Unlocking the Major Types of EMR Software that You Can Use

EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) are the cornerstone of modern healthcare. Their introduction to the healthcare industry has converted paper-based medical records to electronic ones. Digital records have simplified the patient intake process and the data flow between systems. Reports say that medical errors are one of the leading causes of death, and electronic medical records leave little to no room for documentation errors.

EMR adoption has surged significantly since the ARRA mandate was issued in 2014. Currently, around 77.8 percent of office-based physicians hold a certified EMR/EHR system. The HIPAA regulation mandates that all healthcare organizations must send claims electronically. This has further bolstered the adoption of electronic health records across the USA.

The rise in the adoption of EMR isn’t just limited to error-free documents or mandates. However, its contribution to care quality, centralized workflows, and seamless data exchange have also elevated the use of EMR.

Healthcare providers can choose from different types of EMR based on the specialty, mode of deployment, and design settings. This article is all about understanding the varied types of EMR.

Major Types of EMR Software

EMRs are available in various types and each one has unique features and functionalities. Healthcare practitioners can customize each of these EMRs as per their requirements. Let’s look at the types of EMR in detail:

Based on Deployment

Types of EMR based on the mode of deployment are categorized into three types – cloud, on-premise, and hybrid.

1. Cloud-Based

The digital revolution calls for digital products and services. Cloud-based EMR fits the bill aptly. They don’t need complex installation processes and neither a heavy pocket to pay the bill. It can be achieved via the Internet, and a small tech team in case there’s trouble.

Currently, the cloud-computing market is expected to reach $947.3 billion in 2026, growing from $445.3 billion in 2021 at a 16.3 percent CAGR during the forecast period.

  1. Money Saved is Money Earned: Cloud-based EMR software eliminates upfront costs in hardware and maintenance. Therefore, making it a cost-effective option for small healthcare organizations. The saved amount can be put to use for the customization of EMR.
  2. Scalability: Cloud-based EMR has a scalable nature. So, users can upgrade their storage plans whenever needed.
  3. No Geographical Barriers: Regardless of the location, healthcare providers can easily access patient data. All they need is a stable network. This approach is quite useful for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services.
  1. Downtime due to Network Glitches: Internet connection comes with its drawbacks. Net issues mean slow work, downtime, and going down with the system. However, if your network has a large bandwidth then these issues mean nothing.
  2. Data Security Risks: Cloud platforms are handled by external parties. Collaborating with them means giving them access to healthcare data. So, discuss security protocols before joining hands with them.

2. On-Premise

With the rise in cyber-security concerns, isn’t it better to store data offline? This way the data isn’t traveling anywhere and is safer from potential hackers. On-premise or server-based mode of deployment is made exactly for this purpose. It keeps the medical records safe from prying eyes.

On-premise deployment eliminates the need for a stable network connection, users can work without it. Even if the internet goes down, it never allows you to go down with it.

This option offers customization during the implementation process. Furthermore, on-premise is quite reliable when it comes to IT support. A robust healthcare software development team is continuously maintaining the software behind the curtains.

Here are the key pros and cons of using an on-premise EMR:

  1. Ability to Operate Offline: Say goodbye to delayed work. An on-premise EMR software operates on internal servers. So, toss aside the worries about slow connectivity and reliable network options.
  2. Enhanced Security: Unlike cloud-based EMR software that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, an on-premise deployment is free from it. Healthcare providers can restrict data from anyone who does not have authorized access to the EMR.
  3. Customization: Instead of asking the vendors to upgrade features, organizations can upgrade the systems by themselves. An on-premise EMR software offers flexibility, storage, and customization options.

Some disadvantages of on-premise deployment are:

  1. It Can Get Expensive: Compared to cloud-based EMR, on-premise is a costly affair. Installation, software license fees, maintenance, upgrades, data backup, storage, and more demands a hefty amount. Large and mid-sized hospitals may easily burden the expenses, but what about the small practices? Not a definitive option for them. They may rather go for affordable cloud-based EMR.
  2. Risk of Losing Data: With affordable data backup services, it’s unlikely that organizations would store health data only on on-premise platforms. However, incidences such as natural calamities or man-made accidents can corrupt the data stored in the location. Further, ransomware attacks and system malpractice also lead to data loss.
  3. Scalability: Scalability is a challenge for on-premise EMR software because additional features demand new hardware. This can add to the already expensive software.

3. Hybrid

Hybrid deployment integrates on-premise platforms with cloud-based services. This deployment mode allows healthcare organizations to leverage the cost-effectiveness, scalability, and innovation of the cloud while utilizing the security and customization of on-premise platforms.

To expand on this, A hybrid EMR software optimizes costs by paying for resources only when needed. It can create additional backup options by storing data in hardware.

Furthermore, healthcare organizations can use cloud services for non-sensitive work that requires flexibility and scalability. They can go for on-premise for critical data. Healthcare facilities can maintain security and compliance over sensitive information by inducting stringent authorization protocols.

A pitfall of hybrid deployment is to have people with the necessary skill set to manage a hybrid-based EMR software. It is rather difficult to recruit such talent.

Based on Design Settings

Types of EMRs based on design settings are of two distinct types – ambulatory and acute care EMRs.

1. Acute Care

Acute care EMR software is largely used in hospitals and other inpatient care facilities. It supports inpatient care needs such as real-time tracking of patient information, patient admission and discharge, and management of complex medical data.

Acute care EMRs encompass features such as alerts and notifications, decision support, and integration with CDSS. Additionally, they blend well with large healthcare organizations like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and critical care facilities.

2. Ambulatory

Ambulatory EMRs are digital patient chart technology that allows healthcare providers to document patient care. These EMRs include longitudinal patient care, along with chronic care management.

They may have hospital data in them, however, most of the data is from physician visits in their office or surgical center. Ambulatory EHR Systems focus on diagnosing, offering specialty referrals, writing prescriptions, and capturing interactions with patients.

Furthermore, ambulatory EHRs mainly focus on care outside the hospitals such as outpatient clinics, primary care practices, and specialty practices. With features such as patient portals, patients can seamlessly access their health data, make payments, and request medication refills.

An ambulatory EMR software makes it easier and faster to process a patient’s data during an emergency care situation or a medical appointment. With an ambulatory EMR, any staff member or healthcare provider can gain access to a patient’s medical records with appropriate consent.

Based on Specialty

Types of EMR based on specialty are divided into two groups – multi-specialty EMR and specialty-specific.

1. Multi-Specialty

A general EMR software may not be enough for organizations dealing with multiple medical services. So, use a multi-specialty EMR system to fulfill the many requirements of providers. They are developed to provide a unified view of patient data across multiple specialties. Healthcare practitioners can easily manage data from a single system, regardless of the specialty involved. This ameliorates efficiency and care coordination.

They include a range of features standard to different specialties. It can be customized to meet the specific requirements of each specialty.

Multi-specialty EMR software provides broader functionalities such as integration of practice management software, and advanced reporting tools, and revenue cycle management.

2. Specialty-Specific

Specialty-specific EMRs are developed to meet the unique needs of a medical specialty such as ophthalmology, dermatology, or mental health. These EMRs encompass pre-configured workflows and templates tailored to the specialty’s needs. However, they may lack the customization and flexibility of general electronic medical records.

Specialty-specific EMRs enhance productivity, so find a vendor who understands every facet of a healthcare practice.

For example, a gynecologist can use specialty-specific EMR to calculate due dates, track contraception history, and have ultrasound analysis capabilities.

Falling in any one of the above categories? Just connect with Arkenea, a healthcare software development company that specializes in custom EHR/EMR software development. We’ve got you covered.