Allscripts updates iPad EHR app, opens app store

By Neil Versel
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EHR vendor Allscripts Healthcare is expanding its mobility efforts, introducing an updated version of its Allscripts Wand native iPad app and debuting a company-branded app store for technology developed by clients and third parties with an Allscripts application programming interface. Allscripts made the announcements at the annual (ACE) user meeting in the company's hometown of Chicago this week.

While Allscripts Wand 1.0 was more for physician reference, the newly released version 2.0 for the Allscripts Enterprise EHR adds data-entry capabilities, including clinical documentation, order entry and the ability to drop photos from the iPad's camera directly into the medical record. Erik Kins, vice president of innovation for the company, said that the app helps "create more of an interactive experience with the patient" than with a desktop computer in the exam room.

Allscripts Wand

The new Allscripts Application Store and Exchange highlights apps that add functionality to the core EHR. CEO Paul Black said during his keynote address Wednesday that the App Store opened for business with 54 apps, 41 created by technology partners and 13 that clients – healthcare provider organizations – developed. Most are related to care of chronic diseases.

Black added that the API has had 250 million hits since the beginning of 2013.

A display for the open API and related apps was right in front of the entrance to the ACE exhibit hall in the McCormick Place convention center, signifying the importance of non-Allscripts apps in the company's plan to bounce back from recent turmoil. Black, a former Cerner executive, took over last December in a management shake-up that ousted ex-CEO Glen Tullman and President Lee Shapiro.

(Black and CFO Rick Poulton said during the opening plenary session that they were working to restore stability to Allscripts and rebuild confidence among investors, analysts and customers. As ACE opened, free mobile EHR vendor Practice Fusion put out a saying that more medical practices were switching to Practice Fusion from Allscripts than from any other company.)

Kins said he and Chief Innovation Officer Stanley Crane have been training third-party developers on the API for the past year or so. According to Crane, Allscripts' own software for Windows and the iPad "are almost examples because we write to our open API."

Chief Innovation Officer Stanley Crane told Babyforyou.net.ua that Allscripts was the only major EHR vendor with a truly open API. "We're allowing third-party developers to do things that our competitors would sue them for," he said. "Can I say 'blinging out our EHR?'" Crane asked.

For example, Crane mentioned , a Nashville, Tenn., maker of an app that pulls data from the Allscripts EHR, conducts Medicare risk assessments, then sends the assessments to clinicians at the point of care and into patient records. In an announcement made Wednesday, eDoc4u shared third place in the Allscripts Open App Challenge, a contest Allscripts started last year.

Refillwizard, a product from , an emerging, Madison, Wis.-based company that builds apps from EHR data, won the grand prize. Crane said Healthfinch saves physicians 15-20 minutes a day by speeding up medication reconciliation.

Other apps built through the API help make clinicians more efficient by capturing data from vitals monitors and ancillary systems, cutting out the need for human data entry – and a chance for a typo to cause an adverse medical event. "Why does Nurse Betty have to enter the vitals?" Crane wondered. "It's unfair to think that she's going to type in 10,000 numbers without any typos."

In other mobile EHR news, startup this week announced that it had raised $14 million in venture capital from Summit Partners to hire more technology professionals and expand marketing of its specialty-specific EHR. , which offers a cloud-based EHR and practice management services, landed $9 million last week in a Series B venture round led by Tenaya Capital.

Both Modernizing Medicine and CareCloud are headquartered in Miami.