5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 4, 2012 12:02 PM by dpeczek

    Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?



      We've been approached by a medical practice looking to bring over their EMR system to FileMaker solely because of their desire to be able to use iPads for data entry etc. Essential features for the iPad would be to take patient photos (private), digital signatures for forms, other patient data entry. Of course this also needs to be accessible on desktops (they primarily use Macs).


      I personally have little experience with FileMaker so would like to know how suitable it really is for such a task and if it will easily handle multiple photos per patient over hundreds of patients each year. Furthermore how fast is the frontend and would it be suitable fast for a practice where any doctor's time is very precious.



        • 1. Re: Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?

          I've developed and mantain a FileMaker based EMR, for a cardiology department with inpatients and outpatients

          Presently it handles about 250 users, and contains 100.000+ patients, 7000+ admissions, 100.000+ treatments, 5.000.000+ drugs administrations,  90.000+ echocardiograms etc etc


          Overall it weights about 20 Gb, growing at a rate of 2 Gb per month


          It also has an iPad interface. Our experience with iPads has been two-fold: we first gave access via iPad to the whole system but it failed for both UI problems, mainly related to the known "fat finder" issue, and because of performance problems, since iPads do perform less than computers


          So we changed things so that

          1. UI was redesigned, made fat finger friendly and lighter to improve performance (we added gathering form signatures)

          2. access via iPad was dedicated to the EMR sections where the device portability could make the difference, that is clinical notes, therapy, therapy administration, vital signs recording

          With these changes iPads became again fondly used


          In a subsequent development we used iPads to perform at-home controls: many patients are discharged and are entitled to have at-home assistance: we developed a FMGo database mirroring the main db, with which cares record patients' visits, take pictures of the wounds they may have to follow up the healing process, take patients signatures to testify that the visit has in fact taken place

          All these activities are performed LOCALLY: then when the cares go back to the hospital they launch a procedure that transfers the new data into the main db, including images. To do this we had to develop an adhoc routine, and you can find the details here (http://www.buliga.it/syncro.html).




          • 2. Re: Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?

            Thankyou for the detailed response. That sounds pretty impressive and has really reinforced my faith in FileMaker. You mentioned that the iPad is a bit slower - what kind of things would you specifically rule out doing on an iPad in terms of an EMR?

            • 3. Re: Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?

              In general iPads are much less confortable to write long texts, and much better when it comes to clicking on buttons ...

              Heavy UIs give iPads really hard times ...


              Additionally in my case there was an On open script that updated all therapies: this implied to find active terpies among 100.000+ records, isolate the past-due administrations among 5.000.000+ administrations and then loop among the found records to set a field

              This proved very heavy on iPads (actually it is heavy also on normal computers ...) so I decided to skip it alltogether, and managed to get a much faster access to data



              • 4. Re: Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?

                I have developed and been using PaperCutPro since 2000. Our database is about 74gb. I'm a Pediatrician. The problem with iPads is primarily that it is too slow to be used as the primary data entry. As for signing, I use Autograph, and the trackpad on the laptops which works well.


                I am planning to develop an iPad interface for providers that are remote to the clinic, but this is really to meet a different need. I personally like my 11inch MacBook Air because it is very light, very robust, and has none of the limitations of an iPad. I share call with no one and everytime I return a page I'm logged on and looking at the patient's chart on my machine. When traveling I take a Verizon MIFI in the car and have power for all my devices.


                I currently see about 9500 patient visits a year in my office. A couple years back when I was in a partnership which had three clinics we were seeing some 33,000 patient visits a year using laptops.


                I think the health industry is drawn to the mystique of the iPad, without really understanding the inefficiencies of that platform. It is a consuming platform primarily and industrial uses must be very focused and limited.




                Ron Smith, MD, 'The Pediatric Guide For Parents'


                Want to know more about me and my family? Take a look at the free ebook about my daughter below.


                Forever And A Day For Laura Michelle

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                • 5. Re: Is FileMaker suitable for an EMR with iPad support?

                  Haha, I could agree more from what I've seen of the healthcare industry the iPad represents some sort of valhalla of data entry. Thanks for your help!