regular pen overcomes this barrier of unfamiliarity and therefore there are no surrounding concerns of security.

Please visit Waiting Room Solutions or email Dr. Navare for more information.

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