Best EMR Software for Urgent Care Centers in 2020
With their fundamental promise of delivering fast, easily accessible medical care, urgent care centers typically prioritize efficiency for quality service delivery. This is why more urgent care providers are turning to functional EMR software that can help them save time, reduce expenses, and improve patient outcomes.
There are hundreds of EMR software providers in the market; however, each promising maximum functionality and efficiency. While this can only be good for a continually evolving industry, the tradeoff is it makes the task of picking an EMR difficult.
Urgent care facilities are best served by selecting an EMR solution that helps them optimize their practice workflow, and which constitutes a good fit for their specific service needs.
Choosing the right EMR partner can have a significant effect on success, and this is why it is a decision that deserves careful thought and planning. In this article, we identify the must-have features that should underlie successful urgent care EMRs and how to go about selecting a solution that works for you. We also identify some of the top EMRs on the market, as well as their features and pricing.
How EMRs help urgent cares function better
Urgent cares use Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software for various reasons. At the heart of these is the need to continually optimize their service delivery to provide efficient, reliable healthcare that patients have come to expect.
Importantly, EMR providers often create their software with graduated capabilities, meaning they can be applied horizontally and vertically across the healthcare delivery spectrum. This makes them applicable, not just for urgent cares, but also for other healthcare providers, from large health systems to private practices.
With an implemented EMR solution, urgent cares are able to collect, integrate, and track patient data over time. This ensures they can better understand patient information and ultimately enables them to deliver better healthcare.
Advances in urgent care EMR technology are also enabling the creation of more feature-rich EMRs with varied capability, including patient scheduling, e-prescription, billing, and even business intelligence.
Urgent cares today must compete with thousands of other facilities to attract patients and reliable payers. By leveraging on highly functional EMR software, tailored to suit their unique requirements, they can gain the extra edge that makes the difference.
What are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing EMR software?
In selecting an EMR or practice management solution, urgent care clinics typically have an idea of what they want out of an optimal solution. But it also makes a lot of sense to go a step further to chart your process workflows and determine how an EMR will be expected to improve them.
With a checklist in hand, you will be better suited to consider your options and accurately judge which urgent care EMRs make the most sense for you. Here some considerations to keep in mind as you curate your checklist:
- Workflow: Most EMR software solutions are designed for a broad base of healthcare providers and specialties. However, this can be a disadvantage for urgent cares as the software may include several steps, or bells and whistles that are just plain unnecessary for a small facility. You should look for solutions with urgent care charting templates and easy-to-use interfaces that accommodate your unique workflow. An important aspect you should consider is the provision of billing assistance with regularly updated CPT and ICD-10 codes.
- Cloud-based: To keep costs low and efficiency high, opt for a software provider that offers Application Service Provider (ASP) technology. This means all of your data will be housed securely off-premises and can be accessed anywhere in the world, from any device of your choice. This ensures you don’t need to spend money on expensive in-house tech support or initiate pesky software updates. Cloud-based urgent care EMRs also simplify the process of integrating with other applications and achieving a federated sharing network.
- Patient-friendly: Since it functions as a central repository for your practice and patient records, it is beneficial for your EMR to connect directly to patient-side workflows. It should provide form-filling, appointment scheduling, and payment capabilities that lets your patients interact with you seamlessly, without giving you the extra stress of migrating this information into your database. This can be achieved through either in-app functionality or by providing direct APIs that link with your patient fulfillment solutions.
- Integration and sharing: Urgent cares typically work with a network of labs and complementary service providers. Having to manually export and share the information required by these partners can be a hassle. A good EMR solution should provide a federated solution that lets you share and receive information seamlessly from your network.
- Security: Protecting the personal information of your patients should be a top priority. Engage with the EMR vendor and ensure they have robust solutions to secure patient information against data breaches.
- Partnership: Lastly, you should ensure the EMR vendor is one that can grow with you as you scale up your services. They should be able to meet not just your current needs, but also your future needs, which will become more evident as the industry evolves. They should also provide pre-deployment training to aid user adoption, as well as ongoing support to be sure you’re making the best use of your EMR solution.
What is the ultimate deciding factor when choosing one EMR versus another?
While all the considerations related above are important, they all condense into a single factor you should always keep in mind – functionality. The simple rule is EMR software should work for you, not the other way around.
As such, in considering each option, your logical question should be – how does this fulfill our needs? You should also be making your decision with an eye on the future and the possibility of growing with the solution.
What are the top EMRs?
Having explained what you should be looking for in an urgent care EMR, we have also curated a list of 5 of the best-performing EMRs around. These solutions have received high reviews on multiple platforms and are generally well-considered. They include:
athenahealth is an award-winning EMR solution used by more than 160,000 healthcare providers in the US. The solution was recently named Best in KLAS in 2020 for Small Practice Ambulatory EMR/PM.
The software includes multiple standard features such as cloud-based e-Prescribing, Medical Billing services, bi-directional interface to connect with complementary service providers, and patient fulfillment features including a Patient Portal.
A common complaint with athenahealth is that users may sometimes experience lag when working with the interface. The billing process is also a bit complicated.
Experity provides a cloud-based EMR stack adaptable across the entire healthcare spectrum. The EMR offers a robust patient engagement platform that includes e-registration, online scheduling, queue management, and reputation management.
The software also includes business intelligence tools that help urgent cares promote patient satisfaction and retention through automatic SMS surveys after every visit.
Experity provides a comprehensive tool for healthcare facilities. However, there can be complaints that the solution is not streamlined enough to fit the leaner requirements of smaller facilities.
Epic offers a “best of breed” cloud-based EMR solution that combines an integrated Practice Management (PM) interface with a Patient Portal. The software is applicable to healthcare providers of multiple specialties and provides a rich clinical data library.
Epic includes a comprehensive Medical Billing service that allows urgent cares to take care of administrative and billing tasks on the same platform. It also includes automatic gathering of coding information, which simplifies the charge capturing process.
The software is ONC-ATCB certified and is HIPAA compliant, which means it supports secure storage and sharing of information. The solution can, however, be a bit expensive, especially for urgent care facilities just starting out.
Another cloud-based EMR solution, Kareo, includes reliable Revenue Cycle Management services. The software is ICD-10 ready and supports an integrated Patient Portal.
Kareo is designed to enable an efficient urgent care workflow. The solution includes electronic superbills, lab interfaces, e-Prescribing, and a secure messaging system for interoperability.
Kareo also supports extensive financial and billing capabilities, including patient file management, insurance confirmation, and collections solutions. There are complaints about constant software changes from Kareo, and the software is a bit pricey at $150 per provider.
PrognoCIS provides integrated Practice Management and EMR capabilities for healthcare practices of varying sizes. The solution offers customization tools alongside built-in templates that can drastically cut down on use times.
Ranked in the top 10 EMR software by KLAS, PrognoCIS includes a functional Patient Portal and Revenue Cycle Management solution.
Due to a non-resident technical support team, PrognoCIS support can be difficult to contact, and interfacing with them can sometimes present a language barrier.
Similar to the solutions outlined above, drChrono is a cloud-based EMR solution with extensive Revenue Cycle Management software. The solution supports clinical documentation, patient scheduling, and billing, all through its cloud platform.
The software vendor was the first to produce an EMR app for iOS platforms and has continued to lead in creating interfaces for these systems.
It can be a bit difficult to get up to speed with drChrono, and it can also present affordability issues as the software is a bit pricey.
Make your intelligent facility even smarter
With the right EMR solution, your urgent care facility can begin to enjoy the significant gains that intelligent, cloud-based solutions can provide. Keep these tips in mind as you go about your selection, and you can increase the chances of finding the perfect solution that works for you.
UptimeHealth also provides a federated solution that allows you to stay on top of your compliance tasks through a complete suite of operations management tools. With only a few clicks, you can make regulatory compliance significantly more manageable, as you automatically import records from your EMR to your smart compliance task manager.
Visit our homepage to see more about how UptimeHealth can help you run a more efficient, compliant, and profitable healthcare facility, all for free.