If you’re like me then you probably had to blink twice when you saw that title. Over the past few weeks, there have been several articles (like this one on Zdnet) published around a surprising innovation: some physicians are using their Kindle Fire to run EHR programs.
When you think about it, it makes sense, especially for small or micro practices. The Kindle Fire is half the cost of an iPad, it’s smaller, and it’s very easy to use.
So how does the Fire handle something like patient check-ins? Check out the video below; it’s published by a company called drchrono. They make EHR mobile apps that can be used on the iPad, as well as an Android device.
What’s nice about the drchrono application is that it’s meaningful use certified. And the best part? It’s completely free. With the free version, you get e-precribing, patient check in, custom clinical forms, and online payment capabilities. More advanced versions of the app have third-party lab integrations and advanced patient access capability. For this, you’re going to pay $399 per provider or more.
Now, using the Fire for patient management isn’t going to be for everyone. Large and mid-sized clinics will likely need a more robust system. But what about a small family practice? This is a good option, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
The problem with the Fire is security; if you have a savvy in-house technician (like most mid to large sized clinics and hospitals do) they can make sure the fire, and patient data it contains, is kept secure. However, most small clinics don’t have someone on staff to take care of this for them. So the Fire’s biggest weakness is going to hit the people who need it most the hardest.
However, the Fire does give you access to electronic medical journals (like the New England Journal of Medicine) that you can’t access on the iPad. So, that’s a small plus, however, not one that’s big enough to sway a final decision.
In the end, I think the Fire could be useful in very specific, limited situations. But right now, security is still too much of an issue for me to recommend it for small practices. Perhaps in a year or two? We’ll have to see.