Free EMR/EHR Software vs. Standard License or Subscription License Models
There are a number of free EMR software systems on the market today—Practice Fusion™, for example. You may be wondering what makes products like these free.
These products are typically supported by ads from vendors interested in selling to the medical community. The ads are usually unobtrusive and designed not to get in the way of your workflow. As long as you don't mind the ads, this can be a great way of saving money on an EMR solution.
Call us at (800) 671-1028 to weigh your options with one of our EMR consultants today.
What are the limitations in free EMR software?"
Depending on the free EMR you choose there may or may not be limitations to the product. When you're evaluating an EMR, consider the features you'll need to support your medical practice and make sure the free EMR offers these features. The top features you'll want to consider include charting, customizable templates, e-prescribing, lab integration, scheduling, referrals, patient portals, reporting and integration with your existing billing software. If you are looking at an EMR that charges for any of these, they are not really free.
Is training and support free?
Training and support may be included in your free EMR, depending on which vendor you select. An established vendor like Practice Fusion typically provides live support by phone and email, in addition to free live training, on demand webinars and videos to help you get started. Again, if a company tells you they charge for support or training, they are not truly free.
Will I have to pay any set-up costs?
Traditional paid EMR solutions may charge for additional hardware and set-up costs, on top of the subscription cost for the EMR itself. Many EMRs that are web-based don't charge for implementation, including the free EMR solutions.
Are these products Meaningful Use certified?
Like their paid counterparts, some free EMRs are fully-featured and certified for achieving Meaningful Use. Before signing up, check that the EMR you have chosen is ONC-ATCB certified as a complete EMR and that their certification is current.
What is different about paid alternatives?
Often it is a simple matter of preference. Paid alternatives may have features that are more effective for large, well-financed practices or highly-specialized providers. Free alternatives often have the benefit of being easier to use and more responsive to user needs. It's always worthwhile to consider which options you need and what each solution offers.
Can I remove the ads in a free EMR system?
If you find the ads distracting, some vendors allow you to remove the ads by paying a monthly fee, typically in the range of $100 per physician.
Will free EMRs sell any of my data?
Legitimate free EMR companies will provide explicit, legally-binding guarantees that sensitive patient data will not be sold for any reason. Data may be used for public health research purposes. Legitimate EMRs will ensure that all research information used is fully de-identified and compliant with standards set HIPAA to fully respect patient privacy.
EMR-Only Implementation – Sample Comparison (monthly fees per provider)
$250-$450 per month per provider (Average EMR paid subscription services)
$0 (Free EMR services - $100/month without ads)
These costs may not include certain billing/practice management components. 4Medapproved's certified IT/EMR consultant team can give you an unbiased opinion on your best options considering your specific needs—from both a pricing and productivity perspective. Our SSG team will create a basic summary of your existing systems, your expectations and your timeline. They will assist in setting up software demos, creating hardware estimates and providing knowledgeable advice.
Call (800) 671-1028 to compare and contrast your options with an EMR expert!
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Last updated: March 14, 2013