EHR implementation on different devices

As electronic health records become more common in hospitals and clinics, the programmers behind the software and systems are working on methods to improve them. Some developers are making the interfaces more user-friendly, while others are pandering to physicians who want wearable technology. Due to tablets and products similar to Google Glass, EHR software will start to be used on more than just computers in order to increase the quality of care.

For doctors
Google Glass has only been around for a few years, but doctors are already using the device to improve the quality of patient care. While it resembles eyewear, Glass is essentially a wearable smartphone. It allows for hands-free note-taking, photography and videography. Some applications can also overlay the EHR of a current patient. This provides patients with better care, as a doctor can compare former blood pressure readings to new ones without turning away. InformationWeek reported on Augmedix, which presents all types of electronic health data on a heads-up display.

Another application for Google Glass is for surgeons. It augments the surgical procedure on the patient's body while he or she is being worked on. The combination of an EHR system with surgical tools can ensure that patients always receive the best quality care. If health data is on display constantly, then the chance for human error is at a minimum. The physician or surgeon does not need to turn away in order to see vital signs.

One application from Wearable Intelligence guides a therapist through exercises for a specific patient with instructions on the amount of flexion and limb rotation. The Google Glass program uses its camera to record a video of the exercise and gives check marks when steps have been completed in the correct way, according to InformationWeek. This is another way to mitigate risk, and it could even prepare medical students for a career in physical therapy. This application paired with EHRs could allow different doctors to analyze past visits and compare data.

For patients
While Google Glass provides physicians and surgeons with the ability to access EHRs at any time, patients can benefit from accessing their own EHRs via a tablet while in the hospital, according to a recent study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. The study, "Tablet computers for hospitalized patients: A pilot study to improve inpatient engagement," found that 90 percent of the surveyed patients rated high overall satisfaction with the devices. Thirty patients were given access to a tablet while inactive during provider visits, tests and treatments. They had the ability to read their personal health record and could view an interactive video aimed at improving inpatient education. Eighty-three percent of the patients watched the video, while 70 percent used an EHR program to view their medication list, verify appointments or send a message to their primary care physician.

The study proved that patients want more access to their health records, and providing them digitally with a tablet seems like the easiest solution for bedridden or senior patients. The benefits of EHRs are already documented, but by integrating the software with new technological breakthroughs, physicians and patients can experience better medical interactions.