EMR Software Buyer's Guide
Top EMR Software is All About Greater Quality Health Care and Streamlined Operations
By Evan Heier, Market Research Associate
With the advent of electronic medical records in the late 20th century, healthcare providers and clinics were offered clinical documentation and billing solutions that were designed primarily to support patient care and replace traditional paper-based records. In the 15 to 20 years since electronic medical records management became available, advances have been made in the development and deployment of this technology to support a myriad of functions that increase productivity, clinical workflow efficiency and revenue for healthcare providers.
Most US-based medical providers currently use an EMR application, whether in hospitals or clinics. Not only are patients receiving better treatment, but hospitals and other healthcare facilities are increasing their productivity and efficiency, and in turn, their revenue. There are a number of EMR systems available, but like any software, it’s important to do your research and take your time before implementing one.
- EMR software is helping healthcare organizations become more productive and efficient.
- The use of electronic medical records software is leading to better health care across hospitals and clinics alike.
- EMR automates a variety of tasks, freeing up more time to focus on patient treatment.
- Implementing EMR software can be a time-consuming and frustrating task, but the return more than makes up for it.
What This Guide Covers
See how the top 10 EMR Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of EMR Software and What It Does
In short, electronic medical software began as a solution to document and store a patient’s medical information electronically rather than on paper. As the years have progressed, these systems have become much more advanced. To satisfy the demand of consumers, more sophisticated features and tools have been added to EMR solutions.
EMR software is helping healthcare facilities to earn more money while providing better patient treatment and optimizing their workflow. Below are some of the biggest benefits in regards to implementing an EMR solutions.
Security of Information
As we mentioned, before electronic medical software, hospitals and other healthcare organizations previously documented patient data on paper rather than electronically. As a result, many facilities dedicated entire rooms solely for the storage of medical documents. Damage, misplacement, theft and tampering are all possible security risks when it comes to this sensitive patient information.
Fewer Mistakes & Greater Care
The manual entry and reentry of data is prone to mistakes — handwriting and legibility tend to be the most common causes of these blunders. What may seem like a tiny, insubstantial error could have some dicey consequences. For example, if a doctor were to misread a patient’s medical chart, they may then provide inaccurate treatment, which could lead to that patient having additional problems.
With fewer mistakes, patients can be treated quickly and more effectively. In turn, health facilities can schedule more appointments and generate more revenue, all while patients leave happier because they received proper treatment the first time around — win-win.
There have been a variety of government incentives that have been offered to physicians which have played a key role in increasing in EMR purchase and utilization throughout the country. Health organizations have the potential to earn tens of thousands of dollars simply by implementing a certified software solution.
There are also additional monetary incentives given out for meeting certain qualifications including the meaningful use standards. On the contrary, these same organizations can be penalized harshly if they do not meet these requirements or meaningful use standards.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EMR Software
When it comes to EMR software, it’s important to think about how you can improve your health facility’s operations. The automation of a variety of tasks has led to a number of benefits, but how do these benefits particularly relate to goals?
All of these goals below can lead to improvements and increased revenue for your health organization. While every practice is different and has unique needs, it’s a good idea to keep these goals in mind during the EMR selection process.
More accurate diagnosis & treatment
Like we mentioned above, EMR solutions have reduced the number of documentation mistakes caused by human error. Documenting medical information electronically allows your clinicians to easily review a patient’s history and make providing an accurate diagnosis more probable.
Today’s EMRs can recognize patient-specific patterns and automatically predict diagnosis and recommended treatment by comparing and analyzing patient data.
Increase productivity & efficiency
Productivity and efficiency are two of the biggest areas of concern for any business. By automating tasks like scheduling, billing and payment, you free up time for your clinicians to spend on more pressing matters, like providing quality patient care.
Not only does electronic medical software improve general treatment, but it also helps to speed up your facility’s daily traffic. Practices can schedule more appointments while assuring proper treatment and is being provided and patient data is secure and accurate.
More patient involvement
Using patient portals, telemedicine and other EMR tools, patients are able to communicate with their physicians via messaging or face-to-face conference calls in real time.
Patients can schedule appointments, review lab results and make payments online. Involving the patient creates a better relationship and gives them a better sense of control when it comes to their healthcare treatment.
In order to achieve these goals, you can’t just implement the first system you find — you’ll have to do extensive research and requirements gathering, and then choose a system with core functions and specific secondary tools which match up to your needs. The rest of this article will go over important EMR features as well as essential questions to ask yourself and EMR providers during the selection process.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EMR Software
Key EMR Software Platform Features & Functionality
Although you’ll require specific tools that not all EMR solutions will offer, there are a number of key features that your healthcare facility will want to make sure come with your EMR solution. When narrowing down your list of potential EMR software companies, make sure to keep these core features in mind:
|Charting & Documentation||
The charting of medical data is obviously going to be one of the core features of an EMR — it was for this reason why electronic medical records software was invented in the first place.
Rather than documenting medical information on paper, storing this information electronically saves staff time while assuring the accuracy of information.
Nearly all aspects of a healthcare facility’s scheduling can be handled using an EMR.
Aside from appointments, staff can use smart scheduling to assign specialty equipment to a specific exam room and physician.
In addition, patients can log on to the EMR using their personal devices and schedule appointments, even after hours. Rather than choosing from a couple random openings over the phone, patients can compare their schedule with that of their clinician’s to find a time that works best.
You may remember hearing something about patient portals above — more recently, EMRs have incorporated patient-accessible modules to encourage more patient participation and communication as well as more control over their health.With these portals, patients can do anything from scheduling appointments and reviewing lab results to video calls with their practitioner.
E-prescribing has become a basic necessity for nearly every healthcare facility nowadays. Doctors are able to electronically change, update and request prescription refills. Many EMRs’ e-prescribing solutions connect with thousands of different pharmacies around the US. Before handing out a prescription, pharmacists can check for any drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy issues that may occur based on a patient’s current medication(s) and diagnosis.
Additionally, a patient can receive notifications and alerts on prescription updates and refills, as well as manage their prescriptions and make payments using their mobile device.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EMR Software
Secondary EMR Software Features to Consider
Along with the key features needed in a manufacturing software system, there are several other features to consider. The following features are either not integral to a manufacturing system or may need to be provided by a third-party software provider.
|Billing & Payment||
Your software can automatically generate billing statements and customized billing templates.
Just as physicians can review payment information and send out notifications or alerts, a patient can review his or her billing statements and make payments all through the use of their mobile device.
Patients can set up a payment schedule or plan as well as receive reminders letting them know how much their next payment will cost and when it will be due.
One of the increasingly popular features of an EMR is claims management. Before an insurance claim is submitted, this tool works to sweep claims and eliminate any CCI, HIPAA or LCD errors that might otherwise prevent the claim from being accepted.
With higher first-time acceptance rates your healthcare facility can get paid faster and avoid losing money to unqualified or unsolved claims. EMR solutions can automatically verify insurance as well as alert you if a particular coverage is not permitted.
With customization tools, patients can customize treatment plans and keep track of their progress or status. Users can design and edit custom billing templates to save and use for future use. Templates can be made specifically tailored for specialty clinics or just unique needs.
Many EMR software solutions provide customer support in addition to routine updates. Some solutions even offer 24/7 unlimited support, however not all will be free.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EMR Software
Compare EMR Software Companies
Assessing individual vendors for the purpose of selecting the best EMR software for your organization does not differ too greatly (if at all) to the processes used for all software selection. The beginning of the process should always include examining your health facility’s unique needs.
While many clinics will benefit from similar EMR systems, specific features and integration capabilities vary from vendor to vendor. While there are many similarities between electronic medical records software solutions, finding out how systems differ is crucial.
There are a number of EMR providers with solid reviews available out there. But before choosing one, you must make sure to compare your options carefully. For an in-depth review of our top EMR software solutions, considering checking out our electronic medical software comparison report.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To determine which requirements your business will set, you need to ask yourself and your staff members who will be using the software a number of questions.
When evaluating EMR products, it is imperative to consider the data that will be collected and how that can improve patient care and clinic operations. Documentation and underlying clinical data is the very source of patient-truth; it is the foundation of the billing process; it is the calling card for referrals and collaborating practices. How your providers wish to document their clinical notes will be the largest time expenditure for your highest paid resource. Recent studies have shown that for every one minute your providers spend in a face-to-face care moment with their patients, they spend at least three minutes documenting and navigating within their EMR.
What do your staff/users want out of an EMR?
- Do your providers want to use a tablet?
- Do you have providers that want to use speech recognition software?
- Do you have previously built templates that you’d like to leverage for future use?
- Does your clinic have any other specific documentation needs that should be considered?
What's wrong with how you are documenting information today?
- Are you experiencing mistakes due to handwriting or legibility issues?
- Do you have to re-write patient information manually?
- Are you able to quickly and easily search through a patient’s medical history?
What kind of EMR system will you need?
- What type of treatment does your facility provide?
- Do you need a cloud-based or on-premise solution?
- Do you need additional/secondary features?
Having a prepared list of documentation requirements is important for successful vetting of electronic medical records software. Without appropriate methods for capturing the patient story and the clinical moment, a new EMR system may create frustration for providers and fail to improve clinic operations.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EMR Software
Questions to Ask During EMR Software Demos
After you are finished answering these self-questions, the next step involves engaging directly with potential EMR software companies. Once you’ve come up with a list of EMR software solutions you are interested in, you’ll want to communicate any questions you have with the vendor as well as try out any demos or free-trials to get an idea of what using the software will be like.
Some vendors charge extra fees for additional features or tools to be added — e.g., a vendor may charge an additional fee for providing unlimited customer service — so be sure to ask questions in relation to the cost.
There are a number of software systems which may be considered to be the best, but the truth of the matter is that no single EMR solution is better than another. It’s more important to focus on matching up your health facility’s unique requirements with an EMR system that is suitable.
The vendor’s knowledge of your particular industry is crucial. Software configurations are industry specific, and therefore, EMR providers must be well versed on industry regulations, best practices, legal requirements and union regulations.
Can I expect my vendor to be around for a while?
With so many EMR software options to choose from, it’s your job to do research on your vendor’s solvency. It’s typically a smart idea to go with a well-established EMR provider who has been around a while, so rather than being the guinea pig, you can rest easy knowing exactly what you’re getting into. It’s also important to find out how often your vendor updates their software, as you don’t want a system that is outdated or lacking in the most up-to-date features.
Is this EMR software solution suitable for my healthcare facility's size and/or specialty
When it comes to healthcare organizations, there are a variety of sizes, from small specialty clinics to large hospitals with multiple departments. You’ll want to make sure your vendor is a proper fit with your facility, in particular — While some EMR solutions are suitable for practices of all sizes, there are quite a few EMR software companies who are not.Another key factor to consider when choosing an EMR includes which type of treatment your facility provides. There are EMRs made specifically for inpatient care as well as ambulatory clinics. For example, many EMR systems don’t work with a dental office, while others may be made specifically for such clinics.
How much does this software cost?
Unfortunately, implementing nearly any software in general tends to be expensive more often than not; the same is true for EMR software. The process has the potential to be very stressful, time-consuming and confusing. Electronic medical records pricing can range by hundreds of dollars, but the most expensive is not always the top EMR for you.
Depending on the size of your healthcare organization, you may actually benefit more from a software solution with fewer features. Don’t pay for features you don’t intend to use. Instead, take your time to compare multiple EMR vendors to make an informed and cost-effective decision.
Electronic medical records software solutions have been proven to improve a healthcare organization’s level of healthcare treatment as well as bring in more revenue in the long run. As more and more facility’s embrace the use of EMRs, don’t fall behind. Although it may be an intimidating process, you’ll thank yourself for implementing EMR software in the end.
Practice Fusion EHR system is an ambulatory software solution used by smaller, specialized health clinics. A number of health facilities use the program to handle a variety of tasks such as charting, scheduling, medication prescribing, labs and imaging, revenue management, and more. This software delivers care to more than five million patients every month.
WebPT EMR is a medical product designed to help doctors and clinicians keep track of patient medical records, store information and share important documentation. Primarily designed for physical therapists, the product can deliver documents, translate handwriting, fax, email and share vital medical records from any web-based device.Ideal for businesses of all sizes, WebPT keeps patient records secure, cloud-based and accurate.
Optum (formerly known as OptumInsight) is a solution designed to help health organizations manage their clinical and administrative tasks. With features to help with scheduling, prescribing, billing and more, a variety of practices use it to streamline workflow, provide greater care and increase their overall revenue.It allows healthcare professionals to spend more time focusing on patients and less time dealing with time-consuming clerical tasks. Patients and physicians are able to communicate with one another, access medical information online and more.
AthenaHealth is a set of software solutions designed for healthcare organizations to improve workflow and increase the quality of care they provide. A number of medical facilities use these to help with scheduling, billing, revenue management and more. These allow clinicians and other health providers to focus primarily on patient care and treatment without compromising clinical efficiency or productivity. Patients can use them to communicate with their physicians and take more control over their care.
Cerner is used by health organizations of various sizes and specialties to help streamline their operations and provide greater healthcare. It gives staff members the tools to assist with charting and documentation as well as managing revenue and providing health analytics. These capabilities help keep patient information up-to-date while also leading to more accurate diagnosis and treatment.With the automation of tasks and simple recording, it enables healthcare professionals to focus more of their time and effort dealing with patients rather than performing clerical work. In turn, physicians are able to see more patients on a given day, increasing overall revenue without sacrificing the quality of care.
AdvancedMD EHR is built to be cloud-based and integrated for advanced medical note-taking. It’s flexible, feature-packed and suitable for practices of any size or scope. It’s intended for use on-the-go, on tablets or phones, but can easily be installed on any desktop environment. An organization utilizing it can increase practice traffic and generate more revenue without having to sacrifice the quality of care.
Nextech enables specialty practices to automate and streamline administrative processes and workflows. It aims to drive productivity and revenue while abiding by compliance laws and enhancing the patient experience.It offers several solutions, including EMR, practice management, revenue cycle management (RCM), patient engagement and compliance.
AdvancedMD is a set of software solutions designed primarily for medical practices and other health organizations. A wide variety of healthcare facilities use these solutions to manage appointments, view patient information, automate billing and manage finances. Can be tailored to individual practices, giving providers an easy-to-use interface and ensuring success. Organizations using these solutions are able to increase their overall traffic and revenue without sacrificing the quality of care provided.
Serving nearly one million medical professionals around the globe, eClinicalWorks is a popular EHR system with solutions for clinical documentation, practice management, patient engagement and more. Medical practices rely on eClinicalWorks to help perform tasks like scheduling, revenue management, and data analytics.Like similar software, eClinicalWorks offers medical charting and documentation to eliminate the need for hand-written documentation. Healthcare organizations are using eClinicalWorks to increase their revenue as well as their quality of treatment and service.
DrChrono EHR is software for essentially all medical practices, from smaller ambulatory clinics to larger hospital organizations and enterprises. Includes configurable medical forms, e-prescribing, scheduling tools and more with access to over 40,000 labs.Health facilities use this software solution to manage every aspect of their patient intake, from patient check-ins and clinical charting to billing and revenue management. In turn, these organizations are able to streamline day-to-day operations and focus more time and energy dealing with patients.
CareCloud Central is software used by health organizations to track, manage and optimize financial as well as administrative processes. Medical practices of all sizes use this solution to manage their workflows and optimize the completion of daily tasks. It handles a variety of common and time-consuming tasks to save physicians time and money. By streamlining these operations, health facilities are able to increase their daily traffic while providing greater care and a better patient experience.
Healow is an online healthcare application from eClinicalWorks. It performs a multitude of functions for the patient, namely scheduling visits, organizing prescriptions, monitoring health charts and more. It also offers account administration features so that users can manage the healthcare of their family and close relatives.
InSync is used by ambulatory health organizations of all sizes, from smaller clinics to larger, multi-location facilities. A variety of medical specialty practices use this to streamline their operations, such as behavioral health, substance abuse, OB/GYN, pediatrics, physical therapy and more.Health professionals use it to speed up the process of charting and documenting patient information while ensuring such data is accurate and up-to-date. It allows physicians to increase the number of patients they are able to treat per day without sacrificing quality care in the process.
TherapyNotes is used by a variety of health organizations and medical clinics, specifically tailored for behavioral and mental health facilities. Treatment centers of all sizes rely on it to automate tasks and increase the quality of care provided.Healthcare providers use this to streamline daily operations and optimize workflow. It helps physicians by freeing up more time to spend on patients without sacrificing accurate recording or documentation.
CareLogic is a cloud-based electronic health record system designed for mental health organizations. It is configurable and empowers healthcare service providers with a suite of clinical, administrative and financial capabilities. It takes care of scheduling, treatment planning, service documentation, e-prescribing, consumer engagement, billing and analytics. It goes beyond documentation to cause better client outcomes with the help of clinical inclusions designed to extend the reach and depth of service. It also increases staff efficiency as it is integrable with their workflows.
Valant is designed specifically for mental health practices to help manage operations and streamline workflow. Behavioral health clinics, agencies and clinicians use it to help provide greater quality care and improve outcomes.Healthcare professionals use this to increase their productivity and efficiency, saving time without sacrificing quality treatment. It automates tasks and provides physicians with analytics and insights in real time with the click of a button.
Azalea health is used by a variety of health organizations, from ambulatory clinics and rural health facilities to larger hospitals and health systems. It is used to streamline operations and increase the quality of care provided while raising revenue as well.This is used by health professionals to deal with scheduling, remote treatment, patient communication and more. Its interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, allowing physicians to access everything they need with just one simple screen.
CentralReach is a single one-stop solution to organize all practice requirements from scheduling to billing to authorization and claims management. It increases the productivity of the practice by bringing all the ABA critical workflows in one place. It has different offerings tailor-made for new and small practices and large and multi-site practices. It is specifically designed for behavioral health, speech therapy, speech therapy, multi-specialty and PK-12 education industries.
ICANotes enables users to take simple, comprehensive notes. It’s built for behavioral health specialists, clinicians and back-office managers to integrate easily into a user’s workflow and deploy just as fast. It’s ideal for practices of any size and budget is hardware and software agnostic and facilitates a paperless practice through its digital note-taking and billing tools.
Sometimes shortened to ModMed, Modernizing Medicine has been serving the medical IT community since 2010. They offer support for users seeking to enter the medical space with their EHR, EMR, billing, practice management and scheduling implementations. Modernizing Medicine offers an integrated telehealth module, called modmed® Telehealth, enabling audio and video telemedicine capabilities for the provider and patient.
RXNT is a cloud-based healthcare solution provider, which was recognized on the annual Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s fastest growing private companies. It offers a full suite of capabilities such as practice management, health records, e-prescribing, patient engagement and billing for physicians and medical billing professionals. It has been designed for time-starved medical professionals as it allows them to handle clinical and practice activities quickly and easily from the iOS and Android apps on mobile devices. The support team is US based and can be contacted via phone, email and online chat.
NueMD EHR is a cloud-based solution built for a multitude of health organizations. What originally started as software for universities has morphed into a solution suitable and customizable for nearly every medical specialty. Health providers use this particular software to handle scheduling, billing, health records, reporting and more. Organizations have noticed a quick return on investment, along with improvements regarding their operations.
SmartCare EHR serves practices of any size and is affordable for those on a budget, especially those who work in the behavioral health field. Some of its key differentiators include cloud deployment, one-click technology, performance monitoring, electronic signature capturing and more.
Luminello is an EMR software solution designed primarily for mental and behavioral health professionals. Healthcare organizations use Luminello to handle daily clinical and administrative operations, like scheduling, prescribing and communicating with patients.One of the biggest appeals to Luminello is it’s affordability, offering both a free and a premium model. The specific needs of a healthcare facility will help to determine whether the free or premium version will be required.
Amazing Charts is the brainchild of a practicing family physician, who was seeking to provide easy-to-use healthcare technologies for small and independent practices. Amazing Charts provides robust charting and management implementations of charting, e-prescribing, messaging, bill coding and much more.Amazing Charts also carries billing, practice management and population health services that integrate well with Amazing Charts EHR. Each one meets standards for meaningful use.
Acquired by eMDs in 2019, Aprima EHR is built on a single database to provide a comprehensive overview of a patient’s medical history, without the need to have multiple files or databases. It’s ideal for small businesses and provides a flexible deployment model — cloud-based, hybrid or on-premise.
CureMD handles a number of a healthcare facility’s administrative and clinical tasks, from appointment scheduling and patient documentation all the way through the billing and payment process. This cloud-based EHR solution is suitable for a variety of healthcare organizations and specialties of all sizes.With CureMD EMR, your health facility can easily access and update a patient’s medical information as well as automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks. All of this works to help a healthcare facility increase revenue while providing more quality health care.
EMDs provides healthcare-centered technology to doctors, nurses, administrators and caseworkers. It can help clinicians, therapists and caseworkers track their patients across different medical institutions, as well as provide a comprehensive overview of important clinical history.Aprima EHR (recently acquired in 2019) comprises the backbone Its parent company’s EHR offering. It’s got a single database to simplify healthcare administration and provides a flexible deployment model — cloud-based, hybrid, or on-premise.
EHR Your Way serves practices and hospitals of any size and can be tailored to fit any general or specific need. It’s full-spectrum, covering practice needs from EHR charting to practice management for professionals working in the behavioral and physical health fields.
Clinicient offers a customizable, flexible occupational speech and physical therapy EMR and billing software. It is an integrated web-based EMR for outpatient rehabilitation therapy practices that offers services like patient registration, scheduling, medical recording and documentation and billing solutions.It lets users manage end-to-end clinical operations in one place. Beyond this, it allows for personalized user profiles. It lets the practice spend less time charting and more time paying attention to the needs of the patients.
When it comes to medical treatment, no two doctors are exactly alike. Praxis EMR focuses on this concept to provide a solution that can learn from its users, allowing each physician to practice medicine uniquely and in a way that makes sense to them personally. While many other systems swear by templates, Praxis is quite the opposite. The company embodies the idea that templates are a waste of time and only lead to more mistakes. This is why the program uses artificial intelligence to learn from users. This allows physicians to practice with their unique needs at top of mind rather than limiting their expertise to what’s included in a built-in template. For this reason, the system has consistently been a market leader when it comes to EHR user satisfaction.
PrognoCIS provides both cloud-based and locally hosted systems. It enables general medical practices and ambulatory specialty medical care settings. It has customizable templates, allowing physicians to modify their workflow according to their requirements.It is compatible with all devices and includes telemedicine, Medical Credentialing, e-faxing and texting. It seamlessly integrates with PrognoCIS EHR and allows for quick and easy billing management.
In practice since the year 2000, iSalus serves small to medium-sized businesses operating in the medical space. The company bills itself as an affordable, agile way to manage medical records, practices, revenue and more. The company can provide powerful benefits through its dedicated mobile application, patient portals, telehealth portals, chronic care services, urology neurology treatment IT services, medical billing and more.
Centricity is a software solution by Virence Health designed for ambulatory medical practices. Aims to yield health care that is personalized to each patient’s needs in order to provide more quality treatment and better patient outcomes.A variety of ambulatory clinics use the Centricity practice solution to streamline day-to-day operations and increase revenue. Supported specialties include breast health, cardiology, neurology, ICU, oncology, electrophysiology and more.
NextGen EHR is a software solution for health organizations of all sizes and specialties, with NextGen Enterprise suited for larger hospitals and NextGen Office geared specifically toward smaller, ambulatory clinics. A number of facilities use this product to handle clinical and administrative tasks from appointment scheduling to revenue management.For over 20 years, this solution has been helping medical professionals save time and provide accurate, quality healthcare. Health organizations who have implemented the system have noticed an increase in overall revenue as well as customer/patient satisfaction.
Pricing & Cost Guide for Electronic Medical Records Software Pricing
See the Price/User for the top Electronic Medical Records Software Pricing… plus the most important considerations and questions to ask when shopping for Electronic Medical Records Software Pricing
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