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Kareo Review: Best EMR System for Small Practices

Kareo Review: Best EMR System for Small Practices
Credit: a2studio/Shutterstock

After conducting our 2018 research and analysis of electronic medical records (EMR) systems, we recommend Kareo as best EMR system for small practices.

We chose Kareo from a pool of dozens of EMR systems. To learn more about our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of EMR solutions, see Business News Daily's best picks.

Small practices require an electronic medical record (EMR) system that won't break the bank, but will work correctly the first time without an implementation process that causes delays and headaches. Sometimes, that can be a difficult solution to find.

Kareo, our best pick for EMR systems for small practices, offers an affordable electronic health record (EHR) system that works well and is easy to learn and use. That means you can focus more on providing care than installing and maintaining your EHR, which makes Kareo ideal for small practices that can't afford to lose any time to training or a botched implementation.

Kareo excels in both price and ease of use. It offers an all-in-one EHR and practice management system that include billing and telemedicine, allowing small practices to gain a comprehensive overview of their practice on a single platform. Kareo is focused specifically on small practices, opting to work primarily with practices that have one to six providers. There are also no setup fees or long-term contracts with Kareo. Here's a look at why Kareo is our best pick for EHR systems for small practices.

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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Kareo offers a clean, simple user experience that is uncommon among the EHR systems we reviewed. It appears easy to navigate and access each module of the software, even when the integrated practice management system is added on. Kareo includes useful features like a patient portal, which allows patients to schedule their visits and fill out intake forms before contacting the practice. A scheduling tool and calendar are also available to the practice, so when the front office receives a call from a patient they can immediately schedule the appointment on the system. Kareo also offers a telemedicine feature for providers to examine patients over video chat.

Users log in to the cloud-based applications via a web browser (Firefox or Chrome are recommended). Upon signing in, users will see the daily patient schedule and any appointments that have been listed on the system. In the top left corner of the screen, icons that allow users to navigate available Kareo modules are displayed. Only the modules a practice subscribes to will be available to click. From left to right, the module icons are platform, clinical EHR, billing, and marketing. Here's a brief rundown of each tab and what functions it supports:

  • The platform module contains tabs for general information, including the current agenda, patient profiles, and the practice calendar.
  • The clinical module includes tabs like "clinical tasks," which show any assignments that have been added to a user or provider on the EHR system, and "clinical reports," which allow users to generate specific reports based on system data. This is also where functions like prescribing, lab testing, and referrals are completed.
  • The billing module is home to practice management and revenue cycle management functions, like claims scrubbing and submission, as well as revenue analytics.
  • The marketing module allows users to gather data about provider performance and patient feedback, as well as a tool that can broadcast a message to all patients via the patient portal.

Kareo's implementation support is fully included in the subscription price. Each Kareo account comes with a dedicated liaison from the company that helps guide your practice through the onboarding process and ensures certain benchmarks are hit, such as setting up e-prescribing or patient registry.

Implementation is generally quick and easy with Kareo. First, an account is created and a kickoff call is held, where every user that will be on the system is set up. From there, the staff can go through different one-on-one training courses designed specifically for their department. Courses include provider training, clinical assistant training, office manager training, and biller training. In addition to one-on-one training, there are also pre-recorded webinars that staff can use on their own time. Scheduling and clinical features can be used in the same day the account is activated and are subject only to how quickly staff can learn the system.

E-prescribing can sometimes take a bit longer because the system has to be configured to interface with the appropriate pharmacies. Implementation of e-prescribing can take up to a week. Finally, setting up insurance billing for Medicare and Medicaid can sometimes take up to four to six weeks, so Kareo works to get all other aspects of the EHR implemented with four to six weeks remaining before the desired go-live date.

Kareo's pricing is straightforward and all-inclusive. For a standalone EHR system, Kareo charges $300 per provider per month. For an integrated practice management system along with an EHR system, Kareo charges $500 per provider per month. Neither pricing plan includes any additional startup fees or contracts.

Pricing includes all EHR features, as well as implementation support and training. Kareo specifically aims to work with small practices, generally in the one to six provider range.

Kareo's customer service was excellent in our experience. We called posing as a small, soon-to-open practice with five medical providers. We asked for a quote for both the standalone EHR and the integrated practice management system, as well as information about what we could expect through implementation. The sales representative was forthcoming, friendly and knowledgable enough to answer our additional questions in detail.

In addition to answering all of our questions and promptly providing a quote, the representative provided us with a new practice checklist and an EHR feature comparison checklist for use in our research, even though we remained non-committal about purchasing Kareo's EHR system during our call. We made initial contact with Kareo's sales team via live chat, and then spoke with a representative on the phone as well. Both interactions were informative and helpful.

Customer support, which comes included with the subscription price and is fully U.S.-based, is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Kareo also maintains a number of online resources, including written material and videos, on its website under the help section.

For the price, Kareo is a great system that checks all the major boxes small practices need. However, even some satisfied users noted in their reviews that Kareo is somewhat lean and basic. When it comes to bells and whistles, Kareo was definitely lacking, but we found that its core competencies were well-designed and effective for a small practice. For that reason, Kareo remains our best pick for electronic health records for small businesses.

Ready to choose an EHR system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

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 received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.