What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)? Step-by-Step Process to Create EHR Software Solution
October 19, 2020

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)? Step-by-Step Process to Create EHR Software Solution

Electronic Health Record
What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)? Step-by-Step Process to Create EHR Software Solution
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Health is a gift from God and the electronic health record software is a gift from humans to humans. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, EHR software has proven to be one of the effective ways to tackle healthcare workers’ inefficiency, low productivity, and reduce the number of medical errors.

However, in telemedicine and telehealth, the EHR software has been rolling around since 2003, but it was not generously welcomed by all clinicians back then as it is now. Because until we don’t need it, we don’t value it. But today it is a hot topic and with that, the global EHR software market is likely to hit $40 billion by 2025. The key reason behind the growing demand for EHR software is that it removes paperwork and offers patients to view health records in only a few clicks.

Thus, now is the perfect time to develop an EHR software for your ambulatory practices as it has a lot of potential, accessibility, and flexibility. So, keep reading this blog and understand the complete process of building EHR software.

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

An automated representation of a patient’s paper chart is an electronic health record (EHR). EHRs are patient-centered, real-time databases in the Microsoft word template that make information accessible to approved users quickly and safely. 

In other words, EHR is the official health documentation of patients and is circulated between various facilities and agencies with utmost data security measures. Now when more medical information becomes accessible and greater numbers of customers provide smartphone access to health records, EHRs are also becoming increasingly powerful.

So, what kind of information does EHR include?

  • Past medical data / Treatment history data
  • Vital signs and chief complaint information
  • Progress notes
  • Diagnoses data
  • Medication lists (Medication records)
  • Immunization dates
  • Allergies
  • Lab results data
  • Imaging reports

Traditionally, all of these details used to be compiled and placed in a database with the name of the patient on it in the form of papers, diagrams, and graphs. There were also downsides to this conventional method of processing and handling the patient’s records, such as,

  • Clunky administration
  • Inadequate data interoperability

But, thanks to the EHR software. It makes life better.

What is an Electronic Health Record Software?

In a health practice, EHR (Electronic Health Records) software is a digital means for doctors that handle every part of patient care, from basic logistics to dealing with hospital pie charts, e-prescribing, and billing. EHR apps will offer a platform for direct patient contact so that they can book appointments with email address login, display test reports, and complete the necessary documentation. 

EHR mobile application also provides consumers with the ability to track medical clinical progression through various healthcare providers and experts to see each other. This provides a holistic view of patient care and offers all stakeholders a clear understanding of a patient’s accurate health record.

Benefits of EHR Software For Medical Professionals and Patients

Before you make any decision on building front end and back end software, you need to ask if it is even beneficial or not for your healthcare practice. So, let’s discuss how it can be advantageous for you and patients as well.

For Medical ProfessionalsFor Patients
  • Less Documentation and Fewer Issues with Storage: Because software lets health professionals keep their workday streamlines with all the information they need in their palm. They do not have to scroll through or maintain hundreds of records manually.
  • High Efficiency and Practice Management: Front end software often provides useful functionality like chart tracking (data tracking) and checking documents using basic queries. Thus, community practices will save valuable hours to serve more people in need of medical attention and improve health problems and chronic disease management.
  • Reduces Errors and Mistakes: Because unlike handwritten data entry that is always vague, digital information is often easy-to-read and eventually increases its reliability.
  • Streamlined EHR Workflow: As for the clinical and implementation team, customers, and the front desk staff, EHRs significantly reduce the number of paper records and administrative work needed – the healthcare sector becomes more streamlined.
  • Track Data at Any Time: We all know the importance of patients’ on-time delivery of details. If a patient suffers from misdiagnosis, side effects, or inappropriate treatment plans, the patients will still have his EHR to back up and data transfer as evidence.
  • Support in Emergencies: In situations like accidents, sudden cardiac arrest, where a patient can’t carry medical details, EHR software systems will be a great support for patient engagement.
  • Appointment Schedule: Patients can handle and arrange all appointments with doctors using the booking option through EHR software.
  • Timely Reminders: Software can send reminders about bills and appointments automatically.

In addition, the advanced EHR system architecture may contain patient portals which include educational materials for patients. These materials increase their level of involvement in the healthcare industry. Great. Isn’t it?

But wait. Before you make up your mind, which EHR system is optimal for you to store the patients’ data effectively? There are two broad types that you need to understand to build an EHR software. Let’s see what those are. 

Types of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software

Types of Electronic Health Record Software

  1. Server-Based System (Client-Based System)

    The server-based EHR system, also known as a client-based system, is focused on a server or set of servers, depending upon the size of the practice. These servers have to be installed within the practice and are managed by professional staff.

    However, to buy hardware, computers, and software that needs to be installed on-site, a server-based device needs medical procedures separately. The biggest advantage server-based healthcare systems have is the EHR data is stored with the physician’s server itself.   

    Additionally, your server-based EHR (health record) systems would perform wonders if you have reliable servers and a stable internal network. For speed and usability issues, you won’t have to rely on internet access, or on the healthcare provider to access data.

    Pros and Cons:

    ProsCons
    • The speed of systems is dictated by the strength of the internal network and server equipment rather than internet connections
    • No limit on upload or download
    • Complete control over data encryption
    • High upfront costs
    • High responsibility for maintaining and updating all the software programs
  2. Cloud-Based System (Web-Based System)

    Often known as a web-based EHR system, this system maintains the patient information on remote servers instead of servers stored inside the premises of a medical healthcare center or hospital. Meaning, this owes much of its features to a third-party server for healthcare services. The program for this EHR usually needs to be bought directly from the manufacturer, but depending on the product you select, its usability can vary. 

    The health IT vendors load this program partially on their client’s machines, while others have specific web portals that allow the program to be completely downloaded according to the specified schedule. 

    Pros and Cons:

    ProsCons
    • Low monthly licensing costs
    • Do not require set-up costs
    • Better client support
    • Easy to meet HIPAA compliant and regulations
    • No customization and improvements
    • No control over data and confidentiality
    • Takes time to upload large files
    • Difficult to conduct rural healthcare practices
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How to Build Electronic Health Record Software?

Now that you have recognized the types and advantages of EHR software development, the question is how to build EHR software solutions? So let’s move on to identifying the stages of EHR software development.

How to Build Electronic Health Record Software

Step 1. Validate Your Idea

Before you start anything, you need to check its validity, ability, and the possibility to guarantee that you can go ahead with developing apps. Therefore, to build an EHR system, you should start with,

  • Identifying the needs of the patient
  • Create a list of EHR software development process queries

Once you define expectations of patients, ask yourself two questions like,

  • Will EHR systems help patients and fulfill your objectives?
  • Is it possible to contact patients and other physicians via software?

While you receive answers to these questions, it will bring you closer to what the client wants. You would have a greater idea of how EHR can be developed. It is also important to review business strategy, as it is crucial for the success of the implementation process of the EHR framework and for the EHR development speed. 

Step 2. Define Features and Process

When you ensure your idea, you need to create a flowchart and prototype for the process that involves a list of EHR features, specification, and what health record technology it needs to build an EHR system.

For your ease, based on our proficient expertise in software and app developments, we have curated the list of technology stack which are as follow:

Technology StackBlank
Languages
  • Java
  • Python
  • Swift
  • Kotlin
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
Frameworks and Libraries
  • Angular
  • jQuery
  • Django
  • Node.js
  • Bootstrap
Databases
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
Web Servers
  • HTTP Server
  • Nginx
Utilities
  • Cloudflare
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon S3
Analytics
  • Amazon EMR systems
  • Google Analytics

Once you analyze features, learning curve, and tech stack, you need to find professional software developers, a project manager, a technology partner or contact an EHR software development company that will conduct the process for building EHR software solutions.

Step 3. Design and Develop

After you search (search main) front end developers and back end developers, next in the line up is to design the software! You can get a raw EHR design, as per the business requirements. But remember, when it comes to layout elements, the point of view of the user is significant. It also has to be handy and user-friendly. So, make sure the design you opt for is 100% interactive and responsive. 

You can also create different modules and sprints to streamline the task with the help of the project manager and fast track record of the open-source EHR development process of front end and back end. This will eventually help to conduct efficient screening and performance checks at regular intervals. 

Once the design is ready, the EHR software development team from the software development company will come into the picture and will conduct the coding part – the lengthiest part of the process!

Step 4. Test

It’s time for a quality team to take full control of everything. In this step, mistakes, glitches, bugs, errors, or defects, if any, are detected by the quality assurance team. They will run through the early web development stages, revisit the strategy, and observe other tasks carried by the development team. They also figure out how to build a better iteration of EHR systems.

The purpose, however, is to know whether or not an EHR program satisfies the needs of clients and expectations of healthcare organizations through test results. Therefore, until and unless the functionality of the EHR healthcare software solutions meets requirements, the test will go on and on.

Once all defects are identified, they run an EHR application for debugging and conduct Alpha testing among close relatives, family members, team members, friends, and neighbors to receive feedback, response, and reviews. 

Step 5. Launch and Maintain

Once the Alpha test results are identified and become successful, it’s time for beta testing – that means to launch the software to the real world and get real user feedback and opinions. But if you think, you need to stop here, you’re mistaken. The first and last rule to success is to keep yourself and software updated. Meaning, you need to keep in check your software at frequent times and maintain it for overview user experience and effective medical practice.

Bonus: Key Considerations to Implement EHR Software System Successfully

  • The software solutions must comply with HIPAA/GDPR guidelines (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) once it is developed.
  • The user interfaces of the health record system (EHR) must be mobile-friendly.
  • It must match standards and protocols with cybersecurity and networks.

Also, make sure you get the EHR software certification before you launch.

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Unique Features of Electronic Health Record Software

Features of Electronic Health Record Software

  1. Patient Profile & Scheduling

    This is one of the required functionality of EHR software. This should include information about the clinical records of patients, such as

    • The history of the illness
    • The history of treatment

    General details such as first name, last name, age, gender, and so on also must be included. In addition, prohibiting access to the medical profile by third parties is also equally important. So be very sure that no one can access the users’ medical records except doctors, medical providers, and trustworthy associates.

    Next, your software should let the office staff plan patient meetings and pick the reason for their visits. To improve the screening process and reduce the number of patients who do not show up for their appointments, it should even send appointment email updates regularly with this new EHR feature.

  2. Charting

    In 2018, a case study revealed that most doctors consider the job related to the paper the least favored and indicate that it can be performed more effectively. 

    Most doctors said,

    • Long documentation period per appointment and post-work hours documentation always create wasteful usage of note templates and poorly crafted note templates
    • Extensive length of documentation gives inefficiencies

    That’s why an EHR approach must provide documents and mapping in a hassle-free and effective way by adding,

    • Customizable word processing templates
    • Voice recognition (Speech recognition)
    • Machine learning

    To add charting of various voice recognitions with the help of AI is like a cherry on the cake since this will make it more efficient because dictating saves more time than manually adding the results. 

  3. Patient Portal

    When developing an EHR, your main concern should be customer experience. So, it need not be only doctor-centric but should also be patient-centric. Therefore, the patient portal becomes a necessity more than a convenience. Because a patient portal makes it easier for patients to log in and access patient health records and take the appropriate steps. Such features typically allow the patient to have access control to their, 

    • E-prescribing (E-Prescriptions)
    • Lab results in data integrity
    • Discharge report
    • Insurance data
    • Medical history of appointments
    • Billing system and information
    • Download fill-out intake forms
    • FAQs and training

    Moreover, a patient portal (patient management) with in-app messaging can also minimize no-shows, provide approved patients with immediate and encrypted information, and lead to a highly engaging doctor-patient relationship overall. Also, offer the patients the comfort they want while strengthening patient data safety and protection with an end-to-end EHR system.

  4. Clinical Templates

    Doctors have to make reports for each patient in addition to treating them. They treat patients with the same problems often and have to make the same statements over and over again. Therefore, the feature allows doctors to build models that can be replicated when treating patients with identical disorders via a successful EHR method. By eliminating unnecessary tasks, this will save a lot of time and money, and help doctors to concentrate on treating more patients.

  5. E-Prescription

    E-prescription is also one of the effective features that help physicians to write and deliver medications online rather than handwritten notes to patients or pharmacies. There are some advantages of introducing the e-prescription function in EHR (system development), such as a reduction of mistakes, a stored log of prescribed medications, and even prompt reminders for a refill. E-prescribing minimizes mistakes, since they are more legible than handwritten documents, as per the Department of Health and Human Services, which are often misinterpreted as reading.

  6. E-communication

    E-communication is one of the successful features of EHR applications. Doctors and patients may be able to communicate and handle all health-related issues online using such features. Sometimes, in-app chat can be a life-saving remedy for resolving minor issues as it also helps to record non-electronic communications (phone calls and phone support) and creates objects of a paper message where appropriate. You can also use photo upload features to update your chat and help patients post pictures of their disease symptoms.

  7. Free Support and Training

    Client reports consistently emphasize help and instruction, regardless of what the program is. So successful EHR programs must give comprehensive FAQs and costly consultants to be offered.

    Great EHR systems, combined with a user-friendly application programming user interface at a low cost, offer excellent and attentive customer support service. Your time should be spent giving your patients excellent care management, change management, and not troubleshooting technological problems.

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What’s The Difference Between EHR And EMR?

When we are talking about EHR, how can we forget EMR (Electronic Medical Records)? An EHR and an EMR are used interchangeably by many, but it differs considerably.

A scanned image of a document of patient records saved on a computer is an EMR (electronic medical records) and an EHR (electronic health records) is a portable health information record. Apart from this, there are so many differences that we must take into confederation when deciding on front end software development. Here are a few.

  1. Difference Based On DefinitionEHR is an electronic version of a medical chart that is meant to be shared with other healthcare providers so that registered patients can view the EHR of a medical report within multiple healthcare providers immediately.EMR software is also a digital version of patient paper charts, but only for a single practice. An EMR involves the medical history, diagnosis, and care of the patient by a professional doctor, nurse practitioner, physician, dentist, surgeon, or laboratory.
  2. Difference Based On UsabilityEHR is more inclusive and is a tool for,
    • Patients
    • Doctors
    • Healthcare specialists
    • Nurses
    • Insurance companies
    • Government
    • Other interested parties

    While EMR software is more restrictive and is a tool only for, 

    • Doctors
    • Nurses
  3. Difference Based On Functionality
    FunctionalityEHR SoftwareEMR Software
    Create and maintain records for patients
    Patient history tracking
    Lab tests data (Test samples)
    Image reports
    Demographical data
    Exchange relevant data with other health systems
  4. Difference Based On Performance/ResultsEHR software product helps doctors and patients with,
    • Care coordination
    • Improved diagnosis
    • Patient health information and healthcare data
    • Electronic communications and connectivity
    • Administrative healthcare processes
    • Lower cost
    • Improved patient experience
    • Fewer human errors

    EMR software helps doctors and patients with,

    • Improved access to patient documentation
    • Better tracking of patients over time

EMRs and EHRs all help to make medicine more successful and less expensive. However, you need an EHR solution to go beyond simple clinical data and concentrate on each patient’s complete health condition. EHR is also recommended by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC subscribe), formed to facilitate national health IT systems.

FAQ

  1. How can an EMR system benefit your medical business?

    A custom (an electronic medical record) EMR can offer a lot of advantages to your healthcare company. For an instance, fewer medical record mistakes improved communication with patients and their families, greater alignment of the decision-making process, project plan, and a treatment plan, and strengthened data protection with your customers.

  2. How does an EMR improve the quality of care for patients?

    By optimizing supervision, minimizing prescription errors, mitigating needless inquiries, and increasing coordination and relationships with primary care professionals – all these increase the high quality of care, patient performance, and protection.

  3. How much does electronic medical records software cost today?

    EMR software development cost depends on various factors, core features, functionalities, and business needs, such as complexity, UI/UX design, lab integration, workflow, and compliance.

  4. How long does EHR implementation take?

    For a health record EHR implementation plan, set out the timeline and deadlines until you have selected your method. Usually, with business goals for each healthcare process, the execution takes 16 to 24 months from making them visible and obtainable, from concept to Go-Live to integrating every step. 

  5. How does EHR reduce cost?

    Many healthcare providers have found that by increasing medical efficiencies and cost savings, custom EHR helps improve the task management of the patient practice plan. Medical best practices are benefiting from EHRs in a number of areas, including lowered transcription costs, reduced cost of map pulling, storage, and re-filing.

  6. What are the criteria for a successful EHR EMR system?

    Three main elements that can be boiled down to an effective criteria selection process for the EMR, EHR system: firstly straightforward, specific, and observable targets. Secondly, understanding how an EHR can lead to the aims of the work. And lastly, subsequent awareness in which EHR gives the best decision support and authentication for achieving the aims in your work.

 

Conclusion

While drawing the final line, EHR is nothing but a modernized project platform that allows electronic storage and recording of a patient’s data. Custom EHR systems development, however, is a demanding and trending form of software development. So, if you’re thinking of developing custom EHR software, you can rest assured of your medical practices that it won’t be off-placed easily. It is here to stay for long.

For your software idea, if you need guidance, feel free to contact us. We, as a software development company, will help you with the best possible solutions as early as possible. See you there!

This page was last edited on October 19th, 2020, at 5:38 AM.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel
Designation: Co-founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies

Mr. Rakesh Patel is a Founder and CEO of Space-O Canada. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books - Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.

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