Revisiting the idea of Shareable Ink

EMR and HIPAA: “The interesting thing about Shareable Ink is that they provide such an interesting middle ground between a technical solution and continuation of paper. I remember about 5 years ago when I heard someone describe the perfect clinical documentation system. It was completely flexible. Required little to no training. Supported every possible documentation style. etc etc etc. Then, they acknowledged that what was being described was the paper chart. It was then that I recognized that while EMR can provide some benefits that paper charts can’t provide, paper charts also had some advantages that would be difficult to provide using an EMR.

I think this background is why I found the Shareable Ink approach to documentation so fascinating. I really see it as an interesting way to try and capture the benefits of granular data elements and electronic capture of the data while still enjoying the benefits of paper.

My simplified explanation of the Shareable Ink technology is as follows. You print out a form that you want to use for the patient visit. Each page that’s printed out has a unique background (although it just looks like a colored page to the naked eye). When you use the Shareable Ink pen to write on the printed out page, the pen uses a camera to record what you wrote on that page and where you wrote it. Then, once you sync the pen it recreates the document you wrote on in the system.”

I featured Shareable Ink as my Cool Technology for Pharmacy back in November 2009. I always thought a product like this would find a home among pharmacists. It offers the familiarity of pen and paper while giving pharmacists the opportunity to contribute to the electronic record at the same time. Pharmacy practice is rooted in a tradition of using paper to record information. Paper is terribly unreliable when it comes to searching for information or collecting data. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to a stack of patient “kinetics cards” to look for a piece of information only to find that the card was missing or simply misfiled. And because pharmacists are slow to adopt new technology it makes sense that something like Shareable Ink might offer a nice transitional technology as we move closer to a complete electronic health record.

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