PatientKeeper’s iPad App Lets Docs Juggle Tasks, Furthers Firm’s Mobile Ambitions

PatientKeeper has worked fast to make its physician software available on whichever smartphones or mobile devices doctors like to use. So it makes sense for the Newton, MA-based firm to expand its menu of mobile applications this month to the iPad, Apple’s hot new tablet computing device.

The company develops software that automates a physician’s duties, such as viewing patient data from electronic records systems, ordering prescriptions or lab tests, and recording charges for services. Some 23,000 clinicians use the software, which they can access on smartphones, laptops, PCs, and now the iPad, says company CEO Paul Brient.

The company, founded as Virtmed in 1996, was renamed in 2001 after the mobile app called “Patient Keeper” that a Texas physician developed for Palm Pilots, Brient says. The firm purchased that Palm app, which he says had an early “cult following,” about a decade ago. The firm has since gone on to support apps for smartphones such as BlackBerry devices, Windows Mobile phones, and the iPhone.

When developing software, PatientKeeper targets areas that make a physician’s workday easier and more productive, Brient says. This physician-centric product strategy sets PatientKeeper’s programs apart from most healthcare software systems, which are usually designed to automate tasks for a specific unit of a hospital such as a radiology lab, emergency room, or billing department. The firm’s unique approach in healthcare, which has changed and evolved over its 14-year history, has attracted about $84 million in venture investments.

Traditional healthcare software—including electronic health records (EHR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE)—have failed to gain mainstream adoption among U.S. physicians. Many complain that the software makes them less productive than standard paper-based systems, and that doctors themselves don’t get rewarded for spending the time and money to adopt the technology. Brient says PatientKeeper has focused on software that not only makes doctors more productive but also improves their use of healthcare IT systems like CPOE.

“Our approach has been that if you want to get someone to adopt technology, you have to … Next Page »

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