The best EHRs for small practices

September 1, 2006

A comprehensive survey from two companies reveal the cream of the crop.

Great product, lousy service. Any consumer can face that problem. You buy the best furnace on the market, for instance, but the local dealer installs it the wrong way.

Selecting an EHR solely on technical merits became immensely easier in July when a private, not-for-profit group called the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology announced the first programs to receive its stamp of approval. The EHRs met more than 150 criteria set by CCHIT for functionality, security, and interoperability.

Fortunately, a number of companies do evaluate those service aspects of EHR vendors. We've included a top-10 list from two such companies. Each list focuses on EHRs for practices with up to five doctors, and most of the ranked programs have been certified by CCHIT. Read on to discover which ones are leading the pack.

KLAS asks, "Would you recommend to a friend?"

One cornucopia of comparative information on EHRs is KLAS Enterprises in Orem, UT. The company surveys physicians, practice administrators, and hospital officials on all manner of healthcare technology, be it practice management software, CT scanners, or consulting firms that help doctors select and implement an EHR. Exhaustive research reports cost doctors anywhere from $300 to $2,000 apiece, but they can look up KLAS ratings and other basic product information online ( http://www.healthcomputing.com) for free if they complete an online survey on any software, device, or consultant they use. The results of these surveys, in turn, form the basis for future KLAS ratings.

In June, KLAS published survey results on 22 EHR vendors in the small-practice market-one to five doctors-drawn from 856 practice sites. Ten vendors qualified for the main ranking because KLAS received responses from at least 15 unique practice sites using a particular program. KLAS research manager and report author Brooke Spendlove says that's enough to establish a minimum confidence level in the results. The number of surveyed sites per vendor ranged from a low of 20 for e-MDs Chart to 66 for Misys EMR (the acronym for electronic medical records is used instead of EHR when it's part of the product's name).