Last Updated | February 6, 2023
Overview: Create EMR Software by Folio3 with 8 Easy Steps
About fifteen years ago, you would record all patient data on paper sheets, bind a bunch together and maintain it in files, create sections for files, and make only one copy of the records available.
What if you lost the file or just couldn’t lay your hands on a patient’s record?
That would be a bummer! You would have to create the files all over again and might end up frustrating the patients.
And what would be the aftermath?
You would gradually watch your patients walking out the door.
However, fifteen years later, the situation has changed.
Luckily, technological advancements in the healthcare industry have transformed it just the way they have manifested disruption in other industries.
Now, you have electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) to store patient records securely. You can also save them from being lost by backing up with HIPAA compliance solutions.
In addition, you have the freedom to develop customized EHR software for your hospital to get them to work the way you want (of course you add selective features).
Though creating these custom software involves lots of ups and downs. However, the case for developing EHRs is compelling.
They can make health care efficient and less expensive. Plus, they improve the quality of patient care by making a patient’s health record history available to all the practitioners who treat them.
As a healthcare organization concerned about your operational efficiency, you need to consider developing and implementing such software.
Here we will break down all you need to know about the EHR development process to help you learn what custom EHR software is and how our expert software developers can help you build your custom EHR in just 8 easy steps.
What Is Custom EHR Software Development?
Developing custom EHR software is the practice of creating a customized electronic health record system based on the needs of a practice.
EHR software manages electronic documents, clinical dashboards, customizable charts, reports, appointment schedules, patient profiles, and prescription lists.
When your organization gets a custom EHR software developed, you can configure the relevant features to manage:
- Billing information
- Medication orders and e-prescribing
- Patient management and engagement
- Laboratory information
Our highly skilled team at folio3 creates custom EHR and EMR software that processes data, adheres to HIPAA regulations, and meets all legal standards.
We develop secure and scalable software solutions that allow providers and patients:
- To exchange healthcare data seamlessly
- Access patient data and transcribe notes
- Handle data remotely and promptly respond to critical issues with a few taps
Health records handled by EMRs revolutionize the way patient records are managed and processed. Telemedicine software development has become a norm that promises better care for patients through digital technologies.
That’s why, the rate for EMR and EHR adoption is reaching 86%, which is higher than ever.
In addition, about 90% of healthcare providers report that their organizations already use EHRs.
With so many providers turning to digital technologies, why would you step back and compromise your practice efficiency using paper charts?
You wouldn’t, right?
You need to step up and decide to create EHR software for your practice to boost efficiency.
To get started, let’s walk you through:
What Steps Are Involved in Creating EHR Software?
Selection team building
Your first step to prepare for EHR development is to build an in-house team that will be responsible for selecting an EHR. This team should be familiar with your facility inside and out and understand functions such as finances, billing, clinical data, etc.
The implementation will affect every area of your facility, but your IT, finance, and accounting departments will bear the most burden. So, you must pull out selection teams heavily from these departments.
As they will be involved in selecting the EHR software, they should have some experience implementing new systems in your organization.
They will need to work closely with all the physicians to make sure every medication, treatment, doctor, and nurse is accurately represented in the EHR software.
More importantly, this task needs focus and enough time to spend to understand the unique requirements. So, you must build your team wisely.
Requirements Analysis and gathering RFI and RFP
It is never easy to select new technology and implement it in a healthcare facility.
Many facilities may rush into confusion without knowing what to do first.
Before you do anything else, identify and document your requirements for EHR.
To pull that off, you can gather a team of trusted experts. Get their help to discuss and document requirements and review your existing processes and technologies.
Once you document requirements, do market research, talk to your team, and collaborate with other professionals.
After this requirements assessment, you must consider a list of vendors and send them a request for information (RFI).
RFI explains why you want to implement an EHR and what your requirements are. Sending this request to vendors means you propose potential vendors who can provide for your needs.
An RFI is an overview of your problem and the solution you are looking for. It is different from RFP and only contains a general idea of how you want to develop the software and does not specify pricing for the vendor.
Not all organizations start with the RFI method; some directly send an RFP (Request for Proposal).
Unlike RFI, RFP is an official request sent to a vendor to ask them to develop a solution for you, specifying your budget. This stage is used for the analysis of the market, and it is often the last buying stage for many organizations.
After you send the RFP, the vendor might invite you to negotiate. However, typically there are not many steps after an RFP since it is the final proposal for the product an organization wants to buy (in your case, it is a final proposal for the EHR product you want to implement).
Consideration for RFI and RFP responses
Now, you have probably sent RFI and RFP based on your decision.
In most cases, the chance of receiving a response to RFI is greater than RFP. Since an RFI is about gathering information from a vendor, you will most likely receive lots of responses. Many vendors will willingly send you pitches to convince you to buy their products.
Whether you get RFI or RFP responses, how would you consider them?
If you want to build a custom EHR, the vendor might propose you go for ready-made software. At their best, vendors will outline why you need to implement the EHR solution they propose to cope with particular challenges you face (such as inefficiency).
This is the time when vendors narrow down their field and the solution they offer. You need to heed every point and judge your facility’s needs. Finally, get down to the best responses suited to your needs.
RFP responses from vendors are sales pitches. They will do their best to send you an engaging and clear document, trying to highlight your pain points. The document will outline how the vendor can solve your EHR development problems.
It might become daunting for you to decide between different responses, each compelling enough, but you have to reach a conclusion.
Shortlist the best vendors
By this time, you must have many vendor responses at your hand.
You cannot go with all, so you need to shortlist the best vendors.
Pick the ones that rightly address your needs and propose extensive support for EHR development.
While reading the responses, again you need to gather your teams and ask for their points of view.
As many hands make light work, their ideas will help you narrow down the list of best vendors.
To bring the list down, consider vendor demonstrations.
Demos of the EHR software provide you with a dense look into the functionality of the software and how it ties with your requirements and goals
The vendor will give you demonstrations to show how the software can work in the context of your practice. Here you can measure your needs against how EHR software meets your needs.
Finalize the Vendor
To choose the right vendor, follow the inverted pyramid approach. This approach is based on hierarchy moving from general to specific.
It starts with general information (the wider side of the pyramid) and narrows down to specifications of how the product meets your needs.
Your selection should be based on general criteria of EHR requirements and then arrive at the narrow side of the inverted triangle, the ultimate idea on which you make a decision.
Here’s how you can reach a conclusion:
- Create a list of EHR features and prioritize the ones based on their usability score
- Examine vendor offers in the core package
- Ask the ones who have hands-on experience using the software
- Rank vendor based on which EHR best meets your requirements
Designing User Experience
Most physicians complain about the UI design in healthcare, saying that they have to click about 30 times just to give a sleeping pill to a patient.
This happens when organizations overlook the design process and add clinical components based on what government guidelines suggest. At this point, they do not focus on user experience.
If you do the same and combine excessive documentation and dedicate little thought to user experience, your physicians, nurses, and patients will feel burnout.
To avoid that: while creating the software, your foremost consideration should be to design a great user experience.
Planning and go-live preparation
EHR go-live should be the culmination of in-depth research, planning, and evaluation by people from various backgrounds (i.e. doctors, nurses, patients, associates, etc.)
As you plan to go live, provide training to users and get them up to speed. Make sure you only train the staff that is expected to use the software.
Still, you are likely to face a few glitches.
Things might be time-consuming, and your staff may find fault with the software. All this is part of the process. If you encounter any such hiccups at this stage, make sure to overcome them before going live.
It will not take long to cope with these challenges if the vendor offers you great support.
And that’s that!
Now, you have gotten down to the nitty-gritty of EHR development. This is how the process works.
With this know-how of the general EHR selection process, we can move on to a custom EHR software development process.
To build your custom EHR software, we at folio3 follow an eight-step process.
How Does Folio3 Develop EMR Software In 8 Easy Steps?
Step 1. Build your custom EHR software roadmap
We begin the development process by creating the roadmap for building your custom EHR software.
Here we outline all the tasks that the step-by-step development process involves. These processes are as follows:
- Recruitment of implementation committee
- Outlining the expected development costs and defining the complete budget
- Scheduling implementation (you decide once you have a clear roadmap)
- Practice and patient data migration
- Designing a user training program
- Clearly defining go-live activities
- Defining evaluation strategies and identifying success factors
After developing the map for you to go down the road, we put these processes into action in the following steps.
Step 2. Recruit your custom EHR software committee
Your teams do not need to be experts in the development and technical side of EHR creation.
We delegate our specialists to take over each role, such as:
Project Manager– one who is responsible for coordinating and completing the project from planning to design to implementation.
Application Analyst– to design, analyze, and implement EHR.
Application Developer– to develop the app once the design completes.
QA Test Engineer– to test the system and provide in-depth quality assurance.
Physician Advocate- one who represents physicians and guides on testing and training.
Nurse Advocate– one who represents nurses and guides on testing and training.
Billing Advocate– one who represents the billing department and guides on testing and training.
Step 3. Forecast your EHR implementation costs and define a budget
Now you have a roadmap and a development team. You can estimate the implementation costs and budget.
A lot goes into developing software, but you can have a well-defined budget.
With a proper budget, you can make sure not to incur more costs than what is associated with:
- Upgrades for hardware and telemedicine software cost
- Overtime by practice staff or hiring temporary staff
- Productivity loss
- EHR vendor consultancy
- Vendor training fees
- Consultancy costs
- Cloud EHR costs and data backups
Typically, costs for EHR development vary depending on the complexity of the system you develop. The general estimate ranges from $15,000 to $70,000.
Plus, there will be EHR software maintenance costs that you need to spend to make sure your software is working well. Most organizations spend an annual cost of $50,000+ on maintenance.
Step 4. Schedule implementation plan activities for EHR software
Proceed with scheduling the implementation long before your go-live activity.
You can boldly roll out your software for all patients and functions on the same day. But this leaves less time for managing paper documents and software systems simultaneously and often leads to small problems popping out.
Hence, many practices prefer a slower approach. They introduce one function at a time and implement systems in different departments separately.
You can follow the same method and schedule your implementation accordingly.
Step 5. Migrate patient data/practice data to new software
Data migration is the process of transferring data from your old infrastructure to new software.
EHR typically stores patient data, including CT scans, allergies, MRI, and other radiographic images.
Migrating patient and practice data to EHR can be complicated depending on how you transfer it.
However, we follow industry best integration practices to help you seamlessly migrate your data.
Even if you run several EHRs with different protocols, we develop integration APIs which help you easily integrate your clinical workflows with EHR or EMR software.
Data migration to your new EHR involves key stages that include:
- Converting paper charts to electronic health records
- Cleansing and verifying data
- Setting up EHR database
- Mapping legacy data to your new database
- Transferring data to the new system
- Testing and verifying legacy data
- Testing and verifying new data inputs
Step 6. Develop a training program for users
Having migrated data to the new EHR, now, your users can practice using the system.
To help them get the hang of your implemented system, we provide training to your teams.
We design successful training programs that include:
- Creating clear communication channels with our teams
- Role-based training for every user to ensure relevance
- Feedback loop to create a dialogue between users and project manager
There can be more steps in training because the ultimate goal is to succeed with EHR implementation and ensure successful user adoption.
Step 7. Plan go-live activities
If you want your go-live activity to go seamlessly, you need to plan it.
Working with new software is going to be a new phase for your team, so you need to create a more detailed version of your roadmap specifically for go-live days.
What would you include in your roadmap?
- System testing processes (before and after going live)
- Patient communication guidelines (such as what to do during expected downtime)
- Staff schedule (for overtime and temporary staff)
- Changes to appointments and scheduling
- Processes to report on system and project evaluation (as in step 8)
- In-practice marketing (as signs on noticeboards about the new implementation)
- Checking network speed and reliability
- Data backup processes
Step 8. Define critical success factors and evaluation strategies
That’s great! You have made it through go-live activities or at least the planning process.
Now we can talk about how we can evaluate EHR implementation.
Evaluation of EHR implementation takes many forms. For your practice, we decide on one based on your project goals.
Here is how we evaluate your EHR implementation:
- To estimate profit, we calculate ROI
- To assess your practice efficiency, we record patient wait times
- To gauge the quality of care, we survey how satisfied patients are
- To assess user adoption and results of training, we survey how satisfied physicians are
- To measure data input efficacy, we analyze data error rates
How long does it take to develop custom EHR software?
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, EHR or EMR software is not implemented overnight.
This also doesn’t mean you will need to spend years developing EHR software. It requires a significant amount of time and patience to build a custom EHR software program that pays off for the long haul. Need to know how much EMR software costs?
It is time for your organization to go paperless and adopt EHRs.
To get the most out of this software, you must develop bespoke EHR for your organization
Developing EHR software is not as hard as you might think. It just needs planning and the right execution of the plans.
Certainly, this process involves challenges.
But, the sooner you start planning, the more detail you plan, and the more likely you are to avoid the perils of creating an EHR.
And if you opt for our developers, we will back you up throughout the planning and execution until you get your EHR up and running.
What does an EHR implementation specialist do?
An EHR implementation specialist believes that modern EHR software can replace legacy documentation.
The specialist uses his knowledge to implement EHR and enhance clinical operations. Plus, s/he conducts an assessment to understand your organization’s needs.
Implementation experts are also responsible for reviewing existing paper records and helping you implement electronic records.
How do I build EMR software to yield maximum business outcomes?
If you want to build your own EHR software, you may need to start from scratch. Another way you can try is to implement ready-to-use software.
Whatever the case, your first step should be to find an expert team that specializes in developing software for the healthcare industry. Plus, it understands the unique challenges of managing a medical facility.
Having the team by your side, you can move on to the next steps:
- Formulate your idea in the form of a request for information and state your needs
- Learn about the estimated costs of the design and development team
- Communicate your expectations to build the software effectively and within the budget
- Create a general prototype based on your basic requirements
- Next, develop MVP (Minimum Viable Product) by adding the functions that were not added in the previous step.
- An MVP represents the actual product and gives you a good idea of the end product. At this stage, you approve the budget and sign the contract.
- Next, choose the development process based on the complexity or simplicity of the EHR system.
- During the process, stay flexible to adjust to the evolving requirements.
- Develop strong communication with the implementation team
- Choose an architecture that offers scalability, fault isolation, and maintenance.
- Test the quality of EHR software and apply best practices to improve productivity
- Develop and add modules for specific functionalities such as medical scheduling, charting, and telemedicine modules.
- Run the test and go live with the software
What is medical device integration?
Like EHR data integration, medical device integration is a software solution that gathers patient data from various medical devices and reconciles it with their EMRs.
It is a process of connecting various data points into one unified system that enables seamless access to health records.
What are some ways to enable data integration?
There are many data integration solutions for healthcare, such as:
Cerner integration provides an integrated ecosystem for physicians to help them meet the rapidly evolving demand of connected healthcare.
You can connect Allscripts with different medical software solutions using Allscripts integration services. They seamlessly integrate your EHR software with other apps to deliver high functionality and productivity.
Lots of Epic integration solutions are there to help you connect Epic EHR, EMR, EpicCare, Epic app Orchid, MyChart, and pharmacy systems.
HL7 integration provides a way to share data with other healthcare systems so that it is comprehensible on the receiving end.
This integration implements HL7 standards and uses them to simplify communication between various EHR systems.
What is the use of HL7 and FHIR for interoperability?
HL7 and FHIR are international standards that enable seamless interoperability among various medical systems.
The game-changer between HL7 vs FHIR is the universal application of FHIR.
One of the very first versions of HL7 was V2 which is used in 35 countries. This standard still has its purpose.
However, when the use of apps and the need to exchange more data increased, FHIR (pronounced as ‘fire’) emerged as a more promising standard in the industry.
FHIR draws from HL7 capabilities and combines with the latest web technologies to enable faster interoperability.
It allows integration among wearable devices and mobile apps and devices to share information seamlessly.
What does the HL7 standard do?
HL7 bridges the gap between various healthcare providers and provides a communication standard to share data easily and efficiently.
HL7 uses messages to send quick notifications about patients to physicians. Using HL7 messages examples (such as ACK or General Acknowledgement), a physician can send prompt messages about a patient’s admission or discharge to other healthcare providers.
Cerner Vs Epic pros and cons: what are EHR software ratings?
Cerner and Epic are two top-performing EHRs in the market. There are differences between how both work. So, reviews by real users can be valuable to learn which offers a better user experience.
According to Software Advice, Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory EHR has a rating of 3.83 out of 5, whereas EpicCare EMR has been rated 4.35 out of 5.
These reviews are based on their features, usability score, customer service, and ROI for organizations.
What are the 10 components of medical records in a hospital?
In hospitals, patient medical records consist of 10 components that include:
- Patient demographics (registration form, name, address, and more)
- Financial information (insurance payer, policy number, etc.)
- Consent and authorization forms (when patients agree to go under certain diagnosis expressing consent with the chance of recovery)
- Release of information
- Treatment history (including past illnesses, vital signs, and medical allergies)
- Progress notes
- Physician orders and prescriptions
- Lab results and radiology reports
- Nursing notes
- Medication listIt is advised that getting a Medical Device Software developed is necessary to keep a track of all your medical records.