Medical Software

3 Best Free and Open Source EMR Software

Published by in Medical Software

Managing charts and records manually for a handful of patients can be easy, but if your healthcare practice deals with hundreds of patients, things can get out of hand quickly. You’ll have hours of data entry to complete as well as piles of paper charts occupying your shelves. You may also have to deal with errors related to incorrect transcription or misinterpreted handwriting.

The best way to avoid these issues is to use electronic medical records (EMR) software. The tool digitizes patients’ healthcare records and stores them in a centralized location that can be accessed only by authorized healthcare professionals. It also helps create dedicated patient folders to organize files and documents, helping save the time you’d otherwise spend on searching through hundreds of paper charts.

If you’re new to EMR software or don’t have the budget to invest in an expensive tool, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we list (alphabetically) the three best free and open source EMR software solutions based on SERP rankings. Read the full product selection methodology here.

3 best free and open source EMR software

This article looks at three highly rated free EMR software options. See the full list of free EMR software tools in Capterra’s software directory.

  • Free plan: Includes a patient portal, electronic lab and order management, e-signature, e-Prescription, appointment reminders, and built-in fax capability.
  • Paid plans: Start at $199 per provider per month and include all the features of the free plan in addition to advanced e-Prescription capabilities and unlimited appointment reminders.

One Touch EMR is a medical practice management platform that lets you record patients’ medical conditions and history with ease. It offers online medical charting, data import from external systems, and drawing and annotation for greater flexibility in recording observations.

The tool’s scheduling feature allows you to view your appointments by day, week, or month. You can check if an appointment is confirmed, rescheduled, canceled, or checked in. You can send automated appointment reminders to your patients as well as use in-app messaging to communicate with them. You can also create and save patient treatment plans and attach images of injuries or affected areas for future reference.

A view of the patients medical chart in One Touch EMR

A patient’s medical chart in One Touch EMR (Source)

Think One Touch EMR is the right EMR system for you? Read user reviews.


  • Free plan: Includes a patient portal, reports, e-Prescriptions, medical billing, and online scheduling.
  • Paid plans: The tool is free of cost.

OpenEMR is an open source EMR and medical practice management software tool. It helps your medical practice record, organize, and manage patients’ health information via features such as medical chart tracking, e-Prescriptions, and import and export of medical records.

The software offers a dedicated patient portal via which patients can book appointments, fill in registration forms online, and view their reports and prescriptions. You can schedule recurring appointments and categorize the scheduled appointments by date, health concern, etc. You can also pull up reports on patient lists, confirmed appointments, sales, insurance eligibility, and more.

Scheduling appointments with OpenEMR

Scheduling appointments with OpenEMR (Source)

Think OpenEMR is the right EMR platform for you? Read user reviews.


  • Free plan: Includes scheduling, patient medical charting, document management, practice management, health insurance claims adjustments, and e-Prescriptions.
  • Paid plans: The tool is free of cost.

New Open Source Health (NOSH) is an open source EMR system that allows you to schedule appointments, save patient records and documents, track your medical inventory, communicate with patients, and much more. Its charting functionality offers in-depth details, including patient demographics, active issues, medications, supplements, and past encounters.

The software lets you generate customized reports, including active medical issues and supply reports. It also provides a built-in patient portal via which your patients can communicate with their physician, fill out and submit medical forms online, and set email and SMS reminders. You can integrate NOSH with other third-party software apps to expand its capabilities.

A view of the dashboard in NOSH

A view of the dashboard in NOSH (Source)


How to choose the right free and open source EMR tool for your business

Here are some considerations to help make software selection easier for your healthcare organization:

  • Analyze your needs. Before shortlisting any EMR software product, take the time to chart out the needs of your healthcare practice. If your needs are centered on maintaining health records—as opposed to maintaining only medical charts—you’ll benefit from using an electronic health record (EHR) solution instead of an EMR tool.
  • Check the cost to upgrade. Check the upgrade cost of the EMR software tools you’ve shortlisted. While an open source or a free software tool may be to your liking, its paid plans may not fit your budget. Therefore, inquire about the price beforehand so that budget doesn’t become an issue if you decide to upgrade later.
  • Ask about integration options. You may need to integrate your EMR software with your EHR system or practice management system. Without integration support, your software systems will not be able to share patient data, and entering data manually will consume a lot of time. Therefore, select a tool that integrates with the medical software systems you already use at your clinic.

Common questions to ask when selecting a free or an open source EMR tool

You may have many questions when selecting an EMR software solution, and it’s important to get the answers from the software provider. Here are a few key questions to consider asking:

  • What kind of support options are available with the free plan? It’s important to get a support option of your choice. See if you’re comfortable with email support or if you frequently have pressing issues that require real-time support via phone or live chat.
  • Will my staff need additional training to operate the tool? Check if the tool is intuitive enough for your employees to operate without requiring any additional training. Also, ensure the software provider offers training resources or onboarding support to tackle the queries your team may encounter.
  • Will I be charged extra for tech support? While many software providers offer technical support free of cost, it’s not true for all. Therefore, check with the software provider about the charges applicable for technical support, and see if you’re comfortable shelling out the extra dollars, if any.


How we rate

This article was updated on June 25, 2021.

Products considered for this article had to:

  • Rank high on Google’s search engine result pages for the keyword “free EMR software” (as of June 22, 2021). Products with higher SERP ranking were given preference.
  • Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
  • Meet our EMR software market definition: EMR/EHR software automates the clinical operations of healthcare providers. It allows medical professionals to create, store, update, and share digital patient charts, histories, medications, test results, and more.

Looking for Electronic Medical Records software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Electronic Medical Records software solutions.

About the Author

Bandita Awasthi

Bandita Awasthi

Content writer @ Capterra, sharing the latest insights about finance, accounting, and customer relationship management. Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Delhi. Based in New Delhi, India. Created research-intensive and thought leadership content for leading technology and research companies for over five years. I’m a political history buff and love to explore music in different languages.

Comments

Comment by Dennis Mack on

I am looking for a standalone, out of the box, emr/ehr to use for training adults looking for work. It needs to be free, easy to download and navigate (I’m no developer) and would be great if I could add some synthetic patient data for a more realistic training.
I have Moodle free version, tried to load an emr and set up training modules but it was too techy for me so easy download, easy use, is key.
All help appreciated! We can get more folks in healthcare workforce with basic health record training!

Comment by Reyza Kennedy on

Hi,
Been dwelling if I should have an EMR for our school’s clinic. My former clinic, a company clinic, has it’s own EMR developed by their developers (it’s a big telecom company) and I wonder if there’s an open sourced version of the likes.
I’m looking for a software wherein I can input & view laboratory results of students, not just scan and upload but encode.
And of course add into their profile each clinic visit. I really want a paper less practice which we practice in my former company. Btw, hope you can recommend something accessible here in the Philippines.
Thanks in advance 🙂

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Comment by Tirena Dingeldein on

Hi there,
We’re asking our resident EMR expert to look at your request and respond with some options.

Comment by Anonymous on

Hi. I have a clinic that provides physicals to drivers. I need a free software that keeps track of their appointments and reminds them which can be 3, 6 , 12 or 24 months. I also need a system that can keep track of daily payments and the medications that the driver is currently taking. What free software at this time do you think would best fit my needs?

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Comment by Tirena Dingeldein on

Hi Zuulu,

Try taking a look here: https://www.capterra.com/electronic-medical-records-software/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&pricing_model%5B5%5D=true&users%5B1%5D=2&platform%5B2%5D=55&commit=Apply+Filters&sort_options=

Removing the State, Zip might require contacting the vendors to see if they can make adjustments to their software for your situation. Please let me know if I can help with anything else!

Comment by Zuulu Cooper on

I am looking for an “out of the box” windows-based standalone or server solution for a small church hospital or small and medium businesses in Liberia, West Africa. Most likely a package that can be easily modified to remove State, Zip, etc. i.e. Especially those design for US businesses. I would also like to add “user-friendly” since most of the users will be data clerks and doctors. The majority of the doctors in Liberia now were “born before computers”.

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Comment by Steven Kenneth on

Thanks for the list. Great write up with pros and cons. Will check them out. Thanks again.

Comment by Lisa Douglas on

Thanks for the great list. I found that you really need to review each one closely before deciding which is best for you. Having said that, I did find that a few of them are really good, while the rest is not usable.

Comment by iram fatima on

i am a PCP and i recommend talkehr. its free and with number of new features such as voice assistant and AI. its easy to use and combined with PMS, RCM. the billing is very cost effective. support is excellent. i recommend free talkehr.

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Comment by ZHI ZENG on

I pay $500 per month for Kareo and looking for a free software, I see OpenEMR is most recommended in the chat group, any suggestion…?

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Comment by Tirena Dingeldein on

Hi there!
You might want to start your search with our Mental Health Software directory. While some of the software does have the e-prescribe feature, you can narrow your results on the left to include treatment plans and initial assessments to include notes about referrals.
I hope this helps!
Let us know if we can help with anything else 🙂

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Comment by S Craig Hufford on

So… This thread may be dead, but I remain hopeful.

Looking for a record system that would be appropriate for a Mental Health practice. I do not prescribe, but I do refer out, as well as accept referrals to and from medical and allied health professionals.

Thank you.

Comment by Josh M Florian on

Hello. I have a small practice of pain management. I am trying to look for the EMR software that allows me to print my prescriptions to my patients and my office. He prescribin hello. I have a small practice of pain management. I am trying to look for EMR software allows me to print my prescriptions to my patients at my office. E-prescribe does not work for me and I need to print out my prescriptions. Now I already spent money on printers which are supposed to do the job. But what I’m having problems with is finding the right software? Can anybody please help me out in guiding me to the right software. Thank you

Comment by Jon Snudden on

As being a new practice (less than one year) and trying to get on board with the paperless trend (which seems to generate more paper), looking for something less complicated and can adjust and grow with us (free preferred). Any and all information would be appreciated.

Comment by Sam Singh on

I am not sure if you know about http://www.healthphr.com, but if you are in need of web based EMR/PHR software on the cloud then your search definitely ends here. Checkout http://www.healthphr.com right now. Built with latest technology, keep yourself upto date with real time notifications.

HealthPHR | Health On The Cloud

Comment by Melchoir Perkins on

I was surprised that GNU Health was not included amongst the 7 systems presented. However, the article and the comments posted were very useful.

Is there any intention to update this article, given that new versions of several of the systems mentioned, in both the article and comments, have been released?

Comment by Leslie on

I’ve been using Practice Fusion because it’s free and I have a micro practice. It’s a very substandard EHR and if they think it is worth $100 per month they are nuts. It’s worth $25 maybe. AND, they never bothered to notify me about ANY upcoming changes. The only thing to do is figure out how to get the data out and transferred. What a pain. They have always been completely out of touch with their users and the nightmare continues.

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Comment by Kathleen Newport on

Practice Fusion is changing to > $90 a month in June 🙁 No longer going to be a free platform, now I have to recreate my health records, what a bummer

Comment by Joseph D'Angelo on

As some of you may have heard, Practice Fusion will no longer be free. “…we are moving the Practice Fusion platform to a paid subscription model beginning on June 1, 2018.”

As an aside, my comments to them in response: “Literally the ONLY reason I remained with Practice Fusion is that it was “free,” with ads being the only “cost.” I got what I paid for, and the product was worth the price and not much more, but I will not likely support the new buyers with $$ in their eyes, unless of course the price is ridiculously low compared to other, higher quality EHRs.”

If anyone would like to dispute that, and affirm that PF might be worth a modest fee (they did not mention price in their email) compared to their experience with other EHRs, it would save me the data transfer issue and headache. (That was my practical question in my email: “What will be your process for transferring data to another EHR system? …such a transfer can be laborious, and sales reps usually go into a fair bit of detail as to how we can transfer the records from the service one is leaving, to a new service.”

Comment by Steven Templeton on

Practice Fusion will be charging as of May 2018. Should probably remove it from Number 1 on the list and what there are doing is terrible. I have to get the charts out, as they are holding them hostage.

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