iMedicalApps: Charting on Epic With iPad, for Real


Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been able to “use” Epic on your iPad for years now using the Citrix app. But you clearly have not been able to use Epic in a functional way. You could pull up patient charts, review labs, and phone calls, but the process was cumbersome, complicated, and painful. You probably tried to use Epic’s own native apps, but those aren’t the most functional for charting. If you made any attempt to actually document using the Citrix app — good luck, that was near impossible.

My at-home setup is a Mac desktop and an iPad. I don’t like carrying around a laptop. For years I dreamed of pulling out my iPad to finish a patient chart or see how a patient was doing in a quick way. If I was at home, I’d have to go to my desktop. Not a big deal, but not the ideal workflow. I gave up on being able to do this on my iPad years ago. That all changed when Apple recently updated iPad OS and gave it trackpad support. Trackpad and mouse support is critical because clicking on screens in Epic via touch is nearly impossible. There are some additional caveats and tips you’ll need if you want to use your iPad to chart in Epic.

The most important caveat to all of this: You can only use this setup if your hospital IT team has given you the ability to remote access your electronic health record using Citrix, something most providers have access to.

What you need:

iPad: Any iPad that supports iOS 13.4 or later

Bluetooth mouse and keyboard: You can use a generic Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, and Bluetooth keyboard. I use Apple’s Magic Keyboard since it allows me to remove my iPad easily because of the magnets built-in. It also has a great trackpad built right into the keyboard.

Citrix app: Citrix has several iPad apps, you need to make sure you get the right one. You need to use Citrix Workspace, the app with the blue icon.

Steps and tips on how to use this setup:

If your hospital makes you use two-factor authentication, do not use Safari. I have found that downloading the Citrix file using Safari doesn’t work well at this time. Instead, when I use Chrome on my iPad I haven’t had any issues downloading the unique Citrix file through two-factor authentication. It’s important to note here when the file gets downloaded on your iPad, you will need to click the “open in” button. If you don’t see Citrix Receiver showing up automatically, scroll the icons to the right until you see the “more” icon. When you click this, you should be able to add “Workspace.”

If you don’t have two-factor authentication, use the same credentials that your hospital IT team has given you for a remote setup on your computer at home. Put this information directly into Citrix Workspace and Epic should launch.

Once Epic launches something that helps is to change your screen size based on your preference and iPad size. The way to do that is to click the overlying top arrow within the Citrix app. When you do this, a pull-down menu appears, and you click on “display.” Epic is now optimized for a 17-inch screen. If you want the same 17-inch experience you get at work or at home, you’ll need to go with auto-fit medium (1770 x 1230). Personally, that is too small for me. I opt for the 15-inch experience at 1400 x 900 (custom resolution option).

Once you have optimized the screen size to your liking, login to Epic, and you’re ready to go. You will find the trackpad/mouse option to be a game-changer.

Below are some tips as well as the limitations I’ve found in my experience with this setup.

  • Instead of using the trackpad to scroll down, use the arrow keys — much faster.
  • Keyboard shortcuts like Control Z or Control B don’t work. You need to use the note editor options that Epic has built-in.
  • You don’t have the ability to use the microphone of your iPad, which is puzzling to me. You can use your home microphone on your desktop or laptop Citrix Workspace but can’t on the iPad. This was the biggest limitation to me because I use Dragon dictation heavily when documenting, and I’m hoping in a future upgrade this is enabled.

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