Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery EMR Software

Top EMR Software Buyer's Guide 2024

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by June Levine
Last Updated: May 28, 2024

Ultimate Guide to Electronic Medical Records (EHR) Software

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are an electronic way of keeping patient medical records. You can store anything from patient charts, medical history, blood work, payment schedules, and billing in your EMR. Also known as Electronic Health Records (EHR) they provide added functionality where patient demographics, histories, and similarities can be tracked as well as prescriptions, medications and SOAP notes, and much more.

Since the HITECH Act introduced Meaningful Use the medical and healthcare industries have been in a flurry to find an EMR/EHR system to suit their practices. Transitioning from paper to electronic recording of patient’s histories and administrative documents wasn’t easy, but the benefits to the future of healthcare of implementing EMR outweigh the difficult work of the present.

  • EHR promotes efficiency and a smoother workflow.
  • It increases revenue through well-documented claims.
  • It increases revenue through increased patient inflow.
  • Decreased stationery costs.
  • It improves care coordination.
  • Patient information is safe and secure from natural damage.
  • Streamlining healthcare practices across the country.

What is Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software?

What Are You Looking For?

Meaningful Use has dropped the bomb, leaving healthcare practices no choice but to convert their practice to an EHR system. But it’s up to you to select the EMR vendor of your choice that best suits your needs. So now that you’re in the market, you either:

  1. Have no clue what you are looking for.
  2. Know exactly what you want but don’t know where to get it.
  3. Are considering investing in software specifically designed for your practice?

Although #3 is ideal it costs way too much to hire an IT department and support system to cater to the practice’s needs, especially for a small to medium-sized clinic. For #1 and #2, we have a brief, but succinct guide, to help you find the vendor perfect for you.

Latest EMR Software Comparison 2024

What to Look For in a Potential Vendor

Security

Patient privacy is a paramount concern for any physician, so you will need to make sure that the EMR system is HIPAA compliant at all times and that your patient information is secure. All the vendors are aware of the necessity of security and many provide data encryption technology to enhance the security in their software.

Size

Medical practices come in all shapes and sizes. Some are single doctor private practices while others are large hospitals with branches all over the country that need one system to sync all the records. Unfortunately, one piece of software does not fit all. Single specialty software will not be able to accommodate a load of a larger practice, while multiple clinician software will be useless and unnecessarily expensive for the single doctor. There are EHR vendors that provide services for a specific range of doctors per practice. Make sure that the vendor you’re interested in is equipped to provide services to a practice of your size.

Specific Services

One of the decisions your practice will have to make is whether you want just an EMR system or one with integrated Practice Management for billing and scheduling. There are advantages to having both together but there have been cases where some practices only went for one if they had unique requirements that a vendor could not fulfill, or had already paid a hefty amount for a PM system and were not looking to replace it yet.

Ease of Use and Training

Doctors are not IT professionals, and though some might be tech-savvy, it would be egregious to expect them all to be experts on the EHR software. Ease of use is essential to making the transition from paper to electronic smooth, as well as day-to-day practice to go along without a hitch. If the software is too complicated and hard to understand, it’s a waste of precious time and needlessly aggravating. Some vendors offer free training while others don’t; make sure you ask for training if your practice needs it.

Specialty Specific

Not all specialties are created equal, so why must their software be generic? Basic EHR software works well and is good for general practice and most specialties, but doctors have complained about specialty-specific software not being available on the market. The specialty software has inbuilt recording systems that make specialty practices function efficiently. Only a few vendors provide specialty-specific software, so there aren’t many to choose from. But more vendors are cottoning on to the demand and there should be more options shortly.

Support

Support is a major issue most practices have with their current vendors. A good support team can make small glitches or major roadblocks easy to maneuver, while a bad one will just make things worse. Some vendors provide support as part of the plan you are already paying for, while others charge extra for support. Scout the market, read reviews or just ask point-blank if there will be a special support team assigned to each practitioner and whether you’ll be charged for the service.

Hidden Cost

There are varying price lists out there, some offer free services, while others charge an arm and a leg for specialty services. Either way, there will be hidden costs that you might get to know about later. Fix your budget and talk to vendors you interview about hidden costs within the contract and whether services such as training and support are free.

Mobility

Smartphones have changed the dynamics of mobile usage. Handheld devices are easy to carry around and can be used for any number of purposes. Most people are ditching the cumbersome PC for a handheld device. Doctors mostly use iPads or Tablets in the examination room to take down patient symptoms, check the history and note down the prescription, so the vendor must have a mobile application that is synced with all the mobile devices being used in the practice.

Markets Trends to Be Aware Of

Like anything else, the EMR industry is also subject to constant change. From new technology to legalities and governing bodies, everything is constantly changing. Here are some of the changes that can be applied for you to keep track of:

Meaningful Use Changes

Previously at a health care conference, Andy Slavitt, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, declared that Meaningful Use was over and would be replaced by the end of that year with something better. But a deeper look into the claims revealed that Meaningful Use not only  stayed there but also kept on improving. Because Meaningful Use is the need of the hour today. It not only improves the quality, efficiency and coordination of a patient care but also empowers certified EHR tools securely and efficiently.

Cloud-Based Services

Previously conducted research had found that only 25% of practitioners were interested in a web-based model and only 50% were willing to have it as their initial model that eventually transitioned to cloud-based.

But now, since times have changed it’s no surprise that more and more vendors are transitioning to cloud-based software because demands of the industry are changing. And why not? Cloud-based EHR systems offer simple implementation, tremendous savings, superior accessibility, and collaboration as well as simplified scalability.

Cloud-based EMR software cuts down on steep upfront costs for client-servers and can be hosted on any device that has a web browser.

Latest MIPS Changes To Follow in 2024

Features to look for in an EHR Software

Electronic medical records Electronic health records software (EHR) is 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 followups, and multilocation 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) is one that 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 an 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 starting to use or switch 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 basically 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 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 an 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 helping patients return to the office when necessary and notifying 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 to annotate on 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.  EMR Software designed for hospitals or multi-provider clinics does not necessarily support a solo or 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 own 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 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, medium-sized practices require unique features such as interoperability, dedicated customer support, multi-device support 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, etc. 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) and 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

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. A Cloud-based EHR software is mostly device dependent 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.

The move to the public cloud for healthcare is vital in the current changing landscape. For practices that do not adopt new cloud services, the old inferior feature-set coupled with the higher prices will hinder the business dramatically. This gulf between the old software and the new cloud-based software will only grow more exponentially as time goes on.

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 will not 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’s 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’s 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 to be 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 of 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’s 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

It was revealed in a previous research how only 25% of practitioners were interested in a web-based model and only 50% were willing to have it as an initial model that eventually transitioned to cloud-based. But ever since it has been established that cloud-based EMR software cuts down on steep upfront costs for client-servers and can be hosted on any device that has a web-browser. It’s no surprise how more and more vendors are transitioning to cloud-based software also because the industry demands are changing.

Accessibility

EMR software is quickly widening their range of practice types in order to become more accessible to healthcare services. The amount of people who lack the time and knowledge, who are in health IT, is increasing each year. This makes optimizing these software solutions more difficult as they must now cater to different needs. Douglas W. Bowerman, MD, predicts we will see a “continued trend towards accessibility” in EMRs, both in terms of how we access them – on mobile, for instance – and who can access the software.

Real-time Analytics

Healthcare facilities accumulate massive amounts of patient data. Patient health and financial data lets vendors help physicians with Clinical Decision Support (CDS). Leveraging analytics algorithm predictions can solve interoperability-related accessibility issues. Data warehouse development is also an opportunity to ensure more accurate patient data thanks to automation.

Blockchain

Despite being used more for cryptocurrency and a recent surge in NFT’s, the blockchain has recently found a place in EHR software. The blockchain allows EHR data to be secured through cryptography, making it available only to those who have access to it in the first place. As an example, the blockchain can validate clinical trial and claims results, track medicine distribution and prevent insurance fraud. Although the usage of blockchain in EHR had only just begun since the start of 2022, it’s still being used to secure data and ensure confidentiality.

5G

5G Networks are poised to become the forefront of data communication method in only a few years. They offer up to 100x the speed of contemporary 4G networks yet may still not integrate properly with the current state of healthcare. As it stands, there are many different formats available that are all competing to become the dominant method for EHR communication. As such, medical records are currently spread amongst these different formats; they are incompatible and so the various EHR systems cannot communicate at all. Until a standard is agreed upon, 5G networks will not be able to bypass the bottleneck created by two opposing systems.

Standardization

The current standards that regulate EMR are very lax. Vendors end up having to pay millions in settlement fees due to false claims about meaningful use certifications. However, regulations are becoming far stricter and more transparent to prevent incidents like this happening again. The interface between physicians and medical billing coders will likely become more separate. This is because they both need access to completely unrelated pieces of information, so sharing the same regulations often leads to life – threatening miscommunication.

Patient-Centric Engagement 

In order for EMR/EHR companies to continue to grow, it’s going to require a lot more than simply using existing technology to diagnose your issues. Ensuring patients have consistent engagement throughout the scheduling process is imperative. One of the best ways to boost patient engagement is by increasing your outreach via different social mediums and making content more easily accessible, through patient communities for example. Giving physicians an insight into their patients health has become paramount and has recently been utilized by including data from smart devices in patient reports.

Changing Dynamics

Technology is innovating on a daily basis and constantly influences electronic health records. For example, common AI virtual assistants are beginning to assist healthcare services, speeding up the diagnostic process and increasing efficiency. Other tech giants are also entering the healthcare field, such as Apple and Google. With their massive budgets, they have the ability to invest heavily in R&D without taking many risks. They have also already witnessed the issues that arise from the lack of interoperability in current iterations of EMR software, and are very unlikely to make the same mistakes. This competition is great for consumers and clinicians as it will force EHR vendors to rapidly modernize their systems with far more regular updates, meaning large-scale changes are on the horizon.

Better Patient Access

Despite promising patients access to medical records, this feature has not materialized on EHR systems as of yet. A study in 2019 found that only 10% of patients who had access to their records online actually accessed them; of them, 63% were encouraged to do so by their healthcare providers. In order to prepare for potential regulatory changes in the future, software developers are updating EHR systems to be easier to navigate and better fit the patients needs. Practices themselves are also now providing proper guidance and awareness about the importance of regularly checking one’s own records in order to familiarize themselves before appointments.

EHR Footprint

EHR systems are the forefront supplier for paper-to-screen technology, so it’s imperative for the software to be inclusive towards a wide range of digital capabilities. Implementing better use of data liquidity will allow data to be more accessible, increasing the EHR footprint. This can be done without sacrificing the security of the data. Implementing better interoperable solutions will also expand the footprint, allowing healthcare organizations to better access and exchange patient data.

Increasing the EHR footprint of medical practices has proven to massively improve both efficiency and savings for the industry. In 2005, a RAND study suggested that up to $77 billion could be saved by adopting EHR software. The study was so influential that previously, in 2022, more than 90% of hospitals have adopted complete use of EHR software in their practice.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is rapidly gaining traction for its newfound reputation of completely automating the process of analyzing massive volumes of data for more accurate and faster results. More and more EHR’s are starting to adopt AI-based technology into their software as a means to accurately pinpoint diseases without human intervention. This completely eliminates human error and drastically improves patient outcomes. It also reduces any costs related to manual entry and redundant tasks.

EMR/EHR Software Demand

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, demand for EMR software grew by 5.5%. Hospitalizations rose dramatically around the world, contributing to this rise. The current market is dominated by Cerner Corporation, Epic Systems Corporation, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., GE Healthcare, McKesson Corporation, and NextGen Healthcare. It’s estimated that these market players accounted for almost 65% of the market share in 2021.

Digital Therapeutics 

Digital Therapeutics involves software that can behaviorally alter patients and help treat mental conditions through the use of different interventions. Usually, digital therapeutics are used through smartphones and tablets. The software is quickly being integrated into EHR software and they aim to be more patient-centric. As they begin to meet industry requirements, their popularity will continue to rise and clinical trial results will continue to be published in peer-reviews journals.

Reducing Errors 

In their current state, EHR and EMR software do not properly address medical error prevention. Previously, illegible handwriting on paper prescriptions were blamed, but over-reliance on computers to supply the correct doses for medication can prove to be equally as dangerous. For example, a 16-year old patient in 2013 was prescribed 38 tablets of medication, but it turned out to be an overdose for someone of that age. These sorts of errors are far more common than we would like to believe. In the future, EMR and EHR software developers are striving to dramatically reduce these errors by de-cluttering the physician notification center which could cause less time spent attending to patients. Currently, details such as patient implants may not be added to the system before radio-logical imaging since EHRs don’t actually have a standard place to store notes.

Search-ability 

One of the biggest hassles in dealing with current EMR / EHR software is being able to easily navigate through mountains of data. Despite large leaps in technology in recent years, EMR / EHR software is clearly behind in terms of its ease-of-use and User Interfaces. Electronic Health Records are designed for easier data access than paper files, and EMR vendors are starting to implement updated iterations of their user interface in their software to better achieve this goal.

Wearable Devices 

Largely spearheaded by big tech companies such as Apple, wearable devices are surging in popularity in medical fields – the market is expected to grow 26.8% from 2022 till 2028.The devices have allowed healthcare metrics to become far more accessible and have, in turn, made medical diagnosis simpler. Integrating the data from wearable devices to Electronic Health Records (EHR) has the potential to massively improve patient healthcare. The devices include various different sensors that can track body activity and monitor environmental factors. Currently, they come in many different forms, such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and specialized apps on mobile phones.

Easy Access

The Healthcare industry is adapting the latest technologies not to only secure, but to also provide fast and easy access for patients to their own data. Patients need to be informed and engage timely so that they will have a better trust level with their provider. To achieve greater health outcomes, we will continue to see this trend for a longer period.

Widespread Interoperability 

Electronic Medical Records don’t offer patients the ability to access their own records across multiple healthcare organizations due to the lack of data-sharing standards set between different practices. This causes significant problems for patients who receive care for multiple different centers. The issue also makes diagnosis of patients harder for physicians and healthcare providers. Due to this, EMR/EHR providers are updating their software to include interoperability and integration features to allow data to be shared between these different organizations.

Cyber Security

As we progress into 2024, cyber security 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 trend in EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software is gravitating towards increased customization and modular design. This shift is driven by the diverse and evolving needs of healthcare providers across various specialties. 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 not only improves user satisfaction but also facilitates better patient care by providing clinicians with tools that are more aligned 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 systems’ 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 EMR systems 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, which also results 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 EMR systems. To further reduce costs, it’s projected that the integration of EMR systems with other digital health tools will reduce the number of redundant tests and procedures. EMR systems, in short, have 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 analyse 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 under-served 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 in minimizing 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.

Ethical Considerations

As we advance into the future, ethical considerations surrounding the use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are becoming increasingly critical. The confidentiality and privacy of patient information stand at the forefront of these concerns, demanding stringent security measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and breaches. In addition to privacy, there is a growing emphasis on equity and fairness in EMR accessibility, ensuring that all patients, regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location, benefit equally from the technological advancements in healthcare. Furthermore, the integrity of patient information raises ethical questions about the accuracy and completeness of records, highlighting the importance of maintaining high standards in data entry and management. Ethical use of EHR also encompasses the responsible application of predictive analytics and AI, ensuring that these technologies do not introduce bias or compromise patient care. As the healthcare sector continues to embrace digital transformation, navigating these ethical challenges with a patient-centered approach will be paramount in fostering trust and delivering equitable, high-quality care.

Precision Medicine and Genomics Integration

As the medical field progresses, the integration of precision medicine and genomics into healthcare practices is becoming increasingly vital. Precision medicine’s aim to tailor treatment and prevention strategies to individual genetic profiles is revolutionizing patient care. This personalized approach is heavily reliant on the integration of genomic data into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, allowing for seamless access to patient genetic information by healthcare providers. Such integration facilitates the identification of genetic predispositions to diseases, enabling earlier and more targeted interventions. Furthermore, it supports the development of customized treatment plans that are more effective and have fewer side effects. The ethical management of this sensitive genetic data, ensuring privacy and informed consent, remains a paramount concern. As we move forward, the fusion of precision medicine and genomics with digital health records promises to enhance the effectiveness of healthcare delivery, making it more personalized, predictive, and preventive.

Enhanced Data Security and Privacy

As we navigate deeper into the digital era, enhancing data security and privacy within healthcare systems, particularly in Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platforms, has emerged as a paramount concern. The surge in digital health data necessitates robust security measures to protect sensitive patient information from cyber threats and breaches. Innovations in encryption technologies and the adoption of blockchain are pivotal in fortifying EMR systems against unauthorized access, ensuring that patient records are both secure and tamper-proof. Furthermore, stringent adherence to data protection regulations, such as HIPAA in the United States, reinforces the legal framework for privacy and security. Educating healthcare professionals on best practices for data handling and implementing advanced user authentication mechanisms are critical steps in mitigating risks. As healthcare continues to embrace technology, prioritizing data security and privacy will be essential in maintaining patient trust and upholding the integrity of healthcare delivery.

Cross-Sector Data Integration for Holistic Health

As healthcare systems evolve, the concept of cross-sector data integration is becoming increasingly essential for achieving holistic health outcomes. Integrating data from diverse sectors such as healthcare, social services, and environmental agencies into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems enables a more comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing individual and community health. This holistic approach facilitates the identification of social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status, education, and living conditions, which are crucial for tailoring preventive and therapeutic interventions. The challenge lies in developing interoperable systems that can seamlessly exchange data while maintaining strict privacy and security standards. As we move forward, leveraging big data analytics and AI will be key in synthesizing these vast datasets to provide actionable insights. Embracing this cross-sectoral data integration will not only enhance patient care but also foster a proactive, preventive healthcare model that addresses all facets of health determinants.

Meaningful Use or MACRA

Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization 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)

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athenaOne: A Powerful Medical App Loved by Doctors

Developed by athenahealth EHR Software, athenaOne is among the top rated medical apps on the Apple App Store. athenaOne has garnered this reputation largely due to the many benefits and conveniences which it offers, through its robust set of tools and features.

Its ease of use and intuitive user interface has made it a favourite among US healthcare providers, helping practices beat industry benchmarks. Doctors have noted faster workflows, which allow them to quickly complete notes and place orders.

athenaOne currently sits at a 4.6-star rating on Apple’s App Store, and is more than powerful enough to support healthcare providers through their day!