AMS Ultra Charts software (opens in new tab) comes to us from American Medical Software, which has over 35 years of experience in the medical software segment, and is based in Edwardsville, Illinois. It focuses on dependable software, affordable pricing, and technical support that is 100% based. In addition to this EMR software (opens in new tab), it also offers solutions for medical billing (opens in new tab), scheduling, and portal.
AMS Ultra Charts: Features
AMS Ultra Charts is designed to keep all of a practice’s patient information organized, and in a single location. While it can be used alone as a pure EMR, it is really designed to be used with the other software modules, such as for billing or the patient portal.
One feature of Ultra Charts is to improve the documentation, with a focus on avoiding losing revenue due to incorrect coding, also known as downcoding. Ultra Charts deals with this via the E&M Coding Assistant, that vigilantly monitors for this, and can ensure that the documentation and billing is accurate so that the clinician bills fully for the services provided. There is also a function for medication history and tracking.
There are also plenty of the other features that leverage the power of computers and automation, such as referral letters, and automatic task reminders. There are also specialty specific items, including growth charts that will be useful to pediatric practices for younger patients. Vaccine and immunization schedules can also be uploaded and tracked. There is support for patient information to be provided via hyperlink to enhance education for specific diseases.
There are also paperless office functions as well. For example, faxing is also included, with an electronic incoming fax queue. Furthermore, images and documents, such as insurance cards can also be scanned, and imported as well.
The AMS Ultra Charts technically does have a patient portal, well, sort of. To be technical, it is not included, and rather requires an additional software solution, enter AMS Ultra Portal. However, we are frustrated that we have no pricing on the additional cost of the patient portal making it hard to judge the value of this offering.
This Ultra Portal offers the function of allowing patients to complete forms, such as intake forms for a consult- in a secure environment. Also, they can request prescription refills, and make appointments. Finally, this portal can serve as a secure messaging platform when a patient needs to directly contact their provider, or practice staff, and it can also work to get in touch with a patient as well.
A pretty significant shortcoming is the lack of a mobile app for this Ultra Charts software. We went through the AMS website, including their knowledge center, and also both the Apple and Google app stores, but did not find anything.
This is a miss, as most of the competition has available apps, not only for a mobile clinician, but also for front office check in via an iPad to digitize patient demographics and forms right from the start. Furthermore, it is a tough sell to clinicians to not have a mobile app, as it has become a ‘Must have’ for taking call when the office is closed to have access to all the records easily via the smartphone that the doctor always has with them.
AMS Ultra Charts: Support
We went through the support options, and came up with a phone number, with 100% US based support, but did not find the hours or days of operation, other than the technical updates going out 24/7. We also found some venerable support options of a fax, and a snail mail address, but would have preferred to see some more modern options, such as a support portal, an email address, or a chat box, none of which we found.
Self help is often where an EHR makes up for this, but this fell short. We did find a blog, some testimonial videos, and also there is a periodic eNewsletter as well. We did not find a searchable knowledge bank of articles, nor product videos, white papers and ebooks that we would have liked to see.
AMS Ultra Charts: Pricing
In what is way too common in this area, the pricing for this product is opaque. Rather, a phone number is provided to sales for the custom quote. While each deployment needs to be specialized, for a company that wants to be affordable we would appreciate some suggestion of pricing for a common deployment, such as a solo practitioner, with the idea of the cost of a second practitioner to the group. However, all AMS indicates is that it costs $7 to create a new paper chart, and $5 to pull a chart, and that a practice can save money paperless. Googling around only netted us that the software is sold as a subscription, so without a dollar amount, it is hard to quantify the potential savings.
Finally, we did not find any suggestion that there is a free tier, or free trial.
AMS Ultra Charts: Final verdict
This EMR, AMS Ultra Charts is one that is hard to like. We can appreciate the available patient portal, the direct phone support and the integrated coding assistance. However, in some other areas, we are less impressed with the opaque pricing, the lack of a free trial, that there are no smartphone apps, and that the patient portal requires an additional software package to implement. While some providers may find Ultra Charts adequate for their needs. Our concern is that growing practices can potentially outgrow it pretty quickly given these limitations.