ClearPractice Launches Electronic Medical Records App on iPad

SAAS electronic medical records vendor ClearPractice has introduced its Nimble EMR application to allow doctors to manage their workflow on the iPad.

Electronic medical records software producer ClearPractice has developed a SAAS (software-as-a-service application) for the Apple iPad to help doctors manage their workflow, from scheduling to prescribing to billing.

ClearPractice says its Nimble EMR cloud product is the first comprehensive EMR application designed to run in iOS natively on the iPad. The company worked with Apple to design the user interface, Joel Andersen, ClearPractice president, told eWEEK.

"We worked with Apple directly to further optimize the user interface," Andersen said. Doctors can use the iPad's WiFi or 3G network to connect to the Nimble cloud and access records. Because data is stored in the cloud, Nimble complies with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy regulations, according to ClearPractice.

Andersen noted that although Nimble includes many of the features of its existing cloud EMR, ClearPractice didn't want to simply duplicate the interface and its many icons. "It really wouldn't work well on the device, and it has to be simple, clean and an assortment of buttons," he said. "That's why we went native. It's built specifically for the iOS and connects to the cloud."

In designing Nimble, ClearPractice tackled the slow implementation of EMR software, which costs physicians time and money and disrupts their workflow. "Traditional EMR systems slow down busy doctors," Andersen said.

With the Obama administration's mandate for health care companies to demonstrate meaningful use of EMRs to qualify for stimulus money under the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act, health care companies now have a greater incentive to adopt EMR technology. The government's stimulus funds will be available beginning in 2011.

With Nimble, ClearPractice hopes to reach medical practices of 10 or fewer physicians, a segment of the EMR market that has been difficult to penetrate, Andersen said.

ClearPractice will also target hospitals aiming to connect their ambulatory docks to their care systems, he said.

The iPad's long battery life of 10-plus hours makes it suitable for the mobile environment of hospitals and clinics, Andersen said. He noted that the instant-boot feature will also be ideal for medical facilities.

The company says Nimble boosts care delivery and can be used at home, in an office exam room or at a hospital bedside.

Nimble encompasses features of the company's SAAS EMR software, introduced in 2006, such as scheduling, tracking in-patient rounds, prescribing, lab review/ordering and messaging. The application allows doctors to enter fields such as Name, Admit Date, Location, Admitted By, Floor, Bed, Admission Status and Claim Status.

Nimble also connects to the company's SAAS billing system to automatically capture and submit charges for payment.

The first 500 physicians who subscribe to ClearPractice's EMR and PM solution get a free iPad and copy of Nimble. ClearPractice EMR users will also have free access to Nimble, while new customers can choose among the $99 Prescribing, $399 Clinical and $499 Practice editions.

Although new tablets such as the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and Dell Streak Android device are emerging, ClearPractice will focus on the iPad for now.

"Our belief is that the iPad will be the primary tablet device that doctors choose," Andersen said. "If all the Android-based tablets catch on, we can easily produce an application on that platform, but we don't think we'll need to."