More thoughts on EMIS Mobile

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still impressed with EMIS Mobile and I still think it’s great and a huge step forward. However having tried to use it and get others to, there are some annoying bits that would improve the user experience and some features that would help improve it and I need to put them down less anyone think I’m saying it’s perfect.

Less hassle

First some minor stuff. Having to type in username and practice ID each time is a pain – particular as my username is in capitals. Why can’t it remember them? Also why can’t it use touch-Id or face-Id to avoid the need to type in the password each time? My banking apps all do this. Especially as I never use the password at work, using my smart card instead, so keep forgetting it.

Make it work first time

More help when it doesn’t work would be nice? My wife, a GP, bought a new iPad to give it a go. We installed the app no problems, got her linked to it and approved, but she can’t log in. What’s weird is my username and details on her iPad works. It just says can’t connect for her, contact support. She isn’t a lover of tech the way I am, so there is a possibility she gives up on it before giving it a go as I’m sure she can’t be bothered waiting for and speaking to the helpdesk. I’m hoping one of her admin people can sort it without her needing to be there….

Change the home visits system

Anyway back to my use of it. I think the way home visits are done in EMIS needs changing. This is possibly coloured by my previous use of Frontdesk which I think had it much better. We share visits between the doctors who are in. We like one screen that we can all see, so we can all see the visits coming in and see who is doing what. In EMIS we have an open appointment session which we all share. So it appears on everyone’s screen. Trouble is for EMIS mobile it means when it syncs it tries to download every patient to every person. Which when there can be 20-30 visits including nursing home ones takes forever and means its complicated on the iPad deciding which are yours.

There is as far as I can see no easy way of moving a patient from a share screen to a individuals screen. In FrontDesk there was and it worked well. You looked at the home visits screen where they were all put as they came in – there were buttons for assign to me, assign to X, etc. When assigned they appeared on that persons list. This is something Id want to replicate – so I only had to download the people I was going to see.

However we also look after nursing and residential homes so the ability to have all the residents from the home you visit in automatically downloaded would be good as often they ask you about anyone. So if I’m down to see St Stephens today – why not have a way of downloading all 40 residents?

Needs a New UI.

Assuming you’ve got the app working, chosen your pt and downloaded them things are going great. You can see pretty much all the info you need, though you do seen to need a connection to download attachments. It would be nice to be able to pre-download these.

Entering info isn’t bad; there is a quick entry screen, though I do think with some more work different kinds of template need developing for different scenarios.

Why it gives you quite so many choices of where and why you can’t set it to default to home visit puzzles me. Its like those long lists of countries when you know most are UK or USA so why not put them at the top!

It has some built in data entry templates which aren’t bad.. However I really think a really good UI designer could make them more graphical, more instinctive, more interactive. Ok EMIS is based on read/snomed ct codes – but why is it so text based just because the main version is?

The whole beauty of the iPhone is the dynamic keyboard, the built in tools for data entry. The first iPhone app I wrote was a Cardiac risk calc based on JBS2. I used it as an excuse to try out all the methods  – sliders, pop up boxes, wheels etc.

I’m convinced that a really good UI designer could come up with better templates.

Wish list

  • Unless I’m missing it – a way to pick an existing problem is missing. It knows the existing problems so why not present them to me?
  • Need to look at my blog on Software based smartcards – being able to use EPS would be great.
  • Linking to on/off line clinical decision support would be great.
  • Bluetooth links to gadgets e.g. BP machine, sat monitor, alivecor,  so they were automatically recorded in the notes would be great.
  • Ability to generate a emergency admission proforma that I could email to the hospital would be good.
  • Of course it would truly be irreplaceable if you could do your results or tasks or letters on it.

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