Being a healthcare business, you are likely aware of the challenges of keeping up with the ever-evolving digital transformation landscape. Making decisions about which healthcare technologies to invest in can complicate the equation. In 2022, the worldwide electronic health record (EHR) solutions market was approximated to be valued at USD 28.1 billion. And it is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 4.1% from 2023 to 2030. However, it is essential to recognize that business process automation offers unprecedented advantages to the healthcare sector.
These benefits include streamlining the work of clinicians, optimizing hospital workflows, enhancing patient outcomes, and reducing operational costs. Therefore, if you seek tangible and substantial results, the journey to digitize your healthcare business should be a top priority. One of the most effective approaches is initiating your transformation by developing a custom EHR software system. This article will discuss different types of EHR systems, their advantages, the best existing systems, and how you can benefit from building a customizable EHR.
“EHR systems have become an essential part of the broader healthcare innovation, and our clients have already experienced the massive benefits of implementing custom-made EHR software systems. Together, we’re revolutionizing healthcare by seamlessly integrating technology to improve patient care and streamline operations.”
“Implementation of EHR systems has become a major enabler of security and reliability of healthcare data. A strong understanding of the nuances of building EHR solutions that enhance patient care, data security, and operational efficiency is vital for continuously improving care worldwide.”
Head of Product Management, SPsoft
EMR/EHR Systems: Why Does the Difference Matter?
Clinicians often interchange the terms EMR/EHR systems since they share similar functions. However, you should know that EHRs are more robust and extensive than electronic medical records (EMRs).
EMRs act as digital versions of paper charts where physicians maintain their patients’ medical information, such as blood pressure readings and vaccination records. This data typically remains confined within the healthcare organization. Thus, it may need to be physically printed and sent to various specialists if the patient requires care at other facilities.
The primary advantage of EHRs over EMRs lies in their ability to seamlessly exchange data across different healthcare organizations and facilitate its sharing with specialists both within and outside the originating hospital.
What Is HIPAA-Compliant EHR?
Misconceptions about the requirements for EHRs and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have placed many healthcare professionals in precarious situations. That leads to HIPAA breaches and associated violation fines. EHR systems and adherence to HIPAA regulations are fundamental components of successfully operating a healthcare business. EHR platforms offer a secure, patient-centered approach to managing Protected Health Information (PHI), which includes vital patient records.
HIPAA regulations, in turn, mandate that healthcare providers adhere to national privacy and security standards to protect PHI. PHI encompasses any demographic data that can be utilized to identify a patient. That covers names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, insurance information, contact numbers, complete facial photographs, and comprehensive healthcare records. In HIPAA-compliant EHR software, data is categorized as PHI due to the substantial amount of sensitive demographic information gathered and stored there.
Consequently, EHR providers must maintain HIPAA compliance to safeguard their clients’ healthcare data against security breaches and potential government penalties.
Let’s discuss your suitable type of EHR and define your prospects for adopting cloud technology!
Types of EHR Systems
When selecting an EHR system, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the available types. The conventional approach to distinguishing between EHR systems involves considering the location of the servers that store the data, essentially determining who owns it.
Such distinct EHR types encompass:
In this setup, the EHR data resides on the physician’s server. That implies that the physician has invested in the necessary hardware and software. Therefore, they are responsible for data maintenance and security. This type of EHR platform gives physicians greater control over their patient data but places the burden of maintenance squarely on their shoulders.
Remotely Hosted EHR
Under this category, EHR data is housed on a third-party server. Consequently, the server’s maintenance and security are the third-party owner’s responsibility. Remotely-hosted EHR systems can be further categorized into three subgroups:
- Subsidized remotely hosted EHR. Here, the financing for the EHR is partially or fully subsidized by another entity, often a hospital, with whom the physician enters into a legally binding relationship. This collaborative arrangement can provide cost benefits but may have certain contractual obligations.
- Dedicated remotely hosted EHR. In this scenario, the records are stored on servers dedicated to the EHR vendor. The vendor is responsible for server maintenance and data security.
- Cloud-based EHR. Cloud-based EHR platform stores the EHR data in the cloud, meaning the EHR software is not installed on the physician’s local computer. Instead, it is accessed through the vendor’s website.
Understanding these types of EHR software systems is crucial for healthcare professionals and organizations when deciding which best aligns with their needs, preferences, and resources. Each type comes with its advantages and considerations, making it essential to carefully assess the implications of the chosen EHR system on data ownership, control, and overall functionality.
Learn more about the intricacies of EHR software development. Read our expert insights to get a full picture of the process.
7 Best Off-the-Shelf EHR Systems in 2023: Comprehensive Overview
Each EHR technology platform on our list has been selected for its own merits, as they all serve the same core purpose but offer several different features. Some provide a higher degree of customization, while others are tried and tested solutions set in their ways.
Epic Systems, established in 1979, stands among the pioneers in EHR provision. Epic’s primary concentration is serving various healthcare entities, including community hospitals, academic medical centers, multi-specialty groups, independent practices, and rehabilitation centers.
Notably, Epic’s EHR has secured the top ranking in the “Best in KLAS” category for five consecutive years within the largest segment, according to KLAS ratings. As a distinctive feature, Epic is an employee-owned company with an internal development approach, crafting its software solutions in-house. Epic is a comprehensive solution SPsoft has hands-on experience with, and our team has already provided Epic integration services to its clients.
2. Kareo Clinical
Kareo Clinical is an electronic health system specifically crafted to streamline the operations of smaller, independent medical practices. Its features include:
- Comprehensive dashboard
- HIPAA-compliant video conferencing
- Secure online patient portal
- Itemized charge receipts
Moreover, Kareo Clinical supports the efficient transfer of data across multiple clinics. Patients can also back up their medical records as XML files and share them with new healthcare providers through email or direct messaging within Kareo’s platform.
Cerner has been at the forefront of electronic medical records provision for four decades. The core focus of Cerner centers on health information technology systems, catering to healthcare providers of diverse sizes and spanning 55 different medical specialties. Notably, Forbes Magazine has acknowledged Cerner as one of the most innovative companies in the United States and a highly regarded employer for recent graduates.
eClinicalWorks, offered by the EHR company GroupOne Health Source, debuted in 1999. They have established partnerships with 80,000 facilities, collaborating with 130,000 physicians and 850,000 nurse practitioners, emphasizing ambulatory health services. eClinicalWorks introduces the Grid Cloud, consisting of nine strategically located data centers. The latter are dedicated to ensuring the security of sensitive data and facilitating its efficient distribution to the affiliated healthcare practices.
Plan on using more than one EHR along with third-party healthcare solutions in your practice? Our experts share some key insights on EHR interoperability.
5. Meditech Expanse
Meditech Expanse presents an array of features tailored to assist healthcare organizations in the following ways:
- Prescription management
- Patient engagement
- Virtual consultations and vital monitoring
- Revenue cycle management
Meditech may have a higher cost, approximately $397 per physician per month, than some of its counterparts. But this premium cost reflects its comprehensive health technology stack. That is because Meditech aims to provide an all-encompassing solution for managing experiences within larger healthcare organizations.
6. NextGen Healthcare EHR
NextGen provides a comprehensive suite of tech tools to streamline patient interactions, billing processes, reporting, and seamless data exchange among healthcare providers. Throughout the entire healthcare journey, NextGen assists providers in many ways. That includes assessing patient eligibility, confirming insurance coverage, facilitating virtual appointments, prescribing medications, and efficiently submitting claims to insurance providers.
Allscripts offers electronic health services that, while comprehensive, may appear somewhat disjointed to users. However, these services can seamlessly integrate when aided by experienced implementation technicians. That allows for simplifying tasks such as appointment scheduling, visitor management, medical recordkeeping, e-prescribing, and telehealth sessions. Additionally, Allscripts facilitates third-party integrations through the Redox Engine.
What Is a Minimum Suite of Features for EHR Software?
After discussing some of the best EMR/EHR systems, let’s examine the core features you must consider when selecting a suitable solution. An EHR functions as a comprehensive repository. Here, you can securely store patient data, manage appointment bookings and monitoring, reference industry best practices for diagnoses and prescriptions, and receive real-time alerts and reminders for patient care. So, the key suite of features of EHR software include:
- Digital charts. EHRs consolidate a patient’s medical history into an electronic interface. That enables healthcare providers to conveniently access and track diagnoses, allergies, lab results, and medical images (like X-rays, CT scans, and mammograms).
- Smart prescriptions. An EHR makes a doctor’s prescription swiftly accessible at a clinic’s pharmacy with a few clicks. EHR systems can sync with extensive healthcare databases, flagging potential contraindications and offering optimal medication dosing recommendations for patients.
- Alerts. EHR software systems can prompt Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and nurses to administer a patient’s medication, ensuring accuracy through barcode scanning.
- Automated scheduling. EHR software tools seamlessly integrate with a hospital’s scheduling system, keeping it up-to-date with patient appointments.
These features collectively enhance the efficiency and precision of healthcare processes, ultimately benefiting both patients and healthcare providers. An advanced customizable EHR can include a much richer set of features. However, you will need a healthcare software development partner who can implement them appropriately.
See what other features your EHR application can offer for potential users! Our experts have shared valuable field insights.
The Core Benefits of EHR Software
EHRs offer a range of benefits to healthcare organizations, from heightened security to streamlined clinical workflows. The many pros of EHR software systems should not be underestimated, so we have compiled a list of the most notable advantages.
Comprehensive Patient View
Healthcare providers should aim for dynamic, patient-centered records that span a person’s entire lifetime, encompassing health and illness. Maintaining a single, continuous record for each patient offers a holistic perspective on their overall health. That leads to improved diagnosis and lifelong treatment strategies.
Enhanced Care Coordination
Digital records enable clinicians to coordinate and monitor patient care across various practices and healthcare facilities. For instance, the Mayo Clinic exemplifies a “one-stop care” system, consolidating services like office visits, testing, surgery, and hospital stays within a single visit. That streamlines scheduling and reduces the need for multiple appointments. Meanwhile, collaboration among clinicians from diverse specialties ensures better patient outcomes.
Efficient Information Sharing
The capability to share information across different medical disciplines, specialties, pharmacies, hospitals, and emergency response teams. Coupled with mobile access to patient charts, it facilitates timely decision-making, especially in critical situations.
EHRs enhance productivity and efficiency while minimizing paperwork. Patients and staff encounter fewer forms, allowing clinicians to allocate more time to patient care. Referrals and prescriptions can be transmitted swiftly, reducing appointment wait times. Automated reminders prompt patients for annual checkups and milestone screenings. Integrated patient tracking ensures timely billing and insurance claim submissions.
Data’s Transformative Role
Continuous data collection enables personalized care, enabling providers to address health issues proactively. Furthermore, “big data” analytics and aggregated patient data can identify broader health trends, such as potential outbreaks and prevalent flu strains during flu seasons.
Efficiency and Cost Savings
Digital records and integrated communication methods substantially reduce administrative expenses. The latter covers transcription costs, physical chart storage, coding, claim management, and costs to promote care coordination. EHRs also expedite communication among clinicians, labs, pharmacies, and health plans, reducing the time spent exchanging hard-copy information.
Digital records facilitate improved tracking and standardized documentation of patient interactions, potentially decreasing errors. The elimination of illegible handwriting in clinician notes and prescriptions is incredibly beneficial. Integrated systems can flag potential drug interactions and other indicators of harm.
Take Full Advantage of the Medical EHR Software with SPsoft
Reorganizing and improving your organization’s workflows can be challenging, often requiring the expertise of an EHR software development partner. Cooperation with a reliable vendor offers many benefits to your business, which can hardly be attained otherwise.
SPsoft offers not only technical expertise but experience and knowledge that will help you achieve critical business goals:
- Scaling operations. If your rapidly expanding company aims to modernize business processes. They include the transition from paper-based medical records to digital ones and the seamless integration of practice and patient data management.
- Addressing prior frustrations. If you have previously encountered frustrations while working with off-the-shelf EHR solutions and have conceived a new idea to bridge the existing gaps.
- Complex workflows. If your organization operates with unconventional or intricate workflows that render the off-the-shelf EHR system unfeasible.
- Integration needs. If you combine multiple EHR systems to encompass your diverse business processes and seek an integrated solution.
- Healthcare startup ambitions. If you want to develop a medical application and intend to offer licenses or subscriptions to practicing doctors.
If any of these scenarios resonate with your organization, you can explore the possibility of developing an EHR software solution with SPsoft.
The journey toward developing an EHR software system is critical in modernizing and enhancing healthcare practices. As we have discussed its benefits and impact on healthcare organizations, it is clear that the right EHR solution can be a game-changer for your business. However, successfully adopting such software requires a reliable partner to translate your unique requirements into a tailored EHR system.
SPsoft has a wealth of healthcare technology experience and a proven track record in delivering customized EHR solutions. Our expertise in developing EHR software aligns seamlessly with your organization’s goals, ensuring that the final product caters to your needs and requirements.
Let’s discuss your technology needs and see how a customized EHR solution can benefit your organization.
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is a digital platform that securely stores and manages patients’ medical records. That makes them accessible to authorized healthcare providers for improved patient care and streamlined healthcare processes.
There are several different types of EHR software. Here are some of those:
On-premises. Installed and managed locally on the healthcare organization’s servers and infrastructure.
Cloud-based. Hosted on remote servers and accessed through the internet, offering scalability and accessibility.
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform is a digital software solution that centralizes and manages patients’ health information, like medical records, treatment plans, medications, etc.