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Last updated: Jan 09, 2017
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A Buyer's Guide to Medical, EMR & EHR SolutionsEHR/EMR Software Buyer’s Guide
Is your EHR solution ONC-ATCB certified? This question is intended to both the software solution provider and the medical institution that is already using an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. ONC-ATCB stands for “Office of the National Coordinator-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies” and it is a law that mandates healthcare providers to make “meaningful use” of “certified” EHR systems. If you’re a physician, you have to ensure that the EHR system that you or your organization is using shall be ONC-ATCB certified by 2015. And if you’re planning to purchase EHR solution anytime from now, consider choosing an ONC-ATCB certified EHR system.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) both refers to a system that collects, stores and manages health or medical information of an individual patient. The main difference is that the use of EMR is exclusive only to a single organization while EHR is open for use across different organizations. While there are other distinctions between the two, using EHR or EMR interchangeably on different contexts is just fine. What’s more important is that for a future solution buyer like you, choosing the right EHR/EMR solution should always be your top consideration. So in this Buyer’s Guide, we from ITQlick.com would like you to become more familiar with a system that would keep your patient’s data accurate, readily accessible, and could help promote the overall organization of your medical practice.
EHR/EMR solutions cover almost all types of medical practice. Having mentioned the main differences earlier, if you’re a first time buyer, probably the initial question that will pop out on your mind is: is it EHR, EMR or both? The right answer to this is to buy only one solution that is just right for your organization. In that respect, let’s further clarify EHR and EMR in relation to the medical practice and size of the organization that will use it.
EHR can contain comprehensive details of a patient’s health information because data are usually coming from different sources or medical systems. Perhaps, a hospital providing healthcare services to more than a thousand patients each month shall invest on EHR solution. One of the advantages in using EHR systems is that they can be integrated with larger Medical systems.
EMR is designed to contain specific-only records of a medical patient. Specialists working in their private clinics or physicians in large hospitals taking care of unique health problems are advisable to use EMR. EMR solution can also be called as a “specialty-specific” system.
At large, we can consider EHR and EMR as two different types of medical software solutions. Both solutions offer the following benefits:
- Improve the documentation process
- Improve the quality of healthcare
- Improve security of patient’s information
- Reduce the documentation expenses
- Reduce the time spent on activities while increase time spent on patients
- Improve the customer service efficiency
- Increase the overall collections
Similar to the advancements going on in medical devices, improvements on the features offered by EHR and EMR solutions are also happening at a faster speed. In a sense, a digital record of the different types of diseases being discovered in the past few years among patients can help doctors and specialists of the future in conducting in-depth laboratory testing and analysis with the main objective of finding the better cure. Therefore, sophisticated EHR/EMR features of today play very important roles on the success of those activities. In this section, we will provide to you the basic and advanced features of modern EHR/EMR solutions that can serve as your guide in choosing the right solution.
- Patient Reminders
- Image and Document Management
- Patient Education
- Optimize Scheduling
- Streamline Check-in/out
- Manage Patient Care
- Customize view of patient info
- Track patient health over time and across visits
- Analyze, monitor and quantify population health
- Engage with patients online
- Synchronize and coordinate staff communication
- Computer Based Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
- Role-based security
- Evidence-Based Medicine
- Medics Portal
- Encounter-based model
- Meaningful Use and ICD-10 Compliant
- Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)
- Create custom health plans
- Medical Billing Solutions
Solutions per Business Size, per Vendor
There is a wide array of EHR/EMR solutions provider in the market today. While many of them are offering solutions that can be customized to suit the specific needs of an organization, majority of them are offering solutions that are ready for immediate deployment and use. Below are the categories that you are about to encounter during your vendor selection process.
By Deployment Model
This is the pay-as-you-go solution. There is no need to install any software program. Since most cloud-based solutions are web-based, you can instantly access and use the EHR/EMR application using your tablet, mobile phone, laptop or desktop. Offered as subscription-based package, cloud-based solutions are best suited for small practices and specialists.
This solution will require you to pay for a one-time software license fee. This is applicable to organizations in the mid-sized to large practices. Unlike the cloud-based type, on-premise solutions need software installation at the client’s server network. On-premise solution offers broader customization and configuration capabilities compared to cloud-based.
By Application Type
This solution is often offered as a core module of much larger and complex medical systems. Such solution encompasses practice management and medical billing and invoicing and therefore can be considered as complete solution for large organizations. Majority of on-premise solutions are integrated Suite types.
EMR or EHR solutions are stand-alone packages on their own. These packages are also referred to as best-of breed solutions since they are only focused on a specific function of the medical practice. Most cloud-based solutions are best-of-breed types.
The market is currently a mix of all these four types of EHR/EMR solutions. Although it is quite challenging for us to provide you a list of vendors based on these groups, we can however recommend to you these comprehensive lists where you can further extend your search for the right solution.
Top Market Players (mostly offers integrated suite)
- Epic Systems Corporation
- eClinical Works
- NextGen HealthCare
- GE Healthcare
- Practice Fusion
- Greenway Medical Technologies
- Vitera Healthcare Solutions
New Entrants/Players (mostly offers best-of-breed)
- Advanced EMR MD
- Waiting Room Solutions
- Acrendo Software
An EHR/EMR software solution can significantly reach $50,000 in total cost during the first year of use alone. Cloud-based solutions are usually offered at lower cost compared to on-premise types. And considering the features, best-of-breed solutions are way much affordable than the integrated suite types. However, as a medical practitioner who does not want to risk your profession over a low-cost system, it is advisable that you conduct your own pricing-versus-features analysis. Here are ITQlick.com’s “getting the right solution at the right price” helpful tips.
- Starting your comparative price analysis with cloud-based solutions can save your time and energy. Many of today’s cloud-based solution, specifically the Software-as-as-Service model, are significantly rich in features while the cost is considerably lower than any other deployment models. Cloud-based price ranges from $1 to $500 per user per month while on-premise type ranges from $1,000 to $60,000 (already included are the cost of software, server, training and support) per one-time deployment.
- Always check if the solution you feel like buying is in compliance with government incentive programs and regulations – particularly the ONC-ATCB certification and HITECH Act. Also consider checking the “Meaningful Use” and ICD-10 certifications.
- While there are new market entrants that offer better solutions, it is always smarter to go over first with those names that have established reputation. They are the providers whose level of confidence over their offered EHR/EMR and Medical Software solutions has been strengthened by times.
- Check all the options; Integrated Suite versus Best-of-Breed, Cloud-based versus On-premise. Which combination can best complement your budget? Note that upgrade fees, server costs, training fees, and support fees can be part of the solution that you are about to select. Weigh all these options against your company’s budget and needs.
The “Meaningful Use” program remains to be the hottest topic in the EMR/EHR industry. Many hospitals and medical institutions have already lodged their registration onto this program since 2011 and they are already seeing the benefits as well as receiving the incentives from the government. According to a report, the US Federal government is estimated to pay around $20 billion in total incentives before the program shifts to a penalty in 2015.
The mobile EHR is grabbing the attention of many physicians in the last two to three years. Many of them are comfortable in practicing their profession via their mobile devices.
The Software-as-a-Service solution is also becoming the top choice of many healthcare providers.
While many organizations are still puzzled in determining the real Return of Investment (ROI) of EHR/EMR solutions, many of them already have their budget allocated for this software technology. While this trend is contradicting in some aspects, it still shows that the entire medical industry is healthy and the EMR/EHR solution will remain to become a software solution of choice. Overall, this is also a good sign for you to start moving into a better system that could offer better performance in your medical practice.
ITQlick chart - 2017 best Medical, EMR & EHR Software
Finding the right Medical, EMR & EHR software for your business
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