Docs can be 'nimble' with new EMR for the iPad

ClearPractice President Joel Andersen

Nimble, a new comprehensive EMR application designed and developed specifically for the iPad, hit the market Tuesday with the aim of allowing docs to provide meaningful care - at the point of care.

St. Louis, Mo.-based ClearPractice, a provider of web-based electronic medical record and revenue cycle management software for ambulatory care physicians, worked with Apple to optimize the app's interface "to create a new user experience for docs," said ClearPractice President Joel Andersen.

"We didn't just replicate our existing EMR system on the iPad, we took the opportunity to rethink the EMR experience and do all the things we could never do via other devices or platforms," he said.

Company officials tout Nimble as the first comprehensive EMR solution developed in iOS to run natively on the iPad. The product connects either through WiFi or 3G to the ClearPractice cloud so no data is stored on the device making it secure and HIPAA compliant.

Company officials said the goal of Nimble is to break down workflow burdens for doctors by providing them with technology that is lightweight, has a long battery life (10 hours) and doesn't need to be rebooted.

Solo practitioner Lianna Lawson, MD, of Lawson Family Medicine and Aesthetics in Daleville, Va., was one of 20 physicians beta testing the EMR.

Lawson has been using an EMR from ClearPractice for about a year. She admits she is not very tech savvy, but says that using the new app has required very little learning on her part and has "opened up my ability to care for my patients."

She said a very "unexpected but pleasant benefit" she has realized is being able to visually go over her patients' medication history using the iPad. "It's amazing how when a patient can see the list, the number of times that they say, 'I don't take that medication any more.'"

Lawson says the main drawback right now is that she can't print prescriptions from the iPad, but says that Apple has assured her that this functionality will be available soon.

After the month of beta testing is over, Lawson says, "We [my practice] will go out and get an iPad. I have no intention of not continuing to use it. It has made the way I practice flow much quicker."

"There are 560,000 office based physicians in the United States. Seventy percent are in small practices and most still use paper-based records," noted John Doerr, venture capitalist and board member at ClearPractice. "The iPad will transform healthcare IT, and Nimble is the game changer; it gives doctors real-time information to better serve vital patient needs."