Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records

The Obama administration enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 as part of an initiative to increase public spending and generate meaningful economic activity. Under HITECH, the government envisaged expenditure of close to $36 billion to create a system for managing health records on a national scale.

HITECH carried with itself both incentives and fines. These really pushed the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR)software solutions. Read more.


Compare EHR/EMR Solution Providers

AdvancedMD

Freedom to Care

Charting is Customized to Your Workflow

Role-based Views & Preferences

Create Custom Health Plans

Average rating

3.7

AllegianceMD

The Most Inclusive EHR and PM Software

Very Rich Graphic User Interface

Unlimited Document Upload

Voice and Handwritting Recognition

Average rating

4.4

Allscripts

Build on the power of Allscripts

Robust Specialty Content

Connected to 50,000 Pharmacies

Open and Interoperable

Average rating

2.7

Amazing Charts

The EHR Rated #1 for Usability

Automated Appointment Reminders

Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Scheduling

Easily Query Your Database

Average rating

2.7

Aprima

Making It Easier to Practice Medicine

Flexible, Web-Based Training Sessions

Speech Recognition and Dictation

Credit Card Processing

Average rating

2.9

athenaClinicals

Beyond the Traditional EMR

Low Start-Up Costs

Automate Orders for Specific Diagnosis

Meaningful Use & Quality Programs

Average rating

3.2

Care360

Easy and Efficient

Multi-System Interoperability

Clinical Documentation Tools

Customizable Templates

Average rating

4.1

CareCloud Charts

An EHR You'll Love to Use

Real Time Patient Workflows

Rapid Charting Capabilities

Intelligent Task Management

Average rating

3.9

Cerner

Excellence Never Sleeps

Real-Time Access to Patient Results

Meet Requirements for Confidentiality

Store, Capture, and Access Patient Info

Not Yet Rated

CureMD

Practice Without Boundaries

Timely Certifications

E&M Coding

Patient Portal and Education

Average rating

4.1

e-MDs

Award-Winning EHR Designed for You

Clinician Friendly Medical Documentation

Intelligent Order Entry

Role-Based Dashboards

Average rating

2.6

eClinicalWorks

Improving Healthcare Together

ICD-10 Search

Easy to Send and Receive Information

Access Clinical Content

Average rating

3.4

Epic

Fast and Physician-Friendly

Acute Care and Ambulatory EMR

72% of Stage 7 U.S. Hospitals use Epic

71% of Children's Hospitals use Epic

Average rating

4.4

First Insight

Make Your Practice Perfect

For ophthalmologists and optometrists

Built-in PQRS data verification

Compliant “two-way” e-Prescribing

Not Yet Rated

GE Healthcare

Imagination at Work

Simple, intuitive interface

At-a-glance view of everything needed

One-click problem entry and search

Not Yet Rated

Greenway Health

Quality care is customized care

Single sign-on for both EHR and PM

Specialty-specific clinical templates

Integrated speech-to-text

Average rating

3.2

iSalus

EHR designed with You in mind.

Simplistic E-Prescribing

Patient Timeline & Vitals Analysis

Certified as a Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Average rating

4.2

Kareo

Go Practice

Fast, free, and easy to sign up

Flexible enough to fit into any workflow

Doctor-designed and approved

Average rating

4.3

McKesson

Empowering Healthcare

Automated electronic encounter form

Bright Note Technology™ for chart entry

Built-in protocols & reminders

Average rating

2.7

MedicsDocAssistant

Advanced Technology. Simple Solutions.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Certified

Medics FlowText voice-to-text

Specialty-specific templates & workflows

Not Yet Rated

Meditab

Meet future healthcare needs today.

Flexible templates for 30+ specialties

Developed by practicing physicians

Complete patient care from anywhere

Not Yet Rated

MediTouch

Trusted by Doctors since 1998

Fast, mobile charting

Pre-loaded specialty-specific templates

Built-in eligibility verification

Average rating

4.3

MicroMD

An EMR That Truly Supports Your Practice

Secure patient messaging

Simplified detailed code searches

Handwriting and voice recognition

Average rating

1.8

Nextech

Your practice is our specialty

PC and iPad compatible

Bi-directional lab integrations

Pre and post treatment photo management

Average rating

4.2

Nextgen

An EHR that lets you focus on care

More than 85,000 providers

Offline charting with PatientSync

Content for more than 27 specialties

Average rating

2.6

NueMD

None

None

None

None

Average rating

4.4

Optum

Changing health care from the inside out

24/7 refill requests processing

Monitor all clinical messages

One-click chart summaries

Not Yet Rated

Practice Fusion

The #1 cloud-based EHR for doctors

Charting in minutes on any devices

Manage refills with just two-clicks

E-prescribing of controlled substances

Average rating

3.7

Praxis EMR

The Template-Free EMR

Gets faster and smarter as you use it

Charting at the speed of your mind

Use free text written in any language

Average rating

4.9

Raintree

Solving Real Problems for Real People

Manage schedules seamlessly

Accurately captures applicable charges

Automatically populate billing codes

Not Yet Rated

SOAPware

#1 in Quality of Care!

Schedule across multiple facilities

Built-in intelligent E&M coding wizard

Import results from medical devices

Average rating

4.1

Source Medical

#1 provider of ACS & Therapy software

Standard SOAP note format

Extensive reporting features

Real-time scheduling & conflict checking

Not Yet Rated

SRSsoft

Productivity Redefined

All apps in one seamless user interface

Ensure data integrity from all sources

Reduced clicks to increase productivity

Average rating

3.9

WRS Health

Take Your Practice to a New Level

EMR charting at the speed of thought

500+ specialty-specific note formats

Variety of data input methods

Average rating

4.6


EHR/EMR Software Buyer's Guide

Just a few years ago, EMR and EHR were considered to be different types of medical records. EMR was referred to records of a specific instance of illness (say appendicitis) while EHR referred to longer duration records concerning the overall health of an individual. This distinction is now slowly going away and EHR is becoming the dominant data type.

Compliance with the HITECH Act requires medical practices to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs. This implies e-prescribing, data sharing and demonstrable proof that a practice’s use of EHRs has resulted in improvement in patient care. There are strict requirements to ensure privacy of patient data and prevention of unauthorized disclosure.

While in theory a medical practice can implement only limited functionality and stay compliant with the law, vendors found that once electronic records were being maintained, they could be used very fruitfully to make practices far more efficient.

Benefits of EMR/EHR

Studies show that a small practice of just five physicians and associated staff can achieve the following benefits from their EHR implementation:

Nearly half a million in additional revenue per practitioner annually is a big incentive for getting the EHR implementation right.

Getting Ready for an EHR Solution

As you decide to evaluate and license an EMR/EHR system, answers to the questions listed below could prove important:

Selecting the Right Features

Broadly, there are eight different feature groups for any EHR system. Once you’ve defined your needs, you can select those that are important to your practice. These groups are:

The features of each of the above subgroup are listed in succeeding paragraphs.  Notice that billing and practice management do not form part of basic EHR modules although they can be linked and can sometimes be offered in the same package.  

Web portal

This is a website created by the EHR solution. It performs actions similar to what the practice’s reception would do. The portal offers two versions, customized for practitioners on one side, ad patients on the other side. The web portal automates and streamlines repetitive tasks and save patient data in a standardized format, which saves everyone a lot of time. Some essential features to look out for are:

Records of Physician / Patient interaction

This group relates to the documentation of patient interaction and overall health

E-Prescription Functions

Physician Support Modules

Data Lifecycle Management and System Administration

Support Mobile Phones and Tablets

Security and Compliance Modules

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

This is not a mandatory requirement under HITECH but proper implementation of PQRS helps practices gain 2.5% in their Medicare reimbursements. They avoid a 2% penalty and get 0.5% extra initiatives. When shortlisting EHR systems, ask vendors how they have implemented PQRS.

Quality of User Interface

If there is one thing practicing physicians are concerned about, it is data entry. Most practitioners are worried that they will waste valuable time entering patient data into the system. This is a genuine concern. Most modern EHR provide automatic transcription of notes, and sometimes voice recognition modules that populate data fields in-real time during the visit

Deployment

When it comes to hosting the solution, there are two options: on-premises or in the cloud. Pricing usually depends on the number and type of users.

There are several advantages of running the solution in the cloud. The primary ones are:

However, do remember that once you commit to a cloud-based solution, you are dependent on Internet connectivity to access your solution; you will need to build in some redundancy for the Internet connection to your practice. Also, there are issues of control over your data. You will need to see the vendor’s policy statement about how they will assist you move your data out in case you choose to end your contract with them and move to another vendor.

Buying a solution outright frees you from the rental and data ownership issues and may make sense if your practice is very large. However, you must be prepared for high initial costs, qualified manpower requirements, backup and security issues, compliance and upgrades, etc.

In today’s environment, it often makes more sense to go in for a cloud based solution unless you have some very specific requirements or you are looking for very large scale deployment.

Conclusion

All medical practices will eventually migrate to EMR / EHR solutions. Doing so will take them to better standards of patient care, greater savings, better compliance, and improved overall efficiency.

During the selection process, it is important to assess whether the solution is easy to use in your own practice environment. This single factor can have a big impact on adoption and whether your implementation is a success or not.

In many cases, it makes sense to choose a cloud-based solution that costs much less upfront and can be set up with the least amount of effort. Even small practices with no technically qualified staff can implement a cloud EHR.