Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What EMR & Medical Software Options are available for doctors who use an Apple Mac !

In the Health Care industry EMR’s, Practice Management Software’s and other Clinical Productivity Tools are primarily built for the ubiquitously available Windows platforms. A huge number are also available for Linux, most of these Open Source, and a very small number for the Macs.

In the United States, the EMR business is filled in with over 300 major vendors, however as per this report by from Software Advice there are 8 vendors offering EMR's natively built for the Mac's in the United States. 

Very few vendors actually support the Mac. Many doctors over the years have wanted a Mac, but would’nt get one due to the lack of Medical Softwares for it. Though lately there has been a surge in the number of vendors promising native Mac versions in the future.

In the interest of the majority of doctors reading this, lets ask the questions: “What does a vendor mean when they say that their EMR is natively supported on a Mac? What exactly does it take for an EMR to be supported on a Mac ? What is this native thing I’m talking about”

For an EMR to be natively supported on a Mac, The EMR program’s software code must be understood by the Mac ; In simpler terms, The program must speak the Mac’s language and follow the Mac’s set of rules. Windows has its own set of rules and they are different from a Mac. So a program made for Windows unfortunately may not run on a  Mac.  

Summarizing

The Mac and the Windows are inherently different, and a software program built for one may not run on the other as the other operating system might not understand what the program is trying to say/do
For an EMR to natively run on a Mac, its underlying code must be understood by the Mac, and it must be following the rules of the Mac.
Given this criteria and the fact that the number of Mac based software are few, what jugaad can be done to provide more choices to the Mac users?

Enter Virtualization
Enter Web based Applications

Virtualization:

Virtualization is based on the concept that if you have a software made for the Mac, and you can make Windows understand it, then it will run on Windows : And Vice Versa
 
A Virtual Machine is a type of software used to create a Virtual Environment, which is referred to as Virtualization. Virtualization may be used to run multiple operating systems at the same time on one Physical Machine. Through the help of a virtual machine, the user can operate software built for one Platform (Or Operating System) on another.

THUS A SOFTWARE NEED NOT BE NATIVELY SUPPORTED ON A PLATFORM TO BE USED BY IT ANY MORE, AS LONG AS YOU CAN USE A VIRTUAL MACHINE WHICH ALLOWS YOU TO USE IT ON THE INCOMPATIBLE PLATFORM.

The virtualization industry is a boon and it is booming because it allows people more choices

Here is a link to 2 fantastic Virtual Machines for the interested. As always, feel free to drop me a line at n.nihalani AT plus91.in for any help.

Virtualbox

VMWare Fusion

In recent times, whether it is due to Apple’s advertising or the Word of Mouth spread that works with Doctors, a Number of Indian Doctors have told us that they are buying a Mac; and if the Clinkare Physician EMR would be supported on it. Yes of Course! Both the desktop version and the SaaS version are supported on the Macs.

Web Based / SaaS Aplications:

The category of SaaS and Web Based EMR’s is exciting. THEY ARE USUALLY PLATFORM INDEPENDENT, UNLESS THERE IS A PC COMPONENT WHICH REQUIRES NATIVE SUPPORT: LIKE A SCREENSHOT PLUGIN, OR A VOIP COMPONENT, OR A DICTATION COMPONENT;

Web Based EMR's are EMR's which can be used directly via your browser, the same browser you are using to read this article. They are usually available on a remote internet connected server and thus free you as a user from worrying about the nitty gritties of configurations, operating systems and the administration issues which come with time due to these.

In this article on MAC EMR Software, the author states that “Web-based EMRs are the best long-term investment for doctors using Macs. Unlike their on-premise counterparts, vendors offering web-based software won’t have to support two versions of their software (i.e. one for Windows, one for Mac) in the long run ”

One can’t agree more. Every Web Based EMR vendor, knows that their EMR can be used using a Windows , a Mac, a Ubuntu; Users can even use the EMR’s on Tablet PC’s as well as Low Cost Netbooks.

There has been a surge in the adoption of the iPads in many health care institutions(pictures below), here in India, and as reported in the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore. iPads with their form factor well suited for use by On Round Doctors in In-Patient Wards, Nurses while taking down Vitals in Charts and even Assistants in OT’s for Managing Checklists are a hit. 
drsdlabc
LabC: Pathology EMR on the iPad
drprb_clinkare
The Clinkare EMR on the iPad
        
With Virtualization being available and Web Based EMR’s being the popular flavor with vendors, there are now choices available to Physicians and Clinics for Medical Software which can be used with their Mac’s.

If you are in the United States, you may want to use this comparison to help you select the Web based EMR which works best for you

If in India, you really should give the Clinkare Physician EMR  a try ...

Disclaimer:  This post is a modification of the post Why are there no Mac’s in the clinic? from Nrip's Personal blog Wirelysis


12 comments:

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  3. Thanks for the links. Are these web based emr applications? Or are they linked to something else? Nice use of the ipads, great way to lighten the paperwork load.

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    http://patientcareapp.blogspot.in/2012/06/ampere-launched-first-ipad-ehr-app.html

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