Portage Bay
Portage Bay

An iPhone App for Patient Info

FileMaker Pro can be an excellent platform for developing iOS applications and a recent project for one of our clients is a good example of this capability.

The client is one for whom we’ve written a sophisticated FileMaker solution for managing patient primary medical care data (an EMR system) and the need was for the doctors to be able to view a subset of this data on their phones. The desktop FileMaker app integrates with DrFirst for ePrescription management and Labcorp for lab testing. The iPhone app would need to display this data as well.


We had previously written a simple FileMaker Go solution for this purpose, which has worked well for the client, but the advent of iOS 11 and the demise of a previous custom written app required the creation of a more complex iOS app that could be deployed via the App Store, Over The Air installation, and mobile device management.

Fortunately, this client is standardized on iPhones, so it fit right into FileMaker's strengths. We have a couple of options for integrating FileMaker with the Android platform, but when on a tight schedule and budget, it's helpful to only need to develop for one platform.

The project was starting later than would have been preferable since iOS 11 is already out and the old custom app already non-functioning. This also played to one of FileMaker’s strengths - rapid application development.

We started defining requirements in November with a number of enhancements over the existing application and a more sophisticated data synchronization methodology. Given that medical information is involved, a great deal of attention had to be paid to security and privacy. In the end, we decided to at least partially base security on device ID to limit access. This would require a hacker to both spoof the device id and break the username/password authentication.

The bulk of the development took place in December and as of mid to late January we have deployed the first beta to the app store. We expect to have office staff using the app within the next two weeks.

Below is a quick summary of features the app currently provides:

Two-factor authentication for security
Synchronized data for name, contact info, and selected patient data
Email communications with other staff and patient
SMS alerts for specific events
Integration of location services

FileMaker’s strengths in rapid application development and mobile app development have helped us provide an extremely timely, yet well designed mobile application for this client.