Primary care faces 'app explosion'
A primary care IT specialist has predicted an “explosion” of cloud based and app technology in the sector over coming years.
Dr David Jehring, chief executive of Black Pear Software, will be sharing his thoughts at the Primary Health Info Conference 2012 running from April 23-25 in Warwick.
Dr Jehring trained as a GP but has been developing primary care software for the past 25 years.
Speaking to EHI Primary Care, he predicted a move towards more cloud-based and app-based delivery of IT services, driven by the financial incentive to push more care out into the community.
“I think there’s going to be an explosion of this technology in the next two years that will transform the way we do IT in healthcare,” he said. “Community is the first place that’s going to hit because the real business driver for it is there.”
Dr Jehring said reorganisation in the NHS was often a big driver for changes in IT and clinical commissioning groups were particularly interested in the use of community and patient portals.
“Cloud computing allows you global access to the record. It mobilises the record which is important because at the moment, the minute you step outside the GP premises you have no record access,” he said.
Dr Jehring said his company has developed a cloud-based medical record for a mobile team of clinicians in Yorkshire treating wet macular degeneration – a major cause blindness in older people.
‘Iris’ is designed to be viewed on a number of devices, but primarily the iPad and iPhone, and enables staff to take the mobile record into people’s homes.
The system does not currently connect with patients’ GP records, but it will soon use Healthcare Gateway’s Medical Information Gateway to pull information from EMIS and INPS records.
Dr Jehring is also in talks with other GP software providers about integration. Another application being developed is to support care for dementia patients in the community.
Dr Jehring said nurses at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust were currently having to spend 40% of their day in front of a computer screen typing up notes.
A mobile application would enable them to spend more time with patients and save millions by reducing office space.
“We want to move them to the next generation, taking the whole paradigm away from desk based computing to mobile computing,” he added. “The app paradigm compared to traditional big server-based systems is much cheaper.”
Dr Jehring said healthcare computing tended to lag behind general computing and inertia and fear of change could stop worthwhile advances being made.
“If you go to any conference, library or hotel and look around, most people are clutching an Apple or Android device - the world has adopted the technology.”
He said security issues were still a concern for some people and organisations. The key was not to have data stored on the device, but use the device as a portal with data stored on a server with access through authentication.
Going mobile also required some capital investment so project champions had to be clear of the benefits to justify the capital cost, he said.
Primary Health Info 2012 is organised by the BCS Primary Health Care Specialst Group. It is taking pace at Cheshford Grange in Warwickshire from 23-25 April. More information is available on the conference website.
Last updated: 12 April 2012 16:35
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