Electronic medical records get a boost from iPad, federal funding

The iPad (s aapl) may help electronic medical records (EMR, sometimes also referred to as electronic health records, or EHR) finally gain wide adoption, thanks in part to a new program that will see the federal government dispersing grants to doctors who make use of a free native EMR iPad app.

Drchrono announced Thursday that doctors who use their EMR app to store and track patient data will receive up to $44,000 in incentives. The federal subsidies are now accessible to medical professionals because drchrono has been certified for “Meaningful Use,” making it the only app of its kind to receive such certification so far. Meaningful use is a designation used by the government to describe EHR tech that meets a set of criteria that use can be accurately measured in qualifiable and quantifiable terms.

The certification could be a good first step towards finally arriving at an EMR solution that will actually have broad appeal. Drchrono CEO and co-founder Michael Nusimow describes his app’s advantages in this regard:

This certification transforms our EHR app and the iPad into a potentially affordable platform that could finally drive global usage and adoption of Electronic Medical Records. The government subsidy offered to physicians who adopt our free EHR solution could be transformational in bringing electronic record keeping into every medical practice.

EHR adoption still faces considerable challenges. There are major privacy concerns surrounding the tech for many patients, and the cost of initial conversion of records can be high. That’s why drchrono being offered free (albeit with different tiered monthly service packages ranging from free to $799 per month, coupled with monetary adoption incentives is so promising. Also, government certification should help to allay some privacy concerns.

What do you think? Would you be happy to see your family doctor carrying an iPad instead of a clipboard?