Top Practice Analytics EMR Software Buyer's Guide 2024

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Mark Adams

Feb 28, 2024
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Ultimate Guide To Practice Analytics Software

To understand what Practice Analytics actually is, and how data analytics can help specifically in the healthcare industry, we need to establish the definition of data analytics in a more general sense:

Everything related to the collection and storage of data and then the application of analytical techniques on that data comes under the field of data analytics. Those analytical techniques may include forming charts, and dashboards, observing trends, or developing some sort of infographics to study the data. All these techniques help gain insights and make informed decisions with a better understanding of the data.

Just as these data analytics tools are useful in a business intelligence system, the medical industry has also been using them to achieve a certain understanding of patient data. Many medical software vendors incorporate these data analytics tools into existing, market-specific healthcare software to streamline the collection of data and provide software solutions unique to specific doctors.

Practice analytics EHR software can be incredibly useful for practices in keeping track of essential things. Some of these may be Key performance indicators (KPIs), Reimbursement rates, surveys, billings, diagnostics, revenue cycle, patient intake, etc.

Common Features of Practice Analytics Software

Although some additional medical-specific capabilities are added, the features offered in Practice Analytics Software are more or less the same as general data analytics tools. Some of the most essential features of Practice Analytics Software EHR/EMR are listed below:

Predictive Analysis Tool

Different mathematical systems, analytics tools, and techniques can be used to develop algorithms that help forecast future events. For instance, predictive analysis can be used to forecast budgets and spending for the coming year, quarter, or month by studying past accounting and finance information.

Dashboard Development

A dashboard is the main control center for all the analytics tools. With interactive graphics, a dashboard gives a summary of the data under consideration. Hence making the data easily understandable.

Team Collaboration

Through smart sharing of all the data, the collaboration among the team members is boosted and they can more effectively communicate and make informed decisions. Mainly, the sharing of the analyses done by a particular user being able to be shared with others is the most important feature this offers.

Development of Data Sets

Controlled data sets can be easily created by managers from a larger, more complex body of data. This feature of Practice Analytics (PM) software can be particularly useful for tasks such as creating random samples out of data or even aggregating or scrubbing data entries.

Features To Look For In EHR Software

Electronic Medical Records Electronic health records software (EHR) is a software that assists in developing and storing patient medical records digitally. This unique system assists physicians in tracking patient histories, notes, medications, and demographics. The most popular features of EHR software include e-prescribing, E&M coding advice, and SOAP notes. Quality Electronic Health Records Software (EHR) also offers lab integration, voice recognition, tablet support, and device integration.
Medical Billing Medical billing modules or Medical Billing software manage the development of patient statements and submission of insurance claims. Key functions of such systems include claim scrubbing, e-claim submission, coding, payment posting, eligibility inquiry, and reporting.
Patient Scheduling This module is designed to automate the entire process of scheduling patient appointments. Core features of a good patient scheduling module may include sending reminders through phone, text message, and email, automated follow-ups, and multi-location support. Such modules are usually offered along with a billing module in a practice management software suite.
Radiology Information Systems A radio information system (RIS) manages the workflow and operations of radiology imaging centers or large medical practices having radiology imaging departments. Such EHR Software or modules automate the entire process of storing, operating, and distributing patient medical images and related data.
Picture Archiving and Communications Systems PACS is designed to manage, store, and retrieve DICOM images. Such systems are often used in combination with a RIS (Radio Information System) to perform the radiology workflow proficiently.
Medical Accounting The term Medical accounting refers to a system designed to automate accounting processes for medical practices. Major functions of such systems include general ledger, A/P, A/R, and financial reporting.

What You Need To Know About EMR Software

Today over 600 companies provide EHR/EMR and Practice Management Software and with this growing competition selecting the right electronic medical records software or practice management software is always a very difficult choice. EMRFinder understands your problem and provides a complete and comprehensive catalog of specialty-specific potential EMR Software, perfect for your practice needs. There are many things to be considered when thinking about using or switching your current Electronic Health Records Software (EHR Software). This buyer’s guide covers every necessary aspect to consider before making a final decision.

The term EMR Software or EHR Software (Electronic Health Records) is used for the electronic documentation and maintenance of medical records for patients via computer or a mobile device. EHR Software essentially improves the efficiency of practice by helping to make more accurate documentation of the encounters resulting in improved profitability. Its usability has been recognized and it became a part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2004.

EMR Software Benefits

Besides financial profitability, practices have seen the following benefits of using EHR/EMR Software:

  • Improved practice efficiency
  • Streamlined administrative tasks
  • Improved profitability and revenue cycle (Medical Billing Services)
  • Improved Patient Engagement (via Patient Portal)
  • Decreased stationary costs
  • Improved collections due to more organized claims
  • Automated alerts and reminders help patients return to the office when necessary and notify the practice about any potential risk
  • Enhanced Security and Safety (Cloud Storage & Back-ups) - Cloud-based EMR Software

EMR Software by Specialty

Specialty-specific software enables physicians and other medical professionals to store detailed clinical information, such as demographics, medical history, social history, lab reports, etc.

Specialty-specific EMR Software or EHR Software must be fairly customizable to the unique style and documentation requirements since all medical practices have a specific need based on the background and medical specialty. For example, Pain Management or Dermatology-specific EMR software should include the ability to store before/after photos and annotate images. Similarly, specialties like Pediatrics, Oncology, Podiatry, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Nephrology, Dialysis Centers, Rheumatology and Chiropractic Care require their unique set of features to simplify adoption.

EMR Software by Practice Size

Because of the massive adaptability requirement, every EMR Software is not suitable for any practice. An EMR Software designed for hospitals or multi-provider clinics does not necessarily support a solo or a small practice. So what are the factors that will make an EHR Software vendor viable for your medical practice?

From solo to large providers and multi-specialty clinics, every practice has its unique set of challenges that must be addressed by the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software vendor some of which are listed below.

Small or Solo Provider Practices

Small or solo practices with small office space and a limited number of staff members are generally short on the budget compared to larger practices. Due to these constraints, many providers simply prefer cloud-based EMR software and employ Free EMR Software or choose an affordable EHR Software vendor with a low fixed monthly fee.

Medium-Sized Practices

Often belonging to the same medical specialty, the medium-sized practices require unique features such as interoperability, dedicated customer support, multi-device support as well and extensive reporting functionality to keep an eye on the overall performance of the practice, as their budget is also comparatively larger.

Large Practices

Larger medical practices usually offer medical services that fall under various medical specialties (e.g. Orthopedics, Pain Management, Surgery, Chiropractic Medicine, Family Medicine, etc.). Comprising fifteen to twenty medical providers, these practices often require support for multiple users to access the systems simultaneously. Scheduling software and a scalable solution to accommodate multiple locations, providers, and resources such as Dialysis Chairs, procedure room allocation, etc. are also the requirements of larger practices.

Hospitals or Enterprise Organizations

Hospitals or enterprise organizations have the most elaborate list of requirements, which are usually documented in the form of an RFI or RFP to assess and shortlist vendors that can meet them.

Hospitals or enterprises are often the target market of EMR software companies such as Athenahealth, McKesson, Epic, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, NextGen, drChrono, and Meditech, and they usually provide ideal EHR software solutions for larger corporations such as ACOs, PCMH, IPAs, CINs (Clinically Integrated Networks), and Public Health Departments, etc. These EMR software companies usually offer features like integration with multiple other software and medical devices, inventory management modules, interface with local labs (LIS), machines and diagnostic equipment along with drug dispensing (pharmacy management software), electronic medication administration record (EMAR), etc.

Tips to consider when choosing an EMR Vendor

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) consist of various software, all with different functionalities and applications. Here are a few tips one should consider before selecting an EMR Software:

Security

The safety and security of patient data and medical records is a principal concern for not only clinicians and medical providers but their patients as well. A strong EMR Software ensures the safety and security of medical records and all the related patient information and guarantees HIPAA Compliance providing them privacy (especially during the patient’s communication with their doctor via Patient Portal). Top EMR Software Vendors from today (AdvancedMD, PrognoCIS, Modernizing Medicine, Chirotouch, Kareo, etc.) use data encryption technologies and other advanced tools in every section of the EMR Software to make sure that they safeguard patient records.

Cloud-based EMR software

Due to its various advantages, Cloud-based EMR has grown more popular among physicians lately. Cloud-based EHR software is mostly device independent and supports multiple devices such as Smartphones (iPhones and Android phones) iPhones, iPads, desktop computers, and laptops. The EMR software can be accessed from any location at any time provided that internet access is available. The Cloud-based EHR Software technology usually requires minimum or no maintenance or upfront cost making it ideal for doctors running small clinics and private practices. Some of the Cloud-based EMR Software vendors include ChartPerfect, Care Cloud, AllegienceMD, CureMD, ChartLogic, etc.

ONC-ATCB Certified EMR Software

One of the characteristics of a strong EMR software is that it is ONC-ATCB certified and complies with the guidelines and protocols defined by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). The software vendors who comply with these measures go through severe testing and conform at a benchmark level set by the federal body. This testing ensures that all areas of the software are checked for example Patient Portal, the way the software communicates with Pharmacies via E-prescription (e-Rx), HIEs, labs, hospitals, etc. Most of the EHR vendors nowadays have all the details related to their compliance with the standards established by the ONC (Click here) present online.

Mac EMR Software

Today when it comes to the world of computers and digital devices, Apple is the undisputed leader in the US. Therefore, it won’t be odd if healthcare providers today specifically look for EMR Software that works on Mac systems (Mac EMR Software). However, unfortunately not all EMR software vendors support Mac devices, therefore when looking for an EMR system it is essential that the EHR Software has built-in support for Mac so that the software can be used with existing systems and any further investment in new computers can be avoided.

Specialty EHR software

Certain specialty-specific Electronic health records (EHR) systems must offer unique tools for that specialty for clinical documentation. For example for gastroenterology, the EMR system should include specific tools that should be able to document clinical workflow and specify the area of concern (e.g. issues concerning the GI tract) and must offer much more than capturing raw data or text. (Gastroenterology EMR Software).

Specific Services

When selecting an EMR System, one of the basic and most important decisions that you need to make is if you want the EMR Software solution by itself or integrated with a Practice Management System for scheduling and billing. Having an integrated EHR and PM solution has its pros, yet there have been instances where practices chose an EHR by themselves, as they had some unique needs that EMR Software vendors could not be met or they had already made large payments for separate Practice Management solutions and could not replace it, in fact, were bound to use it.

Integrated Practice Management Software

With competition rising every day in the field of healthcare IT, many EHR Vendors who provide integrated Practice Management solutions included in the software bundle easily outclass competitors with standalone EMR Software including the ones that offer a specialty-specific EMR Solution. EHR software providers with integrated Practice Management systems often tend to offer widespread reporting competencies to monitor how the practice performs and manages administrative tasks better.

Integrated Medical Billing Software

Like all other software solutions needed by a medical practice, it is very important for a healthcare organization to have a strong billing system to be able to communicate with insurance companies and to charge all the services rendered. Medical Billing Software works best when integrated with EMR software. The clinical documentation complies with all the mandatory standards and forms a financial document that is sent electronically to insurance carriers or financiers so that they can validate and process at their end. This helps streamline operations and various administrative tasks and makes sure everyone is on the same page where financial matters are concerned. By using the Medical billing Software system, practices are able to produce patient statements, confirm patient eligibility, and generate claims, and much more. Medical billing solutions integrated with EMRs prove to be ideal for healthcare organizations who wish to manage to bill in-house.

Hidden Cost

Different EMR Vendors offer varying prices. Some EMR Software sellers offer their services for free, while others provide specialty services for extremely high costs. In both cases, there always might be chances of several hidden costs that might be revealed later. When selecting an EHR Software, make sure you finalize your budget and discuss all the hidden costs included in the contract with your potential vendors. Also, make sure you ask them about the charges for services such as support and training.

Mobility

With technological advancements happening every second, life has become faster than ever. To keep up with this fast pace, people in all walks of life like to rely more on handheld devices especially because of their handiness, mobility, and a number of other uses. Like all other professions, the field of medicine also relies heavily on the use of technology more and more. Doctors nowadays, need an EMR system with which they can use Tablets or iPads to take down notes about symptoms, patient history, and electronically prescribe medication to the patients and a mobile application synced with all the mobile devices being used in the practice.

Ease of Use and Training

Though some doctors and physicians might be very proficient with technology, at the end of the day, they are not IT professionals. They always prefer software that is easy to use, so that not only their transition process from their existing systems (paper or existing EHR) is smooth, but also their everyday experience with their Electronic Health Records software goes without any hindrances. An EMR System that is too complicated to understand can waste a lot of time resulting in users being aggravated. Also, there are some EMR companies that provide users with training free of cost, so at the time of selecting an EMR software, make sure that you ask the vendor to train you and other staff members of the practice to have a better grasp of the software and if there will be any additional costs involved for training.

Specialty Based EMR Software

All medical providers work in their distinctive manner and have unique needs according to their specialties. Therefore, most of the EMR Software Vendors today ensure that their EHR Software is specially tailored for a specific specialty or a number of specialties. This was a predictable conclusion of the EMR Software journey, as more and more healthcare providers were required to switch to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems. Most of the EHR software companies at that point in time were essentially focused on selling their software to all healthcare providers regardless of their specialties. But the specialty-based medical providers soon realized that the software did not meet the requirements of their practices. Therefore, the demand for specialty-specific EMR systems increased. To meet that demand, EMR software vendors started producing specialty-specific EHR software and as a result of that, today there are several unique EMR systems available for almost all the specialties like Cardiology, Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Orthopedics, Urology, Optometry, Pulmonology, General Surgery, Alternative & Holistic Medicine, etc.

Customer Support Quality

When you adopt an EHR software for your practice, it eases your routine tasks and helps your practice in so many different ways. But what will you do when your software faces a technical issue? It is normal for any software application to malfunction from time to time. This is when you should pick up your phone and contact the customer service representative of your EMR software service provider. An efficient customer support service addresses all of your concerns and issues and tries to resolve them in a knowledgeable and skilled way. Only a customer service rep can understand the issues or changes in the behavior of your Electronic Health Records software application and then the rep can pass on your concerns to the appropriate department to get your issue fixed. A good customer service representative always ensures customer satisfaction. On the other hand, a bad and rude customer rep will only make things worse. Most of the EMR software vendors provide customer support as a part of the plan that you are paying for, while some of them charge extra for this service. Before implementing an EHR software you should make that clear with the vendor if there will be a special support team assigned to the practitioner within the package or not.

Market Trends to Be Aware Of

The EHR industry, like everything else, goes through constant changes all the time. Whether it’s new innovations or updates in technology, or changes in legalities, the EMR industry is always changing. Following is a list of such changes that you should keep track of.

Cloud-Based Services

A recent study shows that only 25% of physicians have shown interest in web-based EHR software systems and only 50% have adopted it as an initial model that will ultimately transition to cloud-based software. The cloud-based EMR software cuts down the costs of having and maintaining all the hardware and client servers. It can be hosted on any device which has a web browser. That is why healthcare software vendors are switching to cloud-based EHR software.

Meaningful Use or MACRA

Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 (previously known as Meaningful Use) created the Quality Payment Program that:

  • Repeals the sustainable growth rate formula
  • Changes the way that Medicare pays physicians for value over volume
  • Streamlines multiple quality programs under the new Merit-Based Incentive Payments System (MIPS)
  • Awards extra payments for participation in eligible alternative payment models (APMs)

Cybersecurity

As we progress into 2024, cybersecurity in Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems is set to become increasingly sophisticated in response to rising cyber threats. Key developments will include advanced encryption and the use of blockchain for enhanced data integrity. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be crucial for real-time threat detection and predictive analytics, and compliance with global data protection regulations will become more critical, necessitating adaptive strategies from EHR providers. Additionally, user training will gain prominence to mitigate risks associated with human error. Overall, the focus will shift towards building a proactive, resilient digital healthcare environment, fortified against emerging cyber challenges.

Customization

Heading into 2024 and beyond, the EMR (Electronic Medical Records) software trend is gravitating toward increased customization and modular design. The diverse and evolving needs of healthcare providers across various specialties drive this shift. Customizable EMR systems will allow medical professionals to tailor interfaces and functionalities to their specific workflows, enhancing efficiency and reducing cognitive load. Modular EMR systems will offer flexibility, enabling healthcare facilities to integrate only the modules they need, such as telemedicine, billing, or patient engagement tools, thereby avoiding the complexities of one-size-fits-all solutions. This approach improves user satisfaction and facilitates better patient care by providing clinicians with tools that align with their practice needs. Ultimately, this evolution will lead to more adaptable, efficient, and user-friendly EMR systems in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Costs and Efficiency

EMR software’s ability to lower healthcare costs and increase efficiency is becoming increasingly clear as we move deeper into the digital healthcare era. Clinical workflows are predicted to be greatly streamlined by EHR software by 2024 and beyond, saving a substantial amount of time and money on administrative duties. Its effectiveness allows medical professionals to concentrate more on patient care rather than paperwork, resulting in cost savings for healthcare facilities. Effective treatment plans and preventive care strategies can be developed at a lower cost by utilizing the advanced data analytics capabilities of EHR software. To further reduce costs, it is projected that integrating EMR software with other digital health tools will reduce the number of redundant tests and procedures. EMR software has the potential to play a major role in advancing the development of a healthcare system that is both more effective and affordable.

Public Health

As we get closer to the digital healthcare era, the use of EMR systems in public health is becoming more and more crucial. EMR systems are essential for improving disease surveillance and management since they give real-time access to patient data in a variety of healthcare settings. EMRs are predicted to be essential tools for monitoring public health trends in the future, allowing medical professionals to quickly recognize and address new health emergencies like epidemics or patterns of non-communicable diseases. They make it easier to gather and analyze vast amounts of health data, which is necessary for developing policies and making well-informed decisions on public health. EMRs also help with the effective distribution of resources and the evaluation of public health interventions' efficacy. EMR systems are crucial in forming a proactive and data-driven approach to public health because they function as a bridge between individual patient care and population health management.

Global Adoption and Localization 

As the healthcare industry progresses globally, the adoption and localization of EMR systems are becoming key factors in transforming healthcare delivery. In 2024 and onwards, a significant trend will be the customization of EMR systems to meet the specific needs of different regions and countries. This includes adapting to various languages, cultural norms, and legal requirements, ensuring that EMR systems are not only universally accessible but also relevant to local healthcare contexts. In developing regions, EMRs are expected to leapfrog traditional healthcare infrastructure challenges, offering an efficient way to manage patient data and improve healthcare delivery. The localization will also involve integrating region-specific medical practices and protocols into EMR systems, enhancing their utility and acceptance among healthcare providers. This global adoption, coupled with thoughtful localization, is crucial for creating a more interconnected and efficient global healthcare system, where patient data can be seamlessly exchanged across borders, leading to improved health outcomes worldwide.

Emerging Technologies

As we move forward into 2024 and beyond, the integration of EMR systems with emerging technologies is poised to revolutionize the healthcare sector. Advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain are increasingly being incorporated into EMR systems to enhance their capabilities. AI and machine learning algorithms are being used for predictive analytics, improving diagnostic accuracy, and personalizing patient care plans. Blockchain technology is emerging as a key player in securing EMR data, ensuring tamper-proof records, and enhancing patient privacy. Additionally, the integration of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices is facilitating real-time health monitoring and data collection, directly feeding into EMR systems for more comprehensive patient profiles. These technological integrations not only promise to streamline healthcare operations but also aim to significantly improve patient outcomes by providing more accurate, efficient, and secure healthcare services.

Mobile Health

As we advance into 2024, the synergy between mobile health and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) accessibility is set to redefine healthcare delivery. The proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices has paved the way for mobile health apps that seamlessly integrate with EMR systems, enabling patients to access their health records, schedule appointments, and communicate with healthcare providers from anywhere. This mobile accessibility is crucial for enhancing patient engagement and empowerment, promoting transparency in healthcare services. For healthcare providers, mobile Electronic Health Records (EHR) access facilitates the delivery of care outside traditional settings, supports decision-making with real-time data, and enhances coordination among care teams. This integration is also vital in remote and underserved areas, where mobile solutions can bridge gaps in healthcare access. Moving forward, the continued evolution of mobile health coupled with EMR accessibility will play a pivotal role in making healthcare more patient-centered, efficient, and accessible globally.

Sustainability and Green IT

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve into 2024 and beyond, the focus on sustainability and Green IT in the context of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems is gaining unprecedented momentum. The integration of sustainable practices and green technologies within EMR infrastructures is not only aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of healthcare IT operations but also at enhancing system efficiency and reducing operational costs. Energy-efficient data centers, cloud-based services, and virtualization are becoming key components in making EMR systems more eco-friendly. These technologies help minimize the energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with the storage and processing of vast amounts of medical data. Additionally, the push towards digital records over paper significantly reduces waste and resource use. As the industry moves forward, the adoption of Green IT practices in EMR systems will be crucial in achieving a sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible healthcare sector.

Latest Updates and Developments in EMR Software

Coronavirus Update: Epic EMR Software Rolled Out Latest Feature

Epic EMR Software one of the top Cloud-based Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software & Practice Management (PM) Software provider in the United States, is taking drastic steps to help identify potential cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus in providers. The medical update was sent this week to health care customers to make sure all EHR workflows strictly follow the necessary CDC guidelines. Continue Reading

Coronavirus Update: athenahealth EMR Software Rolled Out Latest Feature

athenahealth EMR Software, one of the largest EMR Software vendor in the United States by athenahealth inc. has added new order sets to help with the detection coronavirus. The new screening tool added to the EMR software network will help speed up the diagnosis and overall patient monitoring. Continue Reading

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