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With the federal electronic medical records (EMR) mandate and HIPAA, EMR software became a necessity for every healthcare facility. The tech world responded and there are now dozens of EMR software solutions available. Open ERM software is an "open source" option that works on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Pros of the OpenEMR system
Open source software, including OpenEMR, is created, maintained, and updated by a community of software developers, each dedicated to making their software the best solution available. The benefit of such support is that the community ensures that the system is guarded as a free and open source software solution, which can be used by all medical practices. As an open source, the system is updated frequently to improve efficiency and security, as well as add features based on changing technologies in the healthcare industry. Any medical practice can use this system and therefore it offers value for money in the long run.
Points to Consider before Using the OpenEMR System
- Features: The right EMR software includes features such as patient scheduling, demographics, prescription options, and medical billing. Before choosing a system, make sure its features match your needs.
- Certification: Even though an EMR system can be open source, it is still important that the system should be certified by the relevant authorizing and testing bodies. This ensures the compliance and reliability of the system.
- Security: Open source systems are not always secure. This is because the system's code is available to everyone and each of those developers may modify or change the system in some way. Make sure you understand OpenEMR's security measures before implementing it.
- Price: Open source software is typically much less expensive than other options. Compare costs and features carefully to help determine the best solution for your practice.
The Cost to Install the OpenEMR System
OpenEMR is basically free. However, it is important to understand that this system is not cloud-based but an application that can run on any computer operating system and other related platforms. This means that one incurs the cost of hardware installation in order to use the system. It can be cheaper to use the system if a practice only has one or two users. However, when more than four users are involved, the medical practice must purchase networking equipment so that the EMR can be used by all within a network.
Servers may have to be purchased and additional people, such as health information or medical records technicians, may have to be employed. In essence, it can be quite expensive to fully implement the OpenEMR system for practices with multiple users.
- Downloading the application is free, as are upgrades.
- The support for the software does not cost any price in some places, but may cost between $400 and $600.
- Upgrading to a paid version costs between $1,500 and $3,000.
- Initial implementation of the software may cost between $500 and $1,500.
- Certain OpenEMR software includes a patient investment policy, where the patients pay between $50 and $150 per year, which gives them access to added services. This helps pay the yearly price of the software.