08/19/2011 02:21 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2011

Drchrono IPad App Eliminates Need For Paper Patient Check-In Forms

Since the birth of the iPad, adults and children alike have been using the tablets in creative ways, and businesses have certainly taken advantage of the devices -- the medical industry is no exception. Now healthcare providers at hospitals can use the tablets to speed up patient checkin and facilitate record keeping, according to Healthcare IT News.

drchrono, a popular electronic health record (EHR) platform, has launched the OnPatient application in an effort to keep the checkin process paperless and patient records up to date, Mashable reports. The application has photo capability and allows patients to type in important facts such as family history, allergies, insurance information and more.

Patients are given iPads upon arrival at a facility and are asked to fill out the necessary fields using the app. Privacy might be a critical concern among users, but TechCrunch reports the application locks the user from switching applications, limiting each person to view only his or her own form.

The concept of electronic record keeping in the healthcare industry isn't new, but the level of mobility the tablet, and thus, the application, allow is reportedly a major plus for doctors always on the move, according to VatorNews. However, the techie gadgets don't come cheap. The iPad 2 starts at $499 at the Apple store, and purchasing multiple tablets might rapidly surpass paper and printing costs, Mashable points out. The possible need to keep the iPads updated with the latest operating systems might add to the bill as well.

Running an office or facility that uses electronic records does have its perks, though, considering possible long-term savings and a monetary incentive from the federal government, the Washington Post reports. The Obama administration approved about $31 billion to distribute among facilities who take on EHR systems, such as drchrono; however, in July, it was announced that doctors who use the company's EHR products will be eligible to receive up to $44,000, according to TechCrunch.