• Free EMRs and open-source cons
  • Free EMRs and open-source pros
  • Is The ROI of EMR worth it?
  • EMR facts

Are free EMRs effective?

Before we answer, are free Emrs effective? Firstly, let’s go back in time to get perspective. Distinctively, EMR (Electronic Medical record) is not to be confused with EHR (Electronic Health Record). While it’s no denying that EMR is better than paper records, EMRs were built to keep patients’ data in an electronic manner. Thus, getting rid of paper and the complexity of maintaining paper records forever. Way too early, in the late 1960s, it was Larry Weed who first came up with the concept of EMR.

The target was to produce an electronic record while allowing third parties to verify the diagnosis independently. Of course, Larry Weed’s vision was in the clinical information management realm. Back then, we called these types of systems hospital information systems. What are the components of EMRs?

1- Interoffice connections

2- Support for clinical decisions

3- Receiving and requesting imaging reports/labs

4- Management for documents

5- Prescriptions

6- Documentation for patient encounters

7- Scheduling

8- Patient Registration

Cons of Free EMRs and Open-source Systems

Free EMRs and open-source patient management systems can seem like a good idea for your practice…But are free EMRs effective?

These platforms come free for your practice to use, but some factors should be considered when implementing such systems. Let’s first review the cost of a “free EMR.”

Out-of-the-box solutions

Are free EMRs effective? Many of these EMRs are out-of-the-box solutions. That means they are built to be used as they are. There is no real way of getting a hold of developers that will customize any aspect of the EMR to fit the workflow and needs of your center. For example, let’s say you would like to add a question or section to ask if a patient has allergies to blood thinners. This would require an engineer to look into the source code of the EMR, update it, test it, and deploy it.

Storage of Data

One thing to consider is your patient’s data safety with free EMRs. As a practice, you would be responsible for the integrity and security of the data. You must follow all HIPAA regulations and best practices with setting up servers, securing your database, and monitoring for potential attacks. To store the data, you will need to either set up a cloud service or build and maintain your own servers. This will require an IT expert to build and oversee.

This free EMR is looking to be more complicated, right? As a healthcare organization, you will carry the costs for infrastructure, hardware, and maintenance for this “free EMR”.

Training and Ease of Use

Training is an important aspect of implementing an EMR in any practice or ambulatory surgical center. Someone at your practice would be responsible for becoming an expert in this EMR and be able to train the rest of the team. This would require them to spend a good chunk of time getting familiar with this EMR system and understanding all the functionalities and how to apply it to your center. Some free EMRs offer training and support, but that does come at an additional cost. Ease of use is an important thing to keep in mind when choosing an EMR. Making adjustments to simplify the workflow will require engineering efforts and possibly UX design experts to come in and evaluate best practices.

Pros of Free EMRs and Open-source systems

Yes, there are some pros to EMRs and open-source platforms. The significant pros include the fact that the open-source community is famous for being collaborative. Moreover, they constantly work on enhancing the software’s performance. Also, they share their results so everyone can benefit from the updates.

Furthermore, you can easily acquire open-source EMRs by downloading them from the web. Meaning you can play and test the software before implementation. Additionally, open-source EMRs are very flexible compared to proprietary EMRs. The latter is stricter in terms of structure and doesn’t allow you to add modifications to the source code. In terms of functionality, open source encourages interoperability and reduces obstacles sometimes to applying it.

Is The ROI of EMR worth it?

Is The ROI of EMR worth it? Maybe. Is the ROI of a free EMR worth it? Mostly like not.

EMRs produce the biggest gains in reduced overhead, on-demand access, and efficient billing. However, you might not detect the return on investment in the early months. EMR systems achieve long-term conveniences and short-term overhead reductions, which are almost impossible to quantify. Thus, it is worth every dime.

Need to figure out the ROI of your practice? Let us help with that.

What is the best EMR for your practice?

To determine What is the best EMR for your practice? You need to follow these steps:

1- What functionalities are most important to you? Set apart the minor and major functionalities.

2- What is your staff’s workflow? Focus on solutions that align with your practice’s workflow.

3- What products are available and affordable to you? Choose at least five.

4- Watch the screenshots, demos, and reviews of these products.

5- Set meetings with the vendors before you pick a product.

EMR facts

We answered your question are free EMRs effective? And now, here are some EMR facts for your general knowledge.

1- 41% of physicians own EMR systems that can promptly offer patients access to medical records.

2- 62% of patients want to communicate with the main doctors online. However, only 46% of doctors have EMRs allowing patient-specific information communication.

3- 65% of patients need reminders for appointments through email. Yet only 44% of doctors have EMR systems providing follow-up based on guidelines.

4- In the last 18 months, 150M$ In venture capital has poured into the EMR/HER market.

5- Normally, EMRs face many obstacles when trying to meet the specialty needs of Family medicine and Internal Medicine.

In conclusion, we’ve taken you through a journey that will enlighten your future choices. You are now aware of the pros and cons of free EMR software and free EMR systems. As well as investigating your exact needs and matching them with the best solution. The market is ready for you; choose wisely!

For more information on EMRs, we’re ready to hear your inquiries. Contact Ambula Healthcare Team at (818) 308-4108! And now check out How real time data can improve patient care!

Published On: December 21st, 2021Categories: Healthcare EMR Software

About the Author: Khalil

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