Medical informatics vendors offer physicians data entry alternative

Physicians who have been reluctant to embrace clinical informatics systems because of keyboard data entry may soon have more options, thanks to digital pen technology.

Many medical informatics vendors are incorporating support for digital pen products from Swedish manufacturer Anoto, in order to provide physicians with alternatives to entering data into electronic health record (EHR) systems with traditional keyboard and mouse input devices. Several significant advances have been made towards closer collaboration between Anoto and its partners and clinical informatics system vendors in order to enhance data entry procedures for medical professionals.

According to Information Week, many physicians are embracing digital pen and paper technology, as it more closely resembles the handwritten notation practices favored by more experienced medical professionals and reduces operational costs by eliminating expensive data entry work.

“The digital pen is kind of a bridge where we can piggyback the legacy processes, and we also generate discrete data,” Stephen Hau, president of Anoto partner Shareable Ink, told Information Week. “So it’s a nice way to get to where they need to be without a lot of change in workflow.”

Accuracy of the software’s interpretation of individual handwriting styles can vary at between 80 and 95 percent accuracy, according to FierceEMR. Some clinical informatics systems can “learn” the idiosyncractic handwriting styles of physicians, in much the same manner that certain voice recognition systems can detect the individual qualities of users’ voices.

Certain medical informatics systems, such as those offered by vendor Allscripts, can further utilize the digital pen interface to send and receive data from the central EHR network, allowing data to be shared and updated in real-time directly from a physician’s digital clipboard.

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