Primary Care EHR

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athenaOne

athenahealth, recently ranked #1 by 2022 Best in KLAS for athenaClinials Ambulatory EMR for 11-75 physicians and athenaIDX practice management, provides cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle manag...Read more about athenaOne

3.72 (756 reviews)

423 recommendations

DrChrono

DrChrono’s iPad and iPhone compatible EHR and medical billing platform allows medical practices and healthcare providers to manage patient intake, patient care, clinical charting, billing and revenue cycle management. It includes ...Read more about DrChrono

4.02 (460 reviews)

316 recommendations

RXNT

RXNT’s cloud-based, ONC-certified medical software—Billing, Practice Management, EHR, and more—improves clinical outcomes & revenue cycle management. Simple, transparent pricing includes free setup and training, free data transfer...Read more about RXNT

4.38 (370 reviews)

279 recommendations

AdvancedMD EHR

AdvancedMD is a unified suite of software solutions designed for mental health, physical therapy and medical healthcare organizations and independent physician practices. Features include practice management, electronic health rec...Read more about AdvancedMD EHR

3.61 (424 reviews)

173 recommendations

Elation Health

Elation Health is a cloud-based clinically focused electronic health record solution for physicians looking for an ONC-ATCB certified EMR along with patient scheduling, a patient portal, e-prescribing and e-faxing. The solution ca...Read more about Elation Health

4.38 (48 reviews)

128 recommendations

Kareo Clinical

Kareo a Tebra Company offers a Web-based EHR, medical billing, and practice management used by thousands of physicians across the United States. This system suits small practices and billing companies. With Kareo, practices can sc...Read more about Kareo Clinical

3.93 (365 reviews)

91 recommendations

NextGen Office

NextGen® Office is an award-winning, cloud-based, clinical and billing solution designed for smaller, independent practices (≤ 10 providers). This all-in-one, turnkey solution includes specialty-specific EHR content, an easy-to-us...Read more about NextGen Office

4.01 (1218 reviews)

74 recommendations

Compulink Healthcare Solutions

Compulink’s Advantage SMART Practice® is an all-in-one database EHR solution for specialty practices such as optometry, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, ENT, mental health, podiatry, and more. Available cloud-based or server, Advantag...Read more about Compulink Healthcare Solutions

4.03 (273 reviews)

73 recommendations

ChartLogic EHR

ChartLogic offers an ambulatory EHR suite that includes electronic medical record, practice management, revenue cycle management, e-prescribing and patient portal. The solution caters to primary care, surgical care and other compl...Read more about ChartLogic EHR

3.96 (60 reviews)

57 recommendations

WRS Health

More than just a cloud-based EHR & Practice Management software. At WRS Health, our commitment to helping physicians find balance in their roles, as healer, business owner, and human being, informs everything we do. That’s why ...Read more about WRS Health

4.46 (79 reviews)

33 recommendations

Practice EHR

Practice EHR, a medical practice management software, was developed to accommodate the needs of small to mid-size businesses. The platform is customizable to internal medicine practices, chiropractors, physical therapists, family ...Read more about Practice EHR

4.26 (35 reviews)

22 recommendations

Nexus

Nexus is an ONC 2015 Edition certified cloud-based ambulatory EHR and PM platform. It is designed for small to midsize practices and a variety of specialties including orthopedics, neurology, podiatry, cardiology, general surgery,...Read more about Nexus

4.61 (9 reviews)

20 recommendations

AdvancedMD Billing Services

AdvancedMD is a medical office software suite with cloud-based, integrated physician-patient workflow solutions including: practice management/medical billing, electronic health records, telemedicine, patient engagement, practice ...Read more about AdvancedMD Billing Services

4.12 (82 reviews)

18 recommendations

MDConnection

MDConnection is a web-based solution for medical practice management. The system serves the needs of small practices consisting of just one physician or a small group of physicians. The core functions include scheduling, medical b...Read more about MDConnection

4.58 (26 reviews)

16 recommendations

AllegianceMD

AllegianceMD is a cloud-based medical software system that is designed to serve the needs of small and midsize practices, as well as ambulatory surgery centers. The solution includes practice management functionality for billing a...Read more about AllegianceMD

4.27 (24 reviews)

15 recommendations

Benchmark PM

Benchmark Systems’ Solutions Suite serves independent care professionals and their patients across various specialties. From the front office to the back office, Benchmark Systems Solutions Suite of PM, EHR and RCM supports your s...Read more about Benchmark PM

4.74 (173 reviews)

14 recommendations

CareCloud

CareCloud Inc. offers an integrated electronic health recording (EHR) solution–Charts–that provides collective benefits of EMR, practice management and medical billing services. Charts helps physicians to streamline clinical opera...Read more about CareCloud

3.58 (103 reviews)

13 recommendations

HARMONY Medical

Harmony e/Notes is a hybrid integrated solution that offers functionalities for electronic medical records, practice management, billing and revenue cycle management. Specialities that the solution caters to include cardiology, ge...Read more about HARMONY Medical

4.46 (23 reviews)

13 recommendations

CGM DAQbilling

DAQbilling by CompuGroup Medical (CGM) is a medical billing and patient scheduling system designed to streamline medical billing. The solution covers eligibility inquiries, claim submission, and payment posting. The system has an ...Read more about CGM DAQbilling

4.19 (24 reviews)

12 recommendations

MedPointe

MedPointe from Health Systems Technology is a cloud-based EHR solution that offers integrated billing, accounting, picture archiving and patient scheduling features within a suite. The program can also be deployed on the server an...Read more about MedPointe

4.71 (7 reviews)

12 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 22, 2022

Doctors' offices may have a different end goal than most businesses, but one thing they share in common is the need for software to help make their day-to-day management easier and smoother. A wide variety of medical software exists for just this purpose, from electronic medical records (EMR) to medical accounting tools.

However, primary care physicians face unique challenges that require the implementation of software that differs from the types used by specialists or hospitals. Whether they are clinics or family practices, these primary care physicians need versatile, adaptable software that can both maintain records and help run the office, assisting with both the medical and business sides of their practice.

This buyer's guide will describe the two sides of primary care EHRs, explore the most popular features and help you figure out what key questions to ask of software vendors—and of yourself—before making a purchase.

Here are the key issues that we'll cover:

What Is Primary Care EHR Software?
Common Features of Primary Care EHRs
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations

What Is Primary Care EHR Software?

Primary care software is a subset of medical software, which contains features that are useful both for doctors' medical work and for the daily management of their office as a business.

Though both parts should work together in integrated harmony, here's a look at these two sides of primary care software:

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records, or EHR, is the primary type of software used by doctors to help them take care of their patients. EHRs serve as digital databases that store patient charts, while also allowing practices to track patient demographics, histories, SOAP notes, test results, medications, prescriptions and more.

The goal of an EHR is to increase doctors' efficiency so they can spend more time with patients, provide post-visit care via prescription management and check-ins on a patient portal, better support claims sent to insurance companies and generally improve the quality of patient care.

You may also see them referred to as electronic medical records (EMRs), computerized medical records or digital medical records.

Practice Management

Practice management software, on the other hand, is more focused on helping doctors and their administrative staff run the business side of a practice. It helps those practices record patient information and demographics, manage patient charts, perform billing procedures, generate reports and schedule appointments through patient scheduling applications.

The goal of practice management software is to improve physicians' workflow efficiency, allowing them to spend more time tending to patients, and often to boost the amount of reimbursements obtained from insurance providers.

You may also see them referred to as physician's office management software and medical information systems (POMIS).

 

Common Features of Primary Care EHRs

Patient history Houses patient charts as part of the EMR database. It's crucial that primary care physicians are able to maintain a detailed, accurate history of their interactions with patients in order to provide the best, most personalized level of medical care.
Patient correspondence Provides a primary care practice with quick access to common forms of correspondence, including work/school excuse letters and automated health maintenance/checkup reminders that can be sent out based on the patient's record.
General practice SOAP notes templates Because primary care physicians see such a wide variety of medical conditions and problems, they need an EMR that has hundreds of specialized note templates to accommodate those various conditions.
Laboratory, medical device and pharmacy integration Many EMRs provide automatic importing of lab results and/or medical device data, eliminating time-consuming and error-prone transcription. Similarly, direct integration with pharmacies allows for e-prescriptions and direct communication between doctors and pharmacists in order to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Referral integration EMR software for primary care practices will include tools to make referrals to specialists as quick and easy as possible. Common features include an online referral network, automated printing of referral letters and even the ability to send the entire electronic patient record to the doctor of referral.
General practice billing and treatment protocols Because primary care physicians deal with such a broad swath of potential conditions, primary care EMRs often provide assistance on ICD-10 and CPT coding and billing for common and unusual patient visits. The integration between administrative and clinical workflows can make the claims process faster and more accurate.
Automatic billing One of the core functionalities of practice management software is automated medical billing, along with real-time verification of insurance coverage and eligibility.
Claim tracking Streamline the tracking of various claims across the overall revenue cycle.
Customized patient scheduling Scheduling/calendar features which enable appointments to be color coded to indicate information such as provider, duration, time and type of complaint.
Automatic reminders Send automated electronic reminders to patients via email or text message. In addition to providing a service for patients, this helps reduce the number of no-shows and can maintain an optimum volume of appointments.

An example of a patient chart in primary care EHR platform Kareo

An example of a patient chart in Kareo

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Medical practices can vary widely in size, shape and form, which leads them to require different functions and features in their primary care software. Your practice is likely to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Single doctor. A practice with a single doctor, and consequently a small staff, will have fewer patients to keep track of, but they may have a greater need for automation due to a lack of resources. As such, these practices may want primary care software that is heavy on practice management features, such as automatic billing, patient scheduling and laboratory/pharmacy/referral integration, in addition to a base level of EMR features such as patient history and correspondence.
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  • Small practice (two to five doctors). Practices with a handful of doctors and a moderate-sized staff will want all the features of a practice with just one doctor, plus a more robust array of features for both EMR (such as SOAP note templates) and practice management (such as claim tracking and automatic reminders).
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  • Large practice (more than five doctors). Practices with a large number of doctors and a large staff will need the most robust primary care software available, featuring all of the useful features provided by both EMR and practice management functionality.

Key Considerations

Other factors to take into consideration when picking the best primary care software for your practice may include:

  • Integration with other systems. One of the key components of primary care software is integration, specifically between the EMR and the practice management sides of the software. However, it's possible that you may choose two different software systems or vendors for each aspect of your practice. In that case, you'll want to be extremely sure that those two systems can integrate with one another, so that you don't accidentally build a wall between the medical and business sides of your practice. You will also want to ensure that you can integrate with any other relevant software systems, such as those used for medical tests and results.
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  • Cloud-based software vs. on-premise software. Increasingly, software of all kinds is cloud-based and available online. Previously, the most popular method of housing software was on-premise, meaning that a business or practice would actually own the hardware necessary to run the software. This required a large amount of storage space and access to IT resources for setup and troubleshooting. Today, you're most likely to get a cloud-based primary care software solution, which is housed off-premise and requires much lower upfront costs. It also reduces your need for IT help once you have the software running.
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  • Patient portals. The easiest, most popular way for doctors to keep in touch with their patients, and for those patients to manage their prescriptions and referrals, is through dedicated patient portals that can be accessed online. These portals should integrate with your EMR so that a patient can see their records and test results, send and receive messages, manage prescriptions and make appointments. A well-maintained patient portal can save physicians and their staff hundreds of hours of administrative work, and make patients feel that they have quicker and more complete access to their doctor.
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  • Mobile support. Our world is increasingly mobile, with apps for everything from social media to banking. Medical needs are no different, and patients want to be able to send and receive messages from their doctor, manage their prescriptions and access their records and results while on the go. Similarly, physicians live busy lives, and may need to respond to urgent business when working on their phones or tablets. You will want to check the mobile support of the software that you select, so you can ensure that both doctors and patients have the high level of access that they desire.

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