As of 2017, about 86 percent of office-based practices and 96 percent of acute care hospitals had adopted an electronic health record (EHR) system. What is an EHR system? At its most basic, an EHR is an electronic version of a patient's chart. But EHRs can do far more than store medical records. If you are looking to implement an EHR system or switch vendors, there are many options available. Here are nine types of electronic health record systems.
Types of Electronic Health Record Systems by Software
To select a new or replacement EHR, your practice will need to decide what software type best fits your needs. There are three major types of EHR software: enterprise, SaaS, and custom.
1. On Premise EHR Software
With on-premise EHR software, you purchase the software product from an EHR vendor and install it on servers in your office. On-premise EHR software requires an upfront investment in software, servers, and local network connectivity. But on-premise EHR solutions generally do not require a subscription fee, saving you money in the long run compared to Software as a Service (SaaS) approaches.
Most enterprise on-premise EHR software solutions are useable out of the box. However, your practice will likely need to customize clinical content, templates, reports, or other functions to fit your needs and workflows.
2. SaaS EHRs
Unlike enterprise EHR software, software as a service (SaaS) or cloud-based solutions do not require your practice to have servers and other infrastructure on-site. Instead, your practice accesses a SaaS EHR system via the web. SaaS approaches have lower upfront costs but require a monthly or annual subscription. SaaS EHRs are also often less customizable than on-premise EHR solutions.
3. Custom EHR Builds
If your practice is highly specialized, you may benefit from building a custom EHR to fit your needs. Custom EHR systems require a large upfront investment, however. With so many Enterprise EHRs on the market today, building a custom system from the ground up may no longer be necessary. Instead, your practice can take a hybrid approach by building custom interfaces, templates, and reports into a flexible enterprise on-premise EHR.
Types of Electronic Health Record Systems by Data Storage Approach
There are also three major types of EHR data storage approaches.
4. On-Site EHR Data Storage
With on-site data storage, your enterprise or custom EHR system will store all data on your in-house servers. This approach allows your practice to closely monitor privacy and security and helps ensure that you maintain control of your data. However, maintaining on-site storage can be expensive, making this solution more practical for large practices. In addition, your practice will need to develop a plan to regularly backup your systems in case of server failure. You will also need to adopt a high availability plan since having access to an EHR at all times is critical to patient care.
5. EHR Data Remotely Hosted on Dedicated Servers
Many EHR vendors also give you the option to store data on offsite dedicated servers. Under this approach, your practice rents space on dedicated servers offsite for data storage, eliminating the need for an in-house server room. This approach allows your practice to maintain control of your data without needing to purchase, house, and maintain local servers. This is a practical approach for medium and large practices that do not have the staff or expertise to set up and maintain in-house servers.
6. Cloud-Based EHR Data Storage
SaaS EHRs generally use cloud-based data storage. Enterprise and custom EHR solutions could also include cloud-based storage, but it is not the default approach. Storing your EHR data in the cloud can be cheaper than local or dedicated remote servers, and your EHR vendor will help maintain privacy and security. Cloud-based storage also allows your providers and patients to access data from anywhere using an internet connection.
While cloud-based storage typically has lower upfront costs, making it useful for small practices, you will pay a monthly or annual fee for this approach. In addition, your practice should thoroughly check the data ownership provisions of any cloud storage contract to ensure you remain able to download and transfer your data should you wish to switch EHR systems.
Types of Electronic Health Record Systems by Integration and Interoperability
EHR systems also vary in their ability to integrate with other systems and share data.
7. Certified EHRs
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) certifies EHR systems that meet the functionality, technical, and security requirements set by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Purchasing a certified EHR system will help your practice meet MIPS standards with minimal effort. Certified EHR systems also include interoperability functions that ensure you can share data as needed with other providers. These functions will help you meet regulatory requirements like the Information Blocking Rule.
8. Stand-Alone EHRs
If your practice is small, your EHR may mainly serve as an electronic patient chart. A stand-alone EHR system can give you clinical functionality, including data sharing, with minimal start-up costs. However, stand-alone systems can be difficult to integrate with practice management and accounting systems. This means your practice will spend more time transferring and cleaning data than with an integrated solution.
9. Integrated EHR and EPM Systems
Integrated EHR and EPM systems, like NextGen EHR and EPM, include both EHR and practice management software in one solution. These systems minimize data transfer and help your practice run more efficiently. With an integrated EHR and EPM system, you can book appointments, chart office visits, and bill payers all in one place.
TempDev Can Help You Select an Electronic Health Record System
The EHR experts at TempDev can help you customize your NextGen EHR and EPM system to meet your practice’s needs. TempDev’s developers, consultants, and trainers can get your practice ready to implement, switch, or upgrade your EHR system.
Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here for help selecting, implementing, or upgrading your NextGen EHR system.
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