What is EMR?

What is EMR?

Electronic Medical Records Help You:

  • Optimize productivity and efficiency
  • Save space
  • Improve quality of care
  • Increase revenue
  • Achieve more accurate charting and documentation

Optimize productivity and efficiency

EMR is used by the majority of healthcare organizations in today’s world. Facilities rely on these solutions to streamline workflows and ensure proper treatment is provided. Many of these systems provide dynamic scheduling tools which automatically line up patient visits with the correct exam room, equipment and physician.

By allowing patients to book appointments online, your front desk staff can spend more time dealing with clerical tasks and less time with tedious tasks.

An EMR gives physicians all of the crucial patient data they need while flowing that information throughout a healthcare facility’s various departments. Once a patient’s record is created or edited, that information is updated to the EMR in real time, making sure all providers have access to the most up-to-date patient information. These systems can also increase your clinic’s daily traffic without hindering the level of care and attention provided. Below are some common EMR features that help to improve your clinic’s productivity and efficiency:

  • Scheduling
  • Real-Time Data Retrieval
  • Configurable Templates/Notes
  • Workflow Dashboard
  • Online Patient Check-In

Save space

Debatably the main reason for the creation of electronic medical records has to do with the amount of space paper records tend to take up. For larger health organizations and hospitals, entire rooms or storage facilities may be dedicated solely for the purpose of storing patient data. With years and years of patient information, these spaces can fill up quickly and can make locating a specific patient’s chart both time consuming and difficult. By copying and transferring patient records to be accessed digitally, health facilities are able to save money on storage or repurpose those spaces for something else.

Improve quality of care

One of the benefits an EMR provides for health organizations has to do with the higher quality of patient treatment and diagnosis that is made possible. Physicians can access a patient’s information electronically from anywhere, while updates made to that chart can be done so in real time, providing other departments and providers with accurate and up-to-date patient data. Providers can also communicate with patients online using the EMR. Physicians can exchange messages with patients, video chat for web appointments, send out alerts and reminders, and more.

Many EMR solutions allow you to compare patient data with that of other patients. This can help to recognize patterns and provide physicians with an accurate assessment of a patient. These solutions can often help predict a patient’s diagnosis as well as offer potential treatment types that should be most effective.

Additionally, a patient’s medication can be handled electronically; physicians can request refills from the pharmacy, track the status of medications and automatically check for any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions that may occur based on the patient’s current medication and/or diagnosis. If a patient is complaining about a specific side effect, your physicians are able to quickly look up that medication to see if it is a normal occurrence or a result of one of these interactions. EMR can also increase patient safety by preventing dosage errors and confirming the correct medication is being received by the patient. Check out some of these common features of EMR solutions in relation to care quality:

  • Health Analytics
  • E-Prescribing
  • Medication History
  • Telehealth
  • Population Health

Increase revenue

Most EMRs provide tools to manage your health organization’s financials. These features are designed to help with billing and payment, managing claims, and verifying insurance. You can rest easy knowing that your facility won’t miss out on any potential revenue due while increasing first-time acceptance rates regarding insurance claims. Patients can also pay their bills online, making it easier on them to pay whenever works best for them. Your EMR system can also send out automatic alerts and reminders to clients regarding any upcoming or missed payments.

While the implementation of EMR, or any software for that matter, can be time-consuming and expensive, the return on investment is well worth it in the long run. Like we mentioned above, an EMR allows your physicians to see more patients each day, which means more revenue coming in. In addition, government incentives are given out to health organizations using a certified solution while meeting meaningful use standards. Eligible facilities can earn anywhere in the tens of thousands of dollars in financial incentives simply for implementing a system. Conversely, the penalties for not meeting these certification requirements can be just as hefty as the incentives they bring. Here are some of the common tools that EMR offers to help with the financial aspect of your business.

  • Billing/Payment
  • Revenue Cycle Management
  • Claims Management
  • Online Payments
  • Patient Reminders

Achieve more accurate charting and documentation

While charting sensitive patient information electronically, rather than on paper, helps save space and makes for easier access to such data, it’s also a good way to ensure accurate patient data moving forward. An EMR eliminates the worry of any theft, tampering or misplacement of important patient information, while making such data accessible to your physicians in one centralized location. Entering this data electronically reduces the amount of errors that come with doing so manually, while also ridding documents of potential handwriting or legibility mistakes.

With patient information being updated to the EMR in real time, you can rest easy knowing that all your providers have access to an up-to-date and accurate patient record. Below are some EMR tools that can help speed up the documentation of patient records while improving the accuracy of that information:

  • Patient History
  • Voice/Text Recognition
  • Patient Demographics
  • Patient-Specific Notes
  • Configurable Health Plans
  • HIPAA Compliant


How Does EMR Work?

As we’ve somewhat discussed, EMR works by allowing healthcare professionals to electronically record patient information, such as demographics, medical history, diagnosis, medication, lab results and more. This information is then accessible to other physicians from different departments throughout your facility. Essentially, saving sensitive documents electronically rather than in physical storage areas makes for easier access to important patient information while improving the accuracy of data involved.

How Do I Know I’m Ready for an EMR?

It can be hard to know when your health organization is ready for EMR implementation. Most medical facilities will benefit from the use of these solutions, while others may be required by law to implement such systems. Here are a few things to keep in mind that may help indicate the implementation of an EMR is necessary in order to improve your facility’s operations.

  • Missed revenue due to rejected claims
  • Spending too much time documenting or charting
  • Experiencing documentation errors or handwriting/legibility issues
  • Issues with misplaced or damaged patient records
  • Inconsistencies with diagnosis or treatment
  • Space for storing physical documents is overflowing or scarce

How Do I Select an EMR System?

When considering EMR systems for your healthcare organization, it’s of the utmost importance to factor in your facility’s specific wants and needs. Certain EMRs are geared toward medical specialties while others can be seen as more universal, so it’s important to understand exactly what you’ll be using yours for. With so many different options available and a variety of tools and features offered, it’s important to pick the solution that will work best for your practice. When choosing an EMR, the selection process can be strenuous, so it’s a good idea to check out our EMR Software Requirements Checklist or our EMR Software Comparison Chart.

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EMR articles are written and edited by:

Mariah Hansen

Lead Editor at SelectHub

As the lead editor at SelectHub, Mariah edits and manages content for more than 40 different software categories, as well as writing for a couple of them herself.

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Jason Keller

Market Research Associate

Jason Keller is a Market Research Associate at SelectHub who writes content on Business Analytics Tools, Big Data Tools, Facility Management Software, Marketing Automation Software, Field Service Software and Endpoint Security Software. He studied journalism at the University of Northern Colorado, and in his free time likes reading and writing creatively, listening to music, hiking and hanging out with his dogs.

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EMR / EHR Requirements and System Features List

Accurate electronic health records are literally a matter of life and death, and sifting through the many EMR/EHR features can feel overwhelming. EMR and EHR software collect and standardize the information that is needed for managing patients’ medical records and treatment, so choosing the right system based on your specific EMR / EHR requirements is vital.

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Electronic Health Record Security: 5 Ways EHR Security Alleviates Privacy Concerns

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Healthcare is evolving, and the tools to facilitate better patient care are in use as much by multi-specialty hospitals as by single practices. During your visit to the doctor, you may have seen them taking notes on their computer, tablet or smartphone. As you may have guessed, they aren’t just typing up new documents, they’re utilizing electronic health record software (EHR). There are many advantages to using EHRs, among which are improved care for patients and increased efficiency for physicians. While EHRs make maintaining medical records more efficient for practices, electronic health record security and privacy concerns are also on the rise.

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EMR and EHR RFP Best Practices

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EHR software and EMR systems have become staples across medical practices both large and small. Powered by AI and the cloud, the market is overflowing with options, and so selecting the right EMR or EHR vendor can be a challenge. Though an EMR or EHR solution performs a variety of functions, you want one that at least complies with the Medicaid EHR incentive program and that improves your operations and patient care. It’s an important decision that will affect the efficiency and viability of your practice, so make your choice with care. To choose an EHR or EMR, the first step is to write a request for proposal (RFP), a document that gives information about you and your practice to the prospective vendors while soliciting them for information about their products and offerings. Let’s take a look at how to write an EHR RFP below.

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Top Behavioral And Mental Health EHR/EMR Providers


When the EMR software market first emerged, behavioral and mental health professionals had very few available choices designed to suit their specific needs. Many ended up settling for more general medical EMRs that, despite including custom templates designed for their specialty, weren’t entirely suited to their needs. In recent years it’s safe to say the tide has turned. As specialty clinics began to gain popularity, the need for mental and behavioral health software systems became evident.

Specialty healthcare providers — including mental health and behavioral health EMR providers — have begun to demand EMRs designed specifically for their needs. In some cases, this involves medical EMRs with robust, well-constructed modules focused on their specialty. However, most of the time, modern behavioral health providers are opting for specialty-specific systems. With a higher focus on behavioral and mental health than in the past, the EMR industry has jumped at the chance to meet this need. As a result, there is a wide range of mental and behavioral health EHR software available today.

Evan HeierTop Behavioral And Mental Health EHR/EMR Providers
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Future of Electronic Medical Records: Experts Predict EMR Trends in 2020

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Gone are the days of running down to a dank basement to find a stack of paper files when someone comes through the doors of a physician’s office. Electronic medical records, managed with EMR software, have revolutionized the way patient records are recorded and processed. But where is this crucial software headed? We spoke with four experts in the healthcare tech industry to find out their thoughts on the future of electronic medical records trends in 2020 and beyond.

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8 Types of Health Information Technology and Healthcare Software Systems


The average person often doesn’t think about healthcare software. They often don’t think about how it affects the medical industry as a whole either. Many might think, “My clinic is doing just fine, what do I care?” but the impact of health information technology has revolutionized patient care on a global scale.

Every year, more and more healthcare providers are taking steps to change the way their business manages their internal processes. The implementation of medical software and other specialized healthcare information systems in hospitals and other healthcare organizations has had monumental effects.

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Top Technology Trends in Healthcare

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Health information technology is constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of healthcare providers. From a stronger focus on patient satisfaction to greater security of patient data, medical software trends and tools have evolved throughout the years. With continual disruption, it can be difficult to understand which features and tools your healthcare organization will benefit from specifically. Here, we’ll highlight some of the key current and future technology trends in healthcare to keep in mind to help your facility stay ahead of the curve.

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What is a Patient Portal and How Does it Help Medical Practices?


Following the introduction of electronic medical records (EMR software) and electronic health records (EHR software), the use of patient portals has become increasingly popular in healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties. You may be wondering, “What is a patient portal and what does it do?” While it may seem obvious that these portals allow patients access to their medical information, it’s important to remember that patient portal software is used to improve the quality of care provided while enabling greater communication between physicians and their patients.

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EHR vs EMR: A Comprehensive Comparison of the Difference Between Them

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The use of electronic health records (EHR software) and electronic medical records (EMR software) has grown increasingly popular over the years as healthcare organizations are doing everything they can to provide greater quality care and increase revenue in the process. Many people view the EHR vs EMR software comparison as being one and the same, but there are important differences worth knowing.

Electronic medical records have been around longer and are focused on the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions carried out by a single provider. Meanwhile, electronic health records do many of the same things while being specifically designed to exchange information with other providers.

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Medical Software Features and Requirements

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Medical software has become a staple of the healthcare industry in recent years. From EMR/EHR and practice management software to medical billing and patient scheduling, there are a wide variety of options as well as tools and features when it comes to medical software. These medical features offer a number of benefits to help with healthcare organizations from small specialty clinics to larger hospital systems.

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Transitioning From Paper To Electronic Medical Records

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Not too long ago, paper medical records were the standard. Once a patient checked themselves into a clinic, someone would have to run to the back and scramble through years of paper documents in the hope of finding the correct one — if it even existed. Many healthcare organizations have since abandoned their traditional ways by transitioning from paper to electronic medical records. EMR software has become a key component of any medical practice.

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The Best Affordable and Free EMR Software Systems


Electronic medical records (EMR) are a key part of any medical practice. They chart patient status, treatment plans, medical history and more. But they also seem like they cost an arm and a leg! Medical software can be powerful and affordable, and we’re going to prove it. We’ve made a list of the most affordable EMR software systems for the medical practice on a budget.

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An Overview of Medical Charting Software

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In recent years, more and more healthcare organizations are embracing the use of healthcare information technology to handle their medical charting needs. EHR software solutions allow physicians to improve the quality of care they provide, reduce charting errors and spend more time focusing on the patient rather than documenting by hand. As pen-and-paper charting is slowly phasing out, health facilities are using medical charting software to document patient information more efficiently, helping lead to an increase in daily traffic as well as revenue opportunities.

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Epic Competitors: Competitive Analysis of Top 16 Alternatives

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Every day, more of healthcare providers’ success and operations rely on the long-term aspects of record keeping — from care coordination to treatment to revenue management, it is all tied to the records we keep. This world of EMR software (Electronic Medical Records) can be daunting. You know you need electronic health records, but how do you choose one? One name that comes up frequently in a basic search for EMR is Epic Systems software. We’re going to tell you about some excellent Epic software competitors and alternatives to help you make an informed choice in medical software.

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NextGen vs Epic EMR: Which ERM System is the Winner?


EHR and EMR software have a reputation for being difficult to work with, but some are definitely better than others. The question is, how much better? In a NextGen vs Epic EMR comparison, both are very popular electronic medical record software systems, but how do they stand up against one another? Here’s a feature-by-feature breakdown of Epic vs NextGen.

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The EMR Buying Cycle: A Guide For Medical Practices

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Few practices decide that they need to buy an EMR overnight. Usually, the process begins when a growing number of clinicians begin to feel that the EMR they have in place isn’t cutting it, either because it doesn’t work well or doesn’t meet the emerging needs of the business. Over time, everyone in the practice realizes that they could do better with a new EMR.

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Digital Health Data is Transforming EMRs

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Digital health technologies are reshaping the way healthcare works. Devices like wellness trackers, smartwatches and mobile apps are changing the way patients track and manage their health. This has resulted in an increased interest in accessing medical records among patients and a substantially expanded engagement with the healthcare process.

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Why Implement Electronic Medical Records?

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Electronic medical record systems (EMR) are a huge step up from paper records.  A medical clinic can benefit in several ways following implementation of this powerful piece of health information technology.  Patient care is more efficient and medical records are more secure when stored in an electronic format.  Here are a few of the ways electronic medical records are beneficial:

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