Throughout recent years, the use of electronic health records (EHR software) and electronic medical records (EMR software) has skyrocketed, becoming standard practice for practically every single healthcare organization. With the growing use of these systems, another recent trend has been moving to the cloud.
Web based electronic medical records and health records solutions have become increasingly popular, and for a number of reasons we’ll get into in this blog post. While traditional, or on-premise, EHRs are still a valuable asset for a number of healthcare facilities, cloud-based solutions typically offer more advantages and flexibility.
Where to Start
EHR software has been around for some time. Whether you’re considering it for the first time or are ready to upgrade to something different, knowing what to look for in web based EHR software is an absolute must. New features are debuting all the time, which can make it tricky to zero in on software that will suit the needs of your practice. Online solutions in the healthcare industry help reduce costs, improve application performance and speed up goals to achieve meaningful use.
As with any other type of software, selecting an EHR can be confusing as well as time-consuming. Hopefully, this article will help give you an idea of whether or not cloud-based health records are right for you. Below are some of the most essential features and requirements to be aware of to make sure you get the best web based EHR system for your practice.
When it comes to web based electronic health records, accessibility is a key advantage. With these systems, you can log in and work with your EHR wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection. This is especially important if a key physician is away from the facility and they need to look up a patient’s medical history.
Similarly, the use of patient portals allows your clients to access lab results, communicate with their physicians, request prescription refills, make payments and more. Patients can use the portal to provide basic information, which dramatically reduces the number of forms they need to fill out by hand. They may also receive reminders for appointments and tests they need performed, in addition to checking on their patient records. This gives both physicians and patients more timely access to information.
Let’s say a physician leaves the office and realizes they forgot to send out a prescription order; they can quickly hop on their smartphone, tablet or personal laptop and access the EHR from wherever, 24/7. This is a major perk for all practices, but it’s especially beneficial for facilities with multiple locations and doctors who work at multiple locations.
The truth about web based software solutions, in general, is that they’re easier to integrate with other systems. Web based EHR software, then, plays nice with any other tools you may have. This is especially crucial if you use practice management software, a common EHR integration. The seamless flow of data between systems can’t be replaced, so ensuring that your EHR can accommodate it is important.
- Charting and Documentation
- Patient Portals
- Patient Information
- Mobile Apps
- Inventory Management
- Physician Dashboard
- Lab Results
- Online Invoices and Payments
Electronic prescription functionality is a great feature for improving patient care, as it saves both patients and physicians a lot of time. Doctors can quickly transmit new prescriptions to patients’ pharmacies, reducing redundancy and minimizing the risk of errors. For example, before delivering a prescription, pharmacists can be made aware of any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions that may occur based on a patient’s diagnosis and current medication. Patients benefit too because their prescriptions are often ready to go by the time they arrive at the pharmacy.
EHRs help speed up patient visits, allowing your health organization to increase traffic and, in turn, revenue. Your professionals are able to focus more on patients and spend less time charting and documenting. This allows physicians to treat more patients on a daily basis without sacrificing the quality of care. Additionally, many patient issues can be dealt with online. Appointments that don’t require an office visit can be dealt with online and through mobile apps.
Ward off overcrowding in your waiting room with this indispensable feature. Intelligent workflows let you see how patients move through your practice in real time. Everything from clinical charting to scheduling for patients and providers is included, allowing you to assess the big picture. If bottlenecks occur, workflows can be analyzed to determine the cause of the problem. Voice-to-text technology has also improved by leaps and bounds in the last several years. In fact, many healthcare providers have been able to stop relying on medical transcription services for this very reason.
- Dynamic Scheduling
- Revenue Management
- Alerts and Notifications
- Health Analytics
- Remote Patient Monitoring
- Patient-Physician Messaging
- Insurance Verification
- Claims Management
Like most others, your health facility probably treats different patients for the same condition over and over. Many cloud-based EHRs offer specialty-specific, customizable templates prebuilt into their system. Much of the information can be automatically populated, so less manual entry is required. Another nice thing about web based EMRs and EHRs is that they can grow and adjust to fit your healthcare organization, in particular. For many smaller and/or independent organizations that are still growing, scalability is key. You want to make sure whichever vendor you choose is able to be flexible to your facility’s unique needs.
Remember too that different types of software often include specialized features that are beneficial to specific types of practices. Therefore, it is worth it to carefully consider all of the options.
Top-notch EHR software lets you generate custom reports on demand. Reports are done in real time, allowing you to quickly provide patients with reports regarding just about anything with a few clicks of the mouse. This feature is also advantageous for medical professionals, as reports can be generated and analyzed as quickly, easily and often as needed.
Web based EHR software has the ability to accommodate your increased needs as they come up without adopting new software. On-premise EHR systems aren’t as scalable since you purchase a single version of the software. Switching to a new software to accommodate your needs is both time-consuming and costly, so it’s best to choose a single software that can grow with you.
- Personal Note-Taking
- Custom/Individual Health Plans
- Color-Coded Scheduling
- Custom Templates
- Integratable Applications/Tools
Installation and Support
Traditional EHRs can be extremely costly to install, with fees adding up to tens of thousands of dollars. In contrast, web based solutions are often installed at no additional cost and do not require a licensing fee to be paid. Typically, organizations using a web based server pay a small monthly fee in comparison.
While on-premise solutions allow for complete control over security and data management, updating these systems typically requires the purchase of new software and computer equipment every few years or so. Unlike a client-server setup, cloud-based EHRs don’t require you to have your own IT team dedicated just to maintenance. In addition to saving money on IT employees, cloud-based systems often provide automatic updates to your software. With that being said, these solutions are almost always easier to update than client-server setups.
- Email and Phone Support
- Live Demos
- Implementation Services
- Data Migration
Opposed to on-premise solutions, web based EHRs data cannot be fully destroyed — at least not easily. While the security of many cloud-based solutions used to be average at best, there has since been a drastic improvement. Traditional systems always face the risk of data being stolen, destroyed, or locked up by hackers until a ransomware fee is paid. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, keep multiple backups stored in other locations, making it extremely difficult for a hacker to hit all at once. With that being said, there is still room for improvement, as there is still a slight risk when using the cloud.
Additionally, there are monetary government incentives provided for organizations that use a certified EHR. Healthcare organizations can earn anywhere in the tens of thousands of dollars simply for implementing a system and meeting meaningful use standards. These incentives, in part, are due to encouraging the use of electronic records while making sure patient information is stored safely and securely.
- HIPAA Compliant
- Encrypted Database
- Voice Recognition/Identity Verification
- Electronic Signatures
- Secure Direct Messaging
- Control User Access Levels
Top 5 Web-Based Electronic Medical Record Software
On the hunt for good EMR/EHR software? We’ve compiled a list of hundreds of cloud-based products, and came up with our top five to pass along.
CureMD EHR is, like its counterparts, a cloud-based EHR solution. It strives to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes and specialties, though it bills itself as being ideal for obstetrics, gynecology, public health, oncology and dermatology (though it’s not specifically limited to those areas of focus).
It’s a feature-rich platform that pulls no punches when it comes to functionality. Here’s just a sample of what the solution has to offer (the rest you can get from our comparison report).
- Workflow and process editor
- Outcome analysis
- Integrated EKG management system
AthenaOne was founded in 1997 to primarily serve hospitals and ambulatory networks, but has since outgrown that designation. Now it serves practices and hospitals of any size or scope, and, most importantly, specialization (up to 33).
A major selling point of athenaOne is the product’s emphasis on clinical efficiency. With a mobile app, expansive provider network, and integrations with other healthcare apps, it’s an easy choice for clinicians looking to streamline efficiency without sacrificing patient care.
Some top features include
- Advanced Scheduling
- Patient Portals
- Work Dashboards
- Billing and Claims Management
With use across the globe, EpicCare EHR is a popular healthcare solution for larger practices or hospitals. Like most applications in this class, it’s a full healthcare suite — that means it’s got tools like charting, patient portals and document security (standard), and advanced features like revenue management, telehealth and administrative tools. EpicCare’s main selling point is its emphasis on mobile healthcare. Its powerfully integrated phone and tablet applications give clinicians the ability to practice on-the-go, making it ideal for hospitals or larger clinics.
Serving over 26,000 practitioners in different areas of specialty, this product differentiates itself by being mobile-forward. Essentially it’s a cloud-based suite with a robust mobile application intended for use on-the-go, on tablets or phones, but can easily be installed on any desktop environment.
As we mentioned before, it’s classified as a suite — meaning it’s got more under the hood than just EHR and medical features. It’s also got billing, scheduling, revenue cycle management and practice management features as well.
A web-based electronic medical record software that’s used by practices that work within a plurality of specialties. Cerner offers features like patient portals, mobile apps, revenue cycle management, built-in templates and much more.
Cerner is considered a benchmark product and is one of the more popular solutions when it comes to web based electronic medical record software.
EHRs help by making patient data easier to access and manage. By digitizing health records, storage isn’t an issue and searching through your patients’ histories is quick and easy.
Additionally, cloud-based EHRs make it easier for multiple healthcare providers to collaborate. When a patient starts seeing a new provider or goes to a different facility for specialized treatment, the new provider needs their information. EHR software allows you to easily share important information in real time so the best care can be provided to the patient.
Remember, no two cloud-based EHR solutions will be exactly alike, features will vary, so it’s important to have a good understanding of which tools you will and won’t need. Many of these solutions can be geared toward a specific treatment type, so it’s crucial to make sure the solution you choose is best suited for your healthcare facility. By taking your time and carefully researching the available options, narrowing down EHR vendors becomes much more manageable. Consider checking out our Top EHR Software leaderboard to compare a variety of vendors.
Still have questions about cloud-based EHR software? Does your health facility use a web based solution? If so, what do you like/dislike about it? Let us know in the comments.