The best Electronic Health Records software makes it simple and easy to manage patient care in a health practice, from working with patient records, to 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- going this unified route then puts all of these act into a single location.
An EHR (Electronic Health Record) should not be confused with EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software, as they sound pretty close. However, they are not the same, as an EHR is a more broad-based platform for dealing with all aspects of administering patient logistics such as e-prescribing and lab ordering, while an EMR is more focused on a digital version of a medical chart. We should also realize that there is definitely some crossover between the two, with most EHR software having at least some EMR capabilities built-in, and EMR software that adds features that are more management aspects more typically found in EHR.
In any case, much care should be taken to ensure that the EHR software you select properly covers your needs, both for today, and also can grow with you into the future. IT sprawl is best avoided, especially where the EHR is unable to deliver on its promises, or is otherwise too complex for staff to use, and also additional training to remain current.
Therefore we'll explore the best Electronic Health Records software below, and even go further to provide pointers on how it might better suit different health practices, not least in terms of scope, size, training, and available specializations.
We've compared these Electronic Health Records software across multiple points, from their interface and ease of use to their pricing plans and accessibility. Additionally, we evaluated their learning curve, templates, integrations, and many other features.
We've also highlighted the best medical practice management software.
The best Electronic Health Records software of 2023 in full:
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The SimplePractice EMR offers a powerful package, complete with mobile apps and upfront pricing. SimplePractice does not try to be everything to all, but rather focuses on offering a rounded feature set well suited especially to behavioral practice models.
We like the pluses such as transparent pricing, the choice of tiers, the integrated telehealth, and the app support. There are some minuses, including the highest tier required to have more than a single practitioner, the single direct support option, and that some medical specialists will not find this EMR focused at all on their needs.
Overall, balancing the two, it is hard to argue with a free 30-day trial, making this a viable option to see if SimplePractice works for your practice’s needs.
Read our full SimplePractice review.
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. It was built by physicians, for physicians.
There are two main versions available, with a choice of an on premises deployment with your own server, or a cloud-based platform available which ensures that patient records are stored securely with regards to HIPAA compliance.
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 which includes the Practice Management System, and the Revenue Cycle Management, both from iPatientCare.
There are various certifications for eCQMs, Meaningful Use, MIPs, and reporting for Medicaid Meaningful Performance.
Overall, iPatientCare EHR 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. Also note that currently, iPatientCare is in a transition over to AssureCare.
Read our full iPatientCare EHR review.
Kareo Clinical is purposely built for small independent practices of up to 10 providers, rather than the more complex needs of 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 as there is no software to install, and the cloud-based interface is simple to use as it was designed by healthcare providers. This immediately reduces the need for training. Kareo Clinical invests in the success of each deployment via a dedicated ‘Success Coach’ will provide anyway as part of the package and without any additional charge extra for.
The dashboard provides easy access for licensed 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 smart phone, and there's even a HIPAA compliant video-conferencing option built-in.
Kareo Clinical 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. It also integrates with other offerings from the company, such as Kareo Billing, and Kareo Engage for patient engagement.
Read our full Kareo review.
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 to be filled in for the check-in process. Clinicians will also benefit from integrated order sets, configurable templates, and flexible charting options.
One of the biggest selling points is that CareCloud Charts gets 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 offers training in optimizing the system for better cost and efficiency savings.
Additionally, CareCloud's EHR also integrates with the company's general practice management system, CareCloud Central, which allows for a single clinical, administrative, and finance platform to work with. This also can then integrate in features such as telehealth, and patient experience management.
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.
Read our full CareCloud review.
Advanced Data Systems Corporation offers an EHR product that's entirely browser based, which makes it accessible for use on any platform, including mobile devices. This means that if you use iPads for the office you'll have no problem with cross-platform issues, and similarly applies for the patient portal to allow patients to check in on their smart phone.
However, while ADSC EHR 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 throughout, as well as a hand-writing recognition for notations and signatures. When combined with Dragon Medical One, the clinician can insert data into the medical record by eliminating clicks for cursor placements. It can also report on MACRA, MIPS, and APMs according to the most recent changes to the law regarding Medicare.
As an EHR platform, ADSC manages to mix comprehensive features as well as more advanced options in a general interface that is very user-friendly and simple to use. We also note the integrated analytics, that can create dynamic reports, and predictive analytics.
AdvancedMD EHR 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, as it is hard to do everything well. While it should be easy to find your way through the basics, we did not find that to be the case. Rather, 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 a lower volume practice.
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. That may explain the opaque pricing with contact required for a quote. 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.
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:
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. It can also work with the AMS scheduling, and billing solutions.
Epic EMR is aimed more specifically at hospitals where different specialist needs may need access to patient records, along with nurses, respiratory therapists and other personnel. 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 such as hospital medical centers, users may require help setting it up to configure it to a facility'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. It can also assist with challenging activities such as court mandated reporting, and drug testing.
WebPT EMR is a wide-ranging platform for records, notes, billing, and communications, which is specifically built for physical 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. It is designed to be scalable, and focuses on the outpatient physical therapy business.
We've also rated the best medical billing services.
What is an Electronic Health Records software?
Electronic Health Records software (EHR) is a digital tool that holds all the details of a patient's medical paper chart. This includes clinically essential data, like the diagnoses, clinician notes, medications, treatment, lab and test results.
Along with digitizing paper charts, EHRs are swift, secure, and highly efficient at optimizing a healthcare provider's workflow. They streamline various functions, including billing and communication as they can include a telehealth platform, and patient portal.
How to choose the best Electronic Health Records software for you?
When selecting the best Electronic Health Records software for your practice, you'll want to start with assessing your budget. EHR software varies from a few hundred dollars per month to thousands of dollars, and you'll want to select one that meets all your needs without draining your pocket.
It's crucial to pick an EHR software that's easy to use and easy to learn, for everyone from the physicians to the front office staff. If it takes too long to master, or if it isn't intuitive, then your workflow will likely become less efficient.
You'll want to consider whether the software is cloud-based or not. A cloud-hosted EHR software will run smoothly on your computers via a browser without the need for additional technical resources. The other benefit is that software upgrades get done by the provider in the background.
Look out for the templates and integrations the tool offers, along with the quality of customer support.
The best Electronic Health Records software: How we test
We've tested these Electronic Health Records software across various aspects, from their ease of use and learning curve to their templates and integrations. We looked at the quality of customer support, cloud hosting options, security features, and the cost of training.
Cross-platform accessibility greatly adds to convenience, so we evaluated that and checked whether it was browser-based and accessible through smartphones and tablets. We also considered their pricing plans and whether the plans were flexible to accommodate a variety of needs.
Read more on how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.