AdvancedMD is a comprehensive EHR system that offers a variety of implementation options and good value for the price. It is our best overall pick for electronic medical records systems.
AdvancedMD offers solutions for practices both large and small, with manageable pricing and regular opportunities to secure promotional deals or discounts. It is a fully integrated EHR and practice management solution that is either coupled with AdvancedMD's practice management solution or a third party. There is no option for a stand-alone EHR system. AdvancedMD's price point is about average for the industry, but many desirable features are not included in the core subscription, including a patient portal, telemedicine and e-prescribing. While these add-ons make AdvancedMD somewhat pricier than average, the system's usability and comprehensiveness make for good value per dollar.
NueMD is a highly flexible electronic medical records system that can be customized to a practice to suit any specialties and workflows. It is our pick for best EMR for specialists.
NueMD comes with templates that are usable for more than 100 different specialties. Templates can be built or customized to suit an individual provider's preferences. This versatility expands to the system, which can be configured to suit multi-specialty, multi-practice locations, and built upon and expanded as the practice scales up. That makes it a great option for a growing practice that is considering adding more specialties in the future.
Kareo is an inexpensive, effective EHR system that eliminates the bells and whistles in favor of a well-rounded, competent set of core functions. It is our pick for best EMR system for small practices.
Kareo's highlights include an easy-to-use interface that can be learned quickly, and a rapid implementation period that can have users charting on the first day and finalizing billing and e-prescribing in a few weeks. Both features are desirable for any medical practice, but especially for a small practice on a tight budget.
Electronic health records (EHRs) represent the healthcare industry's shift from analog to digital, but it hasn't been an easy road. Finding an easy-to-use EHR that works well with minimal disruption to day-to-day operations is the goal, but this is easier said than done.
There are many factors to consider in an EHR. Naturally, price and ease of use are major considerations, but these sprawling systems go well beyond that. How the system is implemented and what type of training and support your team receives is key, as is the system's interoperability with other types of software used by hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and other practices. Whether or not a system can help you meet the Meaningful Use standards set by the government could determine whether you incur Medicare reimbursement penalties. How a system codes diagnoses could impact billing. There's a host of potential pitfalls, and only one thing needs to go wrong to create an EHR nightmare.
That said, EHRs can be powerful tools for healthcare providers. They share information seamlessly, allowing a patient's health records to follow them through every point of care. They create a unified, lasting record that patients can access remotely and providers can leverage to deliver better care. Here's a look at the EHR industry today, along with reviews of some EHR systems currently on the market.
Electronic Health Records vs. Electronic Medical Records
There is technically a difference between electronic medical records (EMRs), which are essentially just digitized paper charts for a single practice, and EHR systems. For one, EHRs not only replace paper charts, but can also streamline critical functions like billing, ordering prescriptions and tests, managing your practice, and communicating with your patients.
The advantage of an EHR system is that everything appears in one place, from a patient's entire medical history to the logistical aspects of running your practice. Even better, EHR systems allow providers at all points of care to communicate with one another electronically. So, if a patient visits the hospital on Saturday, their general practitioner will know exactly what happened on Monday. Physicians and staff can use an EHR system to deliver more effective treatment and create more comprehensive health records that circulate across every point of care. However, members of the industry often use the terms "EMR" and "her" interchangeably, and so for the ease of our readers, we've chosen to use them interchangeably as well.
Pricing can vary widely for EMR systems, not only between different vendors, but even between two systems from the same vendor. Many EMR systems are customizable and can adapt to specific workflows. Moreover, EMRs often include optional modules, including billing and practice management. Sometimes you can integrate these modules at an additional cost. In our reviews, we looked only at the cost of an EMR module with no add-ons, unless an integrated practice management system was included by default.
What we found was that most EMR systems are priced per provider, per month. Some vendors require an upfront licensing fee, while others do not. Many also include implementation or training fees of some kind, as well as options to pay more for additional modules. A few EMR options offer a one-time cost, but this pricing model is uncommon.
Prices tend to fluctuate greatly, depending on the scope and breadth of the system. For example, Kareo, our best pick for small practices, offers a stand-alone EMR service priced at $150 per provider per month. There are additional fees for customer support, clearinghouse fees, electronic statements and more. Other solutions run at a higher rate, like General Electric's Centricity EHR, which starts at $635 per provider per month for one doctor and two non-physician users. This pricing is subject to change based on the size of your practice and your specific needs.
When negotiating an EHR, it's important to go into the conversation understanding your team's specific needs and how you expect the system to integrate with your workflow. This will help you avoid purchasing unnecessary components of a larger suite, which a vendor is likely to try to sell you on. By having a clear checklist of features and how you anticipate using them, you can guide the rep through your process, rather than being taken into theirs.
The EHR space is filled with uncertainty and inconsistency, due to the crowded field and nature of the solutions. That means you're going to want to kick the tires of a range of solutions, ask tough questions, and seek second, third and fourth opinions. Here are some of the biggest things to keep in mind when choosing an EHR system, and some red flags to look out for:
What is the implementation process like? Will it take a long time and disrupt operations?
Does the vendor offer training to your team? How long does the training last? Is it included, or does it come at an added cost?
What sort of continuing support is there following implementation and launch? Does that cost extra, or is it included?
How reliable is the system? What is the percentage of total uptime that you can reasonably expect?
What software can the system interface with? Be sure to know what systems your local labs, hospitals and pharmacies use, because your EHR will need to interface with those regularly.
What is the patient portal like? Is it user-friendly and easy to understand? What information can your patients access?
Try to find customer reviews, or contact other users of the EHR in your area to find out about their experience from start to finish.
Because EHRs are sprawling systems, you could ask a million questions about each one. Take a look at our reviews for some more in-depth information about how to choose a system, but be sure to consider your team's needs and preferences in all things. Consulting the people who will have to use the EHR every day is the best way to ensure the least painful transition to a new EHR system.
To determine our best picks for EHRs, we reviewed a list of more than 40 vendors. We examined their websites, marketing materials, user reviews and Better Business Bureau scores to narrow our initial list down.
After this initial round, we were left with 15 finalists, which we reviewed in depth to determine the very best. We evaluated our finalists on the following criteria:
Ease of use
Practice management integrations
Meaningful Use Stage III
Free trial or demo experience
To gather information and assess the quality of each best pick's customer service, we called each company and identified ourselves as working for a small medical practice that would open soon.
To estimate the cost of each system – which varies widely depending on what is included, what optional features are available and the size of a practice – we consistently stated to sales representatives that we would opt for cloud hosting and integrated practice management for a practice of five providers. We based our estimates on pricing we were given for those parameters.
Electronic medical record software helps you improve your office management and patient interactions. Read all our reviews to find the best one for your practice.
The EMR industry is a rapidly growing one. It surpassed $20 billion in value in 2016 and is projected to continue its growth unabated through 2025. While both client-server EMR and web-based segments of the industry are growing, the software as a service (SaaS) model is far outpacing the growth of the on-premises option.
IBISWorld anticipates continued growth, driven by late EMR adopters that are now feeling the squeeze of government-mandated Medicare penalties. That expectation is supported by Allied Market Research, which estimates the EMR industry will be worth $33.29 billion by 2023. Factors that push back against industry growth include concerns surrounding patient data security and high system costs, but those drags are outweighed by ongoing adoption and growth in patient populations.
EMRs are implemented in a lot of different places throughout the healthcare ecosystem, including hospitals, labs and practices. The practice-based ambulatory EMRs are growing most quickly at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6 percent. Currently, North America represents about half of the global market, but the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow the most quickly at 6.5 percent compound annual growth rate.