EHR (Electronic Health Record) software helps with the management of every aspect of patient care in a health practice, from general logistics to working with patient records, prescriptions, and billing. Additionally, EHR software can provide a portal for direct communications with patients, so that they can book appointments, view test results, and fill in necessary forms.
EHR (Electronic Health Record) should not be confused with EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software, as EHR is a more broad-based platform for dealing with all aspects of administrating patient logistics, while EMR is more focused on the user of patient records directly. However, there is some cross-over between the two, with some EHR software having EMR capabilities built-in, and EMR software having management aspects normally found in EHR. Either way, digital demands will likely see even more cross-over as patient services increase both in scope and ability to integrate with other software packages.
However, there is always the danger of buying into an unsuitable EHR package, and care must be taken to ensure that the one you select actually covers your needs. IT sprawl is best avoided, especially where the EHR is unable to deliver on its promises, or is otherwise too complex for staff training to keep up with.
Therefore we'll list the best in EHR software below, but even better, will provide pointers on how it might better suit different health practices, not least in terms of scope, size, training, and available specializations, for taking your business into 2020.
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Best EHR software - at a glance
- CareCloud Charts
- Medics Suite
AdvancedMD offers a full-featured and comprehensive EHR software platform, which comes with an easy to use interface. It offers multiple templates, and integration options for hospital, lab, and pharmacy systems. This makes it easier to send information between different institutions involved with patient care. Where no template or integration exists, AdvancedMD can set these up as required.
As to be expected, though, as AdvancedMD is so big it can be difficult to get to grips with all of its functions. While it should be easy to find your way through the basics, there are just so many different options and levels that staff training to use it will become a necessity. While potential customers of AdvancedMD would necessarily expect to pay for using the software, usually there's an initial set up and training fee as well, which varies according to how much direct training is required, and how much will be done via online seminars.
On the positive side, though, AdvancedMD is one of the few EHR's to offer per-encounter pricing. While there is a minimum cost level, this still means that a payment plan based on this could prove more economical than a flat-rate subscription, especially for smaller practices.
However, because AdvancedMD is so comprehensive, this remains one of the more costly EHR software options we'll look at, especially when training needs are factored in as well. Even still, their recent acquisition of NueMD EHR means that an additional range of specialist templates should now be available.
Overall, a powerful piece of kit that covers almost every base, but comes with a price tag to justify that.
Kareo is purposely built for small independent practices rather than sprawling medical centers and hospitals, which means you don't need to worry about paying for features and options you'll never need to use.
Deployment is easy and the cloud-based interface is simple to use. This immediately reduces the need for training, which Kareo will provide anyway as part of the package and without charging extra for.
The dashboard provides easy access for licenced users to patient appointments and records as required, along with billing and sales, and built-in analytics. There's also a patient portal which is optimized for mobile devices, so patients can easily check their appointment or prescription details from their cell phone, and there's even a video-conferencing option built-in.
Kareo also offers one of the cheapest rates among the EHR providers here, yet it doesn't demand a contract term to try or use its services, making it an inviting platform for a small practice to try.
Overall, Kareo aims for a specific market niche and by all accounts does a very good job of doing so, finding a way to balance practical needs and cost into a package that works all round.
Read the full review: Kareo
CareCloud Charts offers a very simple and easy to use EHR that aims to provide clinical reporting and patient care tools for all sizes of practice. It provides patient information in real-time via its dashboard, with flexible reporting options and customizable templates. There's also a patient portal that allows relevant forms and checking in to be filled in.
One of the biggest selling points is that CareCloud Charts is priced according to the level of support required. While smaller or experienced teams may require little, due to the ease of use of the interface, there's a higher pricing tier in which CareCloud offer training in optimizing the system for better cost and efficiency savings.
Additionally, CareCloud's EHR also integrates with the company's general practice management syste, CareCloud Central, which allows for a single clinical, administrative, and finance platform to work with.
Overall, CareCloud Charts is a good middle-of-the-road solution that aims for a good balance between providing a wide range of services across the health sector, while being able to accommodate the needs of both small practices and enterprises.
iPatientCare EHR provides a customer-centric software that comes with a number of workflow customizations to make it easier to work for your practice, regardless of size or location.
There are two main versions available, with a cloud-based platform available which ensures that patient records are stored securely with regards to HIPAA compliance. However, if you'd prefer to use your own servers there's an on-premises version available.
There are hundreds of adapters available which allows the software to connect with labs, pharmacies, and various registries, as well as integration options such as for practice management systems. Of course, it also works with the iPatientCare portal and other software systems.
There are various certifications for eCQMs, Meaningful Use, MIPs, and reporting for Medicaid Meaningful Performance.
Overall, iPatientCare aims to make its software relatively simple and easy to use, while providing all the information needed to manage patient health records, and except for a few minor niggles it does exactly that.
Medics Suite from Advanced Data Systems Corporation offers an EHR product that's entirely browser based, which makes it especially accessible for use on mobile devices. This means that if you use iPads for the office you'll have no problem with cross-platform issues, and similar applies for the patient portal to allow patients to check in on their cell phone.
However, while it is a cloud-based mobile application, it still offers a comprehensive range of EHR services that you'd expect in the market. Even better, aside from a range of templates for different specializations, it also offers a tool called FlowText which provides voice-navigation tool throughout Medics Suite, as well as a hand-writing recognition for notations and signatures. It can also report on MACRA, MIPS, and APMs according to the most recent changes to the law regarding Medicare.
As an EHR platform, Medics Suite manages to mix comprehensive features as well as more advanced options in a general interface that is very user-friendly and simple to use.
More EHR software platform solutions
The distinction between EHR and EMR software has become increasingly blurred to the point that the terms have become effectively interchangeable. While some medical software services promote themselves as EHR, others do so as EMR, even if many if not most of their features are actually the same. Therefore we'll expand this feature with software that promotes itself as EMR, but could easily feature among the best in EHR software:
Centricity by Virence Health provides a comprehensive software platform for dealing with patient records. There are various modules that can be used to handle simple and complex tasks as required, and it forms part of a wider integrated medical software platform so you can easily add to it to cover all your practice needs, as required.
AMS Ultra Charts is built to make it easier to manage patient records, appointments, prescriptions, and billing. It also includes a patient portal for communications, making it a comprehensive software platform to work with. Customized templates can also be set up to make the system more configurable and customized to practice needs.
Epic EMR is aimed more specifically at hospitals where different specialist needs may need access to patient records. This allows for workflows for patient care, which extends into specialty and ancillary care where required. However, because it's built for particularly big setups users may require help setting it up a way more configured to the hospital's needs.
inSync EMR is a particularly flexible platform that aims to cover as many different medical practice needs as possible, which is both a positive and negative. With records, billing, and patient portal included, it can be customized very specifically to individual practice needs, but this can come at the price of making the software look a little overwhelming at first.
WebPT EMR is a wide-ranging platform for records, notes, billing, and communications, which is specifically built for therapists. It's built with practice users especially in mind so it aims to be less complicated than some other EHR/EMR platforms out there, while still being able to deliver on practice needs.