Apple iPad Health Care Check-in App Cuts Duplicate Data Entry

EHR provider Drchrono has unveiled an application, called OnPatient, that allows people to check in to doctors' offices on the Apple iPad.

Drchrono, maker of an EHR (electronic health record) application for the Apple iPad, has introduced OnPatient, a free cloud-based patient check-in application for the popular iOS tablet.

Announced on Aug. 18, OnPatient eliminates a lot of the check-in paperwork and duplicate data entry, according to Drchrono co-founder Daniel Kivatinos. When patients fill out paper forms, staffers usually enter the patient information into the database themselves, he told eWEEK.

When patients create a profile and enter their personal data onto the iPad using OnPatient, the information flows into the Drchrono EHR application, which is the first real-time clinical speech-to-text EHR app for the iPad, the company claims. The EHR software incorporates practice-management tools and medical records. It also handles electronic prescribing and medical billing.

"We were focused on the doctor for three years as a company," Kivatinos said. "This is the first time we're building a tool not just for the staff and doctor but for the patient."

With OnPatient, users can enter their family history, demographic data and insurance information. Once the patient enters insurance information, the application performs a real-time eligibility check on health coverage.

The check-in app also allows patients to take a profile photo and sign a HIPAA consent form using the iPad's touch screen.

As part of the check-in process, a staff member transitions from the EHR application to the OnPatient check-in and gets the onscreen message, "You may now hand the iPad to the patient." The patient can then fill out their personal information on the tablet.

When patients sign out of OnPatient, a message reads "Please return the iPad to office manager or your doctor." A staff member transmits the data to the doctor once the patient hands the tablet back. Physicians can then view the material electronically before seeing the patient.

Although OnPatient features a straightforward interface, some older patients may have difficulty operating the tablet. In these cases, a staff member will sit with the patient and enter the information for them, Kivatinos said.

"The OnPatient check-in app digitizes the waiting room and eliminates significant barriers to mass adoption of patient check-in technology by leveraging sophisticated iPad technology," Michael Nusimow, co-founder and CEO of Drchrono, said in a statement. "We designed the OnPatient app to be intuitive for both physicians and patient users to create a better patient check-in experience."

The free OnPatient check-in app along with the cost of the Apple iPad (starting at $499 for the iPad 2) is a more affordable alternative to older touch-screen laptops used for check-in, Kivatinos said. "If you were to get one of these old kiosks, it would cost $3,000," he noted. "iPads costs drastically less."

Meanwhile, larger check-in kiosks found in some practices and hospitals also run around $3,000. A company called CTS (Connected Technology Solutions) makes custom upright check-in units, and Phreesia offers a tablet alternative to the iPad that connects to WiFi to pull EHR data.

"Proprietary check-in hardware is prohibitively expensive, and integration with existing EHR systems is too complex," Nusimow said.

On July 19, Drchrono announced it would incorporate M*Modal's speech-to-text technology into its EHR application, allowing doctors to dictate patients' diagnoses and lab results into health records.