Gone are the times when doctors kept all the patients' records manually. As at 2021, almost every clinic in the USA and Europe uses various EMR systems and EHR software to manage their clients’ information and coordinate interactions with it. How do new technologies help your organization, business, or website? In our blog post, you’ll learn the difference between EMR and EHR, find out basic features of this type of software, and also discover how to create an EHR and how much it will cost.
Table of contents
Types of Systems for Digital Records
How to Build an EHR System – Best Practices
Developing Features for EHR Apps
Types of Systems for Digital Records
EMR stands for Electronic Medical Records, while EHR means Electronic Health Records software. Which system is for you? In essence, both deal with digital documents that belong to any kind of medical facility. Those documents may include the patient’s personal information, treatment history and plans, interactions with third-party organizations, etc. Sometimes the terms “Electronic Medical Records software” and “Electronic Health Records software” appear as synonyms, but most doctors, officials, and web developers distinguish between them.
Two systems to keep patients' records
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
EMR systems belong to only one medical facility. A hospital’s staff keeps those digital records in a database and does not exchange data with other professionals. There are many types of EMR systems for small medical practices allowing to:
- monitor an individual disease’s treatment;
- see blood test results, MRT, etc;
- track all data records within a practice;
- check overall health conditions;
- see reminders to invite certain patients for planned check-ups.
Read also: 5-Step-Guide to Developing a Health App
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
EHR, or Electronic Health Records software, is designed for sharing digital information between various medical professionals and healthcare providers. The latter may include hospitals, clinics, small practices, telehealth web and mobile applications, walk-in clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, imaging facilities, medical equipment companies, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the primary difference between EMR and EHR systems is that the first one simply stores data while the second enables integration and safe access via standards like HL7, CCD, CCA, and CCR. This type of medical record-keeping software works as an API-enabled database. When you deal with Electronic Health Records software, you need to ensure data security, maintenance, and backup. There are several types of Electronic Health Record systems:
- Software – data is physically kept on a doctor’s server, which might be beneficial for larger practices.
- ASP (Application Service Provider) – records are stored on a third party’s server, making the process easier for small and medium-sized practices.
- SaaS (Software as a Service) – this EHR system operates via a cloud provided by hospitals or other third-party vendors.
- Cloud – upgrades advantages of SaaS by adding back-office services into the system.
EHR systems can store data in different ways
In most cases, the same applies to the types of Electronic Medical Record systems. Your company can choose from suitable options, according to current size and needs, future plans, and other parameters.
Why you Need it – Benefits of EHR Software
You probably already have an idea for a new EHR system to fulfill all your demands or maybe for upgrading the software you currently use. The scope of your project may differ, for instance:
- an Electronic Medical Records system for a single hospital;
- all physicians’ connection within a clinic and implementation of billing functions;
- switching from paper system to EMR software;
- a custom Electronic Medical Records system for an EHR startup;
- developing EHR/EMR systems for a group practice.
All you need to do if you want to build EMR or EHR software for your medical organization
Exceed Team’s experience: We advise you to be as much specific as possible about the scope and details when discussing your project with developers and business analysts. It helps to define more exact time for building custom Electronic Medical Records software, cost estimates, and other significant information.
With EHR/EMR systems, you’ll gain lots of advantages – saved time, increased security, and easier data management, to name a few. Let’s discover more reasons to build EMR and EHR systems for healthcare providers. 1. Reduction of routine search and paperwork. It only takes several clicks to enter, find, share, update, print, or use any other way to manage patient-related data. 2. Easier arrangements and synchronization. Your employees can quickly manage online appointments, set alerts and notifications, synchronize doctors’ assignments, and coordinate the whole workflow. 3. Secure storage. Electronic Medical Records software allows keeping encrypted data in one place to prevent it from being lost or stolen. The system works via authorized access only, which enables safe data transfer. 4. Reduction of human error. According to the recent study from PubMed Central, electronic prescriptions and other types of EMR systems decrease misspellings and other mistakes up to 35% during a year. 5. Easier accounting and billing. Insurance and accounting systems integration will save your medical facility much time. Patients can use EHR/EMR systems to scan insurance cards, and then healthcare providers have access to that information at any time. 6. Enhanced access to information. This is relevant for all parties – medical specialists, patients or relatives. Users have profiles in the EMR/EHR system that enable them to learn quickly and remotely about their analyses, diagnoses, and prescriptions. The software seamlessly transfers encrypted data between clinics, laboratories, and other healthcare providers. 7. Quick and easy communication. There are protected online chats in many types of EMR systems, allowing patients to ask questions 24/7 and get quick answers from medical personnel. Personal automated notifications remind patients about appointments, prescriptions, check-ups, and other important events.
EMR and EHR software enhances work processes for doctors and nurses
How to Build an EHR System – Best Practices
ONC and EuroRec Certification
When you develop medical record-keeping software, certification is one of the crucial steps. It proves for users that your system works legally and medical data is safely kept. What kind of certification do you go through? It depends on the country. For instance:
- In the USA, there is an ONC certification provided by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
- In the EU, you should meet the standards of EuroRec certification.
Both ONC and EuroRec work in a similar way, ensuring healthcare providers and their clients that Electronic Medical Records software is legal and secure.
GDPR and HIPAA Compliance
GDPR and HIPAA compliance is significantly important for all types of Electronic Health Record systems. These regulations overlap when it comes to security:
- GDPR protects any kind of sensitive personal data;
- HIPAA applies specifically to Protected Health Information (PHI).
Interested in learning more about medical data security, data encryption and storage, backups, user authentication, and access control? Check a detailed article with HIPAA Compliance Checklist in our blog.
Data Transfer Security
Once you start implementing an Electronic Medical Records system for your organization, you’ll need to migrate your existing patients’ data (from hand-written sources or text documents) to digital software. It’s quite possible that you’ll have to hire extra employees for the data transfer task.
Exceed Team’s experience: You may also need a competent administrator to manage your EHR/EMR software and update patients’ medical history.
Custom EMR and EHR systems work as both web and mobile applications. A web version allows using particular features better, while a mobile version enables convenient, fast, 24/7 access to your services and enhances patient-doctor communication. Besides, decide on operating systems (iOS and Android) for your medical record-keeping software. Enable all users to resolve treatment-related issues on the go, and they will be more inclined to choose your facility among others.
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As long as you implement your new EHR software, you’ll be carefully monitoring its profitability and popularity. Here are several key metrics that you could use:
- ROI (Return on Investment);
- Doctors’ feedback (satisfaction with new EMR and EHR systems)
- Patients’ feedback (changes in quality care);
- Mistake rates and overall performance.
Read also: Healthcare Cybersecurity Framework
Developing Features for EHR Apps
All types of Electronic Medical Record systems consist of various modules. e.g. a Charting Module with documentation, Scheduling module for appointments and billing integrations, Telemedicine Module with chats and other types of remote consultation, etc. Let’s learn more about the core features of Electronic Medical Records software.
This feature allows your personnel to add and manage each patient’s healthcare information, e.g., treatment history, and also various personal data, e.g., first/last name, age, gender, address, insurance, and more. All this information must be encrypted during transmission, and only authorized employees should get access to the contents of a Patient Profile.
This is how a patient profile may look like
Read also: The role of IoT in healthcare: advantages, popular segments in medicine and integration with clinic applications
Electronic Document Management
All types of EMR systems are aimed at providing convenient work with healthcare documents like test results, clinical records, etc. Electronic Document Management helps create a user-friendly interface for doctors, lab workers, and other healthcare providers. Moreover, think about chart templates for your Electronic Medical Records system. They’re excellent time-savers, and making them customizable will eliminate lots of paperwork and boost productivity.
Exceed Team’s experience: If your medical facility is large enough, you can extend functions of chart templates by adding machine learning algorithms. They will be analyzing your employees’ data input history and then automatically suggest information for cells.
This feature in Electronic Medical Records software enables remote prescribing, which is essential for many groups of patients, especially those with chronic illnesses. You may include additional functions to this module, such as notifications about doses and side effects, or integrations with nearby pharmacies.
This feature in Electronic Health Records software allows patients to communicate with physicians remotely. You can start with implementing a text chat and then add an option to use multimedia content like photos and videos. Remember that all information in the chat must be secure and meet HIPAA regulations.
You’ll find this feature in all types of EMR systems, as it gives doctors complete access to their patients’ treatment process. This includes general and individual statistics, text data, pie charts, test results, and much more. The feature saves a lot of time and provides sufficient information for medical specialists to supervise patients’ treatment progress 24/7.
Typically, this feature is realized as a convenient in-app calendar that enables patients to schedule appointments with their doctors. It’s easy to arrange and rearrange the medical consultation – a patient makes changes online and waits for the doctor to approve.
Scheduling an appointment with a doctor for a chosen date and time
When you build EMR and EHR systems, you can integrate various additional services for your patients. Those include associated laboratories, nearby drug stores, health insurance providers, and other related organizations. For example, a lab integration can send test results directly to your EMR/EHR system and then show them to physicians and patients via an app. Another example: the medical record-keeping software that sends electronic prescriptions to the local pharmacy. Third-party integrations save lots of time and let patients start their treatment faster.
This feature is critical for HIPAA compliance and safety within all types of Electronic Health Record systems. It gives your personnel different access levels and monitors all activity. Normally, doctors can view any information about their patients, while nurses see only general data like names, scheduled appointments, etc.
Exceed Team’s experience: You can also apply individual key cards and other additional security measures for your personnel.
It’s probably the best solution when it comes to EMR systems that require 24/7 availability of data, advanced safety, and planned scalability. Cloud environments can protect from loss of physical information sources, malfunctions, cyber attacks, etc.
Exceed Team’s experience: Most companies choose Amazon services for cloud storage and hosting. It’s famous for constant availability and integrity.
How to make sure that your new EMR system is helpful for users? An attractive, convenient, intuitive user interface is a must when your company has lots of data to store. Effective web and mobile design include tables, drag-and-drop elements, columns, and more.
Remember: if an EHR/EMR system isn’t user-friendly, it won’t serve its primary function.
EHR App Development Cost
Depending on your specifications, the team of developers can build EHR/EMR software for the Web and for one or both mobile platforms (Android and iOS). Reaching your patients every possible way is more effective, of course. In this case, the Electronic Medical Records software cost will cover $5,500 – $6,000 for each platform, plus backend development (which is the same work, so you pay for it once). The Electronic Medical Records software cost ranges between $25,000 – $55,000. The approximate time and cost breakdown:
|Feature to Build||Time||Cost|
|Patient page||from 30h||from $900|
|Doctors dashboard||from 190h||from $5700|
|Schedule appointment||from 20h||from $600|
|E-prescriptions||from 60h||from $1800||Labs integration||from 50h||from $1500||Secure chat||from 170h||from $5100|
|Electronic document management||from 50h||from $1500||Reports||from 32h||from $960||Task management||from 70h||from $2100||Cloud storage of data||from 40h||from $1200||Web Design||from 90h||from $2700||Mobile Design||from 125h||from $3750|
The numbers in the chart are just examples of the time and cost to develop an Electronic Medical Records system. It’s impossible to give a 100% accurate estimation since many factors depend on your goal and other specificities. Tell us your story so we could provide a more detailed estimation.
Have more questions?
Here at Exceed Team, we plan, design, and develop efficient EHR and EMR software that works smoothly for healthcare providers and patients. Do you need a SaaS solution or a more sophisticated system? Our developers use an individual approach to each project, proven practices, and cutting-edge technological stacks. We meet and exceed high standards that governments apply to all types of Electronic Health Record systems. We're looking forward to working with you! Tell us about your medical facility, and let’s turn a request into a fully-fledged data system.
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