Smart phones and tablets seem to be becoming more common in the clinic. Health care apps are continually being produced as well, mainly for reference or patient education, but also for documentation. I have had an iPad for approximately 2 years, and regularly use it at work (I also recently graduated to a smart phone, but it is company policy to not allow the use of phones on the units). I like the screen size of the iPad as it is easier to carry and less intrusive than a laptop when working with a patient as well as the touch screen feature (but that causes problems initially when I switch back to a laptop because I try to swipe the screen). The UC Irvine Medical School has a great “mobile technology etiquette checklist” that has some great points about how to use such a device in a professional and considerate manner including general recommendations as well as for documentation or education.
As a part of the blog, I plan to occasionally review apps that I use. As a disclaimer, I don’t get paid or compensated in any way, and these are my reflections on them.
We use Rehab Optima for documentation, which we call ROX. Several of us use iPads and the touch and swipe feature is nice (I use a keyboard to make typing easier). The first thing to note is that there are connectivity issues to the ROX server at times that the laptops don’t have for some reason. Once you get your patient list for the day (I have to do it twice – once for TCU/SNF and once for outpatients), you are pretty much ready to go about your day.
Unfortunately, they do not have the capability to document evaluations on the iPad yet, so it requires planning in taking a laptop with you when your evaluation is scheduled (I have some issues with the evaluation ability for outpatients, but this is about the app, not ROX as a whole). For documenting treatments, the iPad works great. I like that I can swipe through the different codes and add generic statements, then type in specifics either right then or later. It won’t let you validate without any billing, but it doesn’t check to make sure that the codes you bill and the codes you document on both occur (so you can accidentally bill for 97112 but document in 97116 for instance). You can also enter your hours worked, but it doesn’t seem to allow you to account for your time like the browser/ laptop version does (drive time, documentation or project time, etc).
Overall, ROX works well on the iPad for daily documentation. Navigation is easy, but a keyboard makes documentation quicker. It will be nice when they work out the connectivity issues and add the capability to document evaluations on it. I haven’t used an EMR since my internships so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but this app helps me get part of my job done a little bit easier.