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Best Electronic Medical Records Systems for 2018

Best Electronic Medical Records Systems for 2018
Credit: pandpstock001/Shutterstock

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are immensely complicated systems that bring together administrative and clinical aspects of running a medical practice or hospital. EMRs are a critical component of modern patient care and medical recordkeeping, but their adoption has been sluggish and difficult for many in the healthcare industry.

There are many things to consider when selecting an electronic health record (EHR) system. Naturally the cost, ease of use, and how the solution is hosted (in the cloud or on premises) are top considerations, but there are also crucial priorities like implementation process and training support, interoperability with other systems, and your practice's specific workflow. EHRs are often highly customizable, and what works for one team won't necessarily work for another, so it's essential to get a full demo of each solution before deciding what to buy.

Editor's note: Looking for an electronic health records system for your medical practice? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Before we dive into the best picks, it's important to understand the nuances between EMRs and EHRs. Many in the industry use the terms interchangeable, as we do here in our reviews, but there are subtle differences that are important to note.

Electronic medical records, or EMR systems, are essentially digitized versions of old medical paper records. They are superior to paper records in that they create an easily accessible, centrally located document that can be used to track data over time and generate important reports to help healthcare providers offer better care to their patients. EMRs represent an important departure from the analog medical world into the digital, but they are not the modern standard of healthcare information technology.

Electronic health records, or EHR systems, are generally what is referred to whenever either term is used today. EHR software differs from EMR systems in that EHRs can communicate with one another and transmit important data, such as patient records, prescriptions and lab orders. EMRs technically can't do that, even though industry players, including some medical software companies, sometimes refer to their solutions as EMR software. All the solutions we reviewed are interoperable EHRs that can order labs, prescriptions, communicate with patients, and provide a 360-degree view of a practice's operations.

AdvancedMD wins our overall pick for best EHR system because it offers a variety of pricing models and implementation packages that suit a variety of budgetary and training requirements, as well as reliable and easy-to-learn software. AdvancedMD is an integrated EHR and practice management system that can incorporate either the company's in-house solution or a third-party solution; the company maintains partnerships with more than 700 billers.

Training is ongoing after the go-live date and is included in the price, and AdvancedMD maintains a 24/7 help desk, which set it apart from many other EHR vendors we reviewed. The company comes with integrations to two major labs, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, but it also extends APIs to any willing third party, such as additional labs, hospitals or pharmacies with unsupported EHR systems. To learn more about AdvancedMD's EHR solutions, read Business News Daily's full review.

Kareo is an EHR vendor that focuses on small practices, generally those with 1-6 total providers. Between its ease of use, rapid implementation and low cost, Kareo is a great solution for a practice that needs to get up and running quickly and doesn't want to spend a fortune. All of Kareo's support and features are included in its subscription price, quoted to us at $300 per provider per month for a stand-alone EHR system and $500 per provider per month for an integrated EHR and practice management system.

Kareo's implementation support includes a dedicated account manager who monitors certain benchmarks to ensure your practice meets every deadline on the road to its go-live date. It also includes specialized training courses for users in different departments, including providers, billers and office managers. Kareo's strongest features are its all-inclusive pricing and low learning curve, making it easy to deploy quickly. To learn more about Kareo's EHR solutions, read Business News Daily's full review.

NueMD is our best pick for specialists because it offers highly customizable templates for more than 100 specialties, far more than the other systems we reviewed. NueMD's adaptability scored it big points for this use case because we were looking for a system flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of specialties, rather than one designed narrowly for a single specialty.

Because NueMD's EHR solutions are highly customized, the company does not publish pricing information. However, we contacted the company to obtain an estimated cost for an EHR system built to serve a medical practice with five providers who would use the system. According to the sales representative, the features we requested would cost about $1,025 per provider per month. Overall, NueMD's versatility is what sets it apart, and the system can be tailored in such a way that it doesn't break your budget. For more information on NueMD's EHR solutions, read Business News Daily's full review.

To determine our best picks for EHRs, we reviewed a list of more than 40 vendors. We examined their websites, marketing materials, user reviews, and Better Business Bureau scores to narrow our initial list down.

After this initial round, we were left with 15 finalists, which we reviewed in depth to determine the very best. We evaluated our finalists on the following criteria:

  • Estimated cost
  • Ease of use
  • Practice management integrations
  • Patient portal
  • Interoperability
  • Implementation support
  • Meaningful Use Stage III
  • Customer service
  • Free trial or demo experience

To gather information and assess the quality of each best pick's customer service, we called each company and identified ourselves as working for a small medical practice that would open soon. 

To estimate the cost of each system – which varies widely depending on what it includes, what optional features are available and the size of a practice – we consistently stated to sales representatives that we would opt for cloud hosting and integrated practice management, and that our practice consisted of five providers. We based our price estimates on pricing we were given for those parameters.

Here is a comprehensive list of EHR vendors. This alphabetical list also includes the recommendations mentioned above. 

Advanced Data Systems  This company's MedicsEHR is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II and ICD-10 ready. The system includes options for integrated practice management, billing and revenue cycle management. Live demonstrations are available through Adsc.com

AdvancedMD – AdvancedEHR is integrated with scheduling and billing software, and it includes a cloud-based option. AdvancedMD also offers an iOS mobile application. It is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready. More information can be found at AdvancedMD.com

Allscripts – Allscripts Professional EHR is designed for small and midsize practices. It offers strong interoperability with labs and pharmacies, Meaningful Use Stage II certification, and ICD-10 preparedness. Request product demonstrations at Allscripts.com

Amazing Charts – Amazing Charts is designed by a doctor for usability and affordability. It is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready, and it offers integrated practice management. Free trial and demonstration videos are available at AmazingCharts.com

athenahealth – athenahealth's cloud-based system offers integrated practice management and billing software and Meaningful Use Stage II certification, as well as ICD-10 preparedness. Request a live demonstration or view a product demonstration video at athenahealth.com.

CareCloud – CareCloud is a specialty-driven EHR and practice management solution focused on ease of use and implementation. It is suitable for practices of all sizes and can be tailored to suit your specific needs. More information is available at CareCloud.com.

Cerner – Cerner's EHR system is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II and ICD-10 ready. It offers integrated practice management and billing systems, and it aims to maximize engagement between physicians and patients. More information is available at Cerner.com.

ChartLogic – ChartLogic is an EHR that focuses on voice recognition and commands, believing that hands-free, accurate navigation is essential to keep providers engaged with their patients instead of occupied with a computer. It supports a variety of specialties and offers the flexibility to suit a variety of needs. More information is available at ChartLogic.com.

ChartPerfect  Formerly known as Acrendo Software, this EHR system is available in client-server or cloud-based options, certified for Meaningful Use Stage II, and ICD-10 ready. It also offers integrated practice management and revenue-cycle management software. Product demonstrations are available at ChartPerfect.com

CompuGroup Medical – CompuGroup's EHR includes an integrated practice management system and is available in a web-based version. Video demonstrations are available at CGM.com.

Core Solutions Inc. - An EHR solution for behavioral health as well as health and human services practices. Learn more at coresolutionsinc.com.

eClinical Works – eClinical Works' 10e EHR includes electronic referrals, hospital interoperability and data reporting on healthcare records. Other features and live demonstrations are available at eClinicalWorks.com.

Elation Health – Elation Health aims to minimize the number of clicks and navigation needed for providers to access all facets of clinical care. It attempts to streamline workflows so providers can do more with fewer clicks. The company also offers 24/7 support, 365 days a week. More information is available at ElationHealth.com.

eMDs – Both MU Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready, eMDs focuses on usability and capturing clinical and billing data. It also offers cloud-based hosting. A free trial is available at e-MDs.com.

Epic – EpicCare EHR offers an integrated practice management system, MU Stage II certification and ICD-10 preparedness. Epic touts its interoperability across the continuum of care as a hallmark of the system. More information is available at Epic.com.

Evident – The Thrive EHR application from Evident is built for rural communities, hospitals and practices. The system offers integrated practice management, billing and financial management software. Find out more at CPSI.com.

General Electric – GE Centricity EHR is designed to work with practice management systems at large practices. Customizable to individual workflows, the system promises seamless interoperability, MU Stage II certification and ICD-10 readiness. Webinars and more information are available at GEHealthcare.com.

Greenway – Greenway Health's Prime Suite is ICD-10 ready and MU Stage II certified. It offers an integrated EHR/practice management system that it calls usable and flexible. More information and video demonstrations are available at GreenwayHealth.com.

Healthland – Healthland's Ambulatory EHR offers a Windows-based, customizable user interface. It includes referral management software, an integrated task manager and e-prescribing. More information is available at Healthland.com.

Kareo – Kareo is a free, cloud-based EHR that is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready. It offers secure messaging, an integrated patient portal and a comprehensive dashboard. More information and video demonstrations are available at Kareo.com.

LeonardoMD – A web-based EHR with an integrated billing and practice management system, LeonardoMD offers customizable workflows, tutorials and one-on-one implementation consultants. Request a live demonstration at LeonardoMD.com.

McKesson – McKesson's EHR hosts an integrated practice management system, is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II and comes ICD-10 ready. Both client-server and cloud-based, McKesson aims to tailor its system to the size of the practice using it. Video demonstrations are available at McKesson.com.

MEDENT – MEDENT's EHR offers mobile access, billing and practice management software. It is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready, and it can be configured for client-server or cloud hosting. Find out more at MEDENT.com.

MEDHOST – This EHR system is designed to eliminate dropdown menus and unnecessary screens for simplicity and usability. MEDHOST boasts strong interoperability with hospital systems, labs and pharmacies. It can operate through an iPad application. Schedule a demonstration at MEDHOST.com.

Meditech – Meditech's EHR system focuses on data sharing and interoperability. It is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready. Meditech offers a web-based option and is mobile friendly. More information is available at Meditech.com.

Modernizing Medicine – Built "from the ground up" by a doctor, Modernizing Medicine is an iPad-native EHR tailored for the specific needs of various specialists. It is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II and comes ICD-10 ready. Live demonstrations are available for scheduling at ModMed.com.

NextGen – NextGen's EHR, formerly known as MediTouch, focuses on ease of use, integration with practice management and billing systems, and interoperability. It is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II and is ICD-10 ready. demonstrations are available at NextGen.com.

NueMD – Nuesoft's NueMD EHR system supports more than 100 specialties, which makes it one of the most versatile solutions we reviewed. It is ICD-10 ready, highly interoperable and Meaningful Use II certified. Find out more at NueMD.com.

Nextech – Nextech's EHR primarily supports three specialties – ophthalmology, plastic surgery and dermatology – and can integrate with the company's practice management solutions. Nextech offers an iOS mobile application, so providers can retrieve data on the go, and even chart anywhere. Learn more at Nextech.com.

Practice Fusion – Practice Fusion is a free, cloud-based EHR that organizes every feature into one local dashboard. It operates across all devices, and is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready. Video demonstration and downloads are available at PracticeFusion.com.

Praxis – Praxis EMR is one of our best picks for small practices. The system uses AI and machine-learning algorithms to save physicians time in predictable situations. It also eschews traditional templates in favor of cause-effect triggers known as agents. Find out more at PraxisEMR.com.

Quest Diagnostics – The Care360 EHR includes e-prescribing, secure messaging and multisystem interoperability. It is certified for Meaningful Use Stage II, ICD-10 ready and available on mobile platforms. Request a demonstration at QuestDiagnostics.com.

ReLi Med – ReLi Med EHR shows high satisfaction in user reviews; users praise its excellent interfacing and interoperability as well as its selection of specialties. Customers also reported excellent support and technical training from the company. Find out more at ReLiMed.com.

Sevocity – At $359 after startup costs, Sevocity is an affordable EHR solution that promises a customized experience, specialty-specific features and a patient portal. Sevocity is Meaningful Use Stage II certified. Find out more information at Sevocity.com.

WEBeDoctor – WEBeDoctor prides itself on adaptability to individual workflows. The EHR offers an integrated practice management and billing system as well as connectivity between your devices through the cloud. It is Meaningful Use Stage II certified and ICD-10 ready. More information is available at WEBeDoctor.com.

WorldVistA – The official EHR of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA-CPRS is available for demonstration download and trial at WorldVistA.org.

WRS Health – This extremely interoperable EHR features several of the most used interface engines, meaning you can all but guarantee it will communicate with other members of the healthcare ecosystem. Starting at $299 per user per month, WRS Health is a reasonably affordable EHR system with highly customizable workflows and templates. Find out more at WRSHealth.com.

If you'd like your company to be added to this list and possibly considered as a best pick for our next round of reviews, please email your request to b2bconsiderrequest@business.com.

Editor's note: Looking for an electronic health records system for your medical practice? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Adam C. Uzialko

Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for a variety of outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.