The electronic medical records and health records (EMR) market reached $24.9 billion in 2014, according to Kalorama Information’s annual report on the market for electronic medical records. The report also predicted that the market will rise to $35.2 billion by 2019.
Government is offering carrots and sticks to get hospitals to digitize medical records. And hospitals are naturally watching old systems depreciate and looking for ways to increase efficiency.
Even if you know it’s time to invest in electronic medical records software, it’s still not easy to know which one is right for your hospital or practice. HealthIT.gov has a great guide for the kinds of questions to ask to speed up the decision-making process.
They suggest clarifying total costs before selecting an EMR system. As our post on how much EMR software costs details, these expenses include hardware, software, maintenance and upgrade costs. In addition, consider the cost of phased payments, interfaces for labs and pharmacies, connecting to health information exchange (HIE), and customized quality reports.
Once you get a general budget together, narrow down your options. The first resource to know about is Capterra’s listing of the most popular EMR software.
Below is a breakdown of the top five most popular EMRs.
eClinicalWorks is an EMR and practice management system. The company was included in Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing private companies and the site boasts the company has more than 600,000 users, including 100,000 physicians. More than 54% of the federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) use eClinicalWorks. The company bills itself as “the leader in ambulatory healthcare IT solutions.”
One of the company’s coolest offerings is “healow,” or Health and Online Wellness, a new wellness portal that funnels self-reported data from mobile apps and the web, along with information from wearables, straight from patients to doctors, 24/7, 365.
The product features a Health Information Exchange to allow doctors and patients to share vital medical information electronically.
- E&M coding advice
- V10 EMR is ONC-HIT 2014 Complete EHR Certified
- Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2
- ICD-10 compliant
- ICD-10 search feature helps find ICD-10 codes quickly
- Cloud or installed
- Billing to submit claims electronically
- Claims rules engine helps avoid billing errors
According to the website, 20,650 unique health care providers have used it to attest for meaningful use and receive government subsidies.
There’s a portal for patients to request refills, referrals, and education material. They can also review health records, view test results, and ask questions.
Having project management and EMR together makes moving data from charts to billing easier. Use the system to track claims and estimate when payments will come through, and how much they will be.
The scheduling capabilities include the ability to administer, manage and check multiple providers’ schedules across several office locations. Use it to block off hours and create schedule templates, as well as recurring appointments and rules for them.
Eprescribing is available with eClinicalWorks. And for workflow, the system tracks patient flow from check-in to departure to billing.
McKesson is ranked 15 on the Fortune 500 list. The company has six EHR options. The most robust being McKesson Practice Complete which integrates EMR with practice management
- Meaningful Use Dashboard helps you quickly and easily ascertain progress across all 15 core Meaningful Use requirements.
- Set five personal menu objectives and measure them in real time.
- ONC-ATCB certified
- Cloud hosted
- McKesson offers lab integration and e-prescribing. For voice recognition, the McKesson Radiology workflow uses Nuance for web-based speech recognition reporting.
- E/M coding
On the cloud as well is the patient portal, in which patients can review records, schedule appointments, request refills, and also pay their bills.
Speaking of billing, McKesson offers claims management, denial management, compliance, customer service, and business intelligence reporting. Detailed financial and operational metrics help make operations more efficient and long-term planning more effective..
The biggest difference PracticeFusion offers is that it’s completely free for providers. There’s a small banner ad in the software. PracticeFusion is a pure EHR, and does some, but not all of the automation associated with practice management.
It’s designed for private practices with 1-10 doctors. The goal is to make EHR available to small shops. According to PracticeFusion Communications Associate Justin Jones, 112,000 providers use the software, making it the nation’s largest cloud-based EHR.
PracticeFusion is 100% cloud-based with nothing to download and works on all platforms through HTML5 responsive design. It’s updated every two weeks automatically, no updating, no IT work.
For charts, the software offers around 15,000 keyword-searchable community templates created and shared by other doctors. It is certified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2 and ONC-ATCB Certified.
PracticeFusion also offers a patient portal where patients can find providers, book appointments, fill out their forms online (which can be customized by providers), and see their medical records.
PracticeFusion has 12 billing partners it works with to create a single, simplified superbill for ease of billing.
CureMD hit the market to provide an alternative to large industry players. It’s aimed at both hospitals and private practices of all sizes. According to CureMD Marketing Analyst Maryann Lambert, it is also the first specialty specific, cloud-based integrated EHR and practice management system which is geared toward small to medium sized practices both in terms of functionality and price.
CureMD seeks to address physician pain points such as support and implementation. Each practice gets a dedicated account manager who is responsible for not only helping a practice go live but also ensuring that round the clock support is available. “We have one of the lowest complaint resolution times in the industry,” Lambert said.
Ease of use is a big part of what CureMD hopes to offer physicians. Lambert explained that CureMD rigorously analyzed the typical provider’s workflow to build a system which emulates it. It’s designed to be highly customizable and scalable to fit your process and grow with your practice.
“There is hardly anyone who sits down and defines what ease of use can encompass,” Lambert said. “The system should not have a steep learning curve. Providers should not feel like they are back in med school learning an entirely new technology that they are not all comfortable with. It takes time to implement a system, time that providers don’t have. By making it difficult to learn, we do no service to them as, despite making the investment of time and money, they still end up not making the most of their EMR.”
- Ensures clinical components are in place for measurement and getting meaningful use credit from voice dictation
- Templates customized for various fields of medicine
- Certified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2.
- PQRS and ICD-10 consultancies
- Notes include components integral for complete documentation for your specialty
- Billing integrated into CureMD
- Contains its own credentialing services and clearing house
- Lab integration
- When the doctor completes the notes and presses the ‘create e superbill’ button, the E/M code is created automatically
“A provider does not want to be penalized just because their EHR vendor was not able to provide them with the technology to stay abreast with recent healthcare regulations,” Lambert said. “We are amongst the first batch of vendors to be certified for all government regulations. This gives our providers time to easily prepare to meet government regulations and not be penalized. Moreover, we also provide consultation services to our practices to help them meet all government requirements.”
“The focus is shifting to value-based care,” Lambert said. “Right now a physician gets paid for the number of patients he sees every day. There is a gradual shift in which reimbursement will be on the basis of the quality of care provided.” For this reason CureMD includes disease type, visit type, etc. in documentation.
The patient portal for CureMD offices is actually integrated into practices’ websites. In it, patients can send providers secure messages, receive alerts from providers, look at their medical records, update demographic information, and request refills. For physicians, what’s available in the portal is customizable, they can remove options like medical records access or alerts.
Allscripts Professional EHR is aimed at small to mid-size practices. The 2014 Black Book ranked it “Best of the Best” in Ambulatory EHR Functionality & Performance: Interoperability, Communications & Connectivity.
- Chart templates are customized by specialty
- Partners with 3M Health Information Systems coding and ICD-10.
- 3M Medical Necessity Dictionaries updates monthly with compliance edits and Medicare Part A and Part B NCDs for the ABN process
- Allscripts is certified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2 and the website claims 11,423 Meaningful Use attestations.
- Patient portal is available through a separate product: FollowMyHealth.
- Over 50,000 pharmacies are connected to Allscripts
- Doctors can handle lab work in-house, or send it to external facilities via Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS)
- Procedure IT search engine simplifies lookup of otherwise complex CPT codes, in provider-friendly terms
3M Medical Necessity Dictionaries are embedded into Allscripts Enterprise Order and Charge modules to validate medical necessity in a pre-service and pre-billing environment. Medical necessity validation reduces Medicare denials and write-offs and claims rework.
The interface alerts physicians to potential allergies and interactions. Pharmacies can send electronic refill requests directly to the provider using Professional EHR. Refill requests and pharmacy preferences come to Allscripts from FollowMyHealth. Allscripts Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) enables prescribers to digitally sign and electronically send prescriptions for controlled substances to participating pharmacies.
Allscripts Professional uses NoteSwift 2.0 for dictation. It uses Dragon Medical speech recognition to complete patient documentation with fewer than five clicks per note, to see two additional patients or more per day, according to the website. For example, the system automatically captures and parses dictated prescriptions without clicking. NoteSwift claims to capture patient narrative as well as structured data to include all relevant and billable data which. This enables “robust” billing, for fewer denials. For example, you can include “Reason for Visit” via dictation, recorded as structured data to support MU guidelines.
For small practices without much budget, PracticeFusion is a great bet. CureMD is geared toward small to medium sized businesses who need more practice management. For hospitals Allscripts, McKesson, and eClinicalWorks all offer a great product. McKesson and eClinicalWorks provide a more comprehensive, integrated solution. Allscripts offers the ability to work with different providers for different services.
Are there any features you wish we’d included in this comparison? Let us know in the comments!