GE chose to develop the iPad app because the tablet is used by more physicians than other tablets on the market, according to Mike Friguletto, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare IT's Clinical Business Solutions. It's no surprise then to hear him say that the company has no current plans to put Centricity Advance-Mobile into other mobile devices.
The announcement is another sign that the iPad (along with health apps developed to run on them) is the dominant tablet of choice among physicians. As mobile health (mhealth) becomes more pervasive, companies like Apple and Microsoft are eager to push their products into the lucrative healthcare market. Microsoft recently announced that it will make it easier for software developers to create health apps to run on its Windows Phone 7.
In the meantime, GE said its Centricity Advance-Mobile turns the iPad into a digital "notepad" that the clinician can use when completing summary notes. The mobile application enables immediate response to patient requests, such as prescription refills and emailed questions, and allows a physician to attend to tasks even when away from the office. In addition, physicians can now use their iPad to order, digitally sign, and route a new prescription to a pharmacy.
Centricity Advance-Mobile is an extension of GE Healthcare's Centricity Advance platform. A Web-based offering, Centricity Advance is an EMR, practice management, and patient portal program specifically designed for medical practices with 10 or fewer physicians.
"What's new is an entirely native iPad app and physician workflow. This portal provides a new view that is different than what a physician would see in logging into the software," Friguletto said, pointing out that cloud-based EMRs are useful tor small practices because they don't require a major investment in hardware or IT support.
Dr. Medhavi Jogi, a Houston-based endocrinologist and Centricity Advance-Mobile user, said in a statement that the new technology lets him use his iPad exactly as he would use a notepad. "I don't miss a single point of communication with the patient. Better still, it eliminates the perceived barrier that some patients feel when I'm sitting at a computer entering data. It's a much more natural form of interaction." Jogi said.
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