An EMR/digital medical assistant for $140?

It sounds like a busy physician’s dream: one program for patient EMRs, with billing coding, electronic prescribing, lab reports and notes all integrated. Ditch those separate programs and that paper, that old Palm and PC mobile phone, for your sleek iPhone. Designed by doctors!  HIPAA compliant!  Caretools iChart has it all for the unbelievable price of $140 at the iTunes store!  But wait, there’s more….(shades of the late Billy Mays here – and here)…the few user reviews on iTunes are decidely negative, pointing out how complex, slow and (horrors) crash-prone it is–and the unreliability of its (critical) coding feature. Typical of apps, customer service is tough to find:  no response on iTunes to the feedback received; on, customer/technical support consists of PDFs and an ‘anon’ email.  A cautionary note for those who expect health apps, including professional ones, to take over medicine (Telecare Aware 09 March):  flinging a professional app out there and expecting physicians to be beta testers is not a winning strategy.  (They are not the Apple fanatics mobbing stores for the not-quite-ready iPad…)