Software solution for Electronic Medical Records
December 30, 2007 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Help us figure out a software solution for setting up Electronic Medical Records for an inner city walk-in clinic. Mac/Leopard, possibilities in Word, Excel, Acrobat, database software.

We are setting up an electronic medical records system for an inner city walk-in clinic that does not process insurance claims. We are are switching to electronic medical records from a paper-based filing system. This will be an all-Mac (Leopard) setup. All/most of the commercially available electronic medical records software, which seem like overkill, feature claims processing and scheduling features, which we don't need and seem to be a substantial part of the program. We need something fairly simple that would emulate, on a Mac, forms and processes that the staff works with daily, and are very comfortable with it and used to it. Questions:

1. Does anyone have any experience with or suggestions for software (Mac, Leopard) that would allow us to maintain EMRs? Thinking along the lines of: creating an MS Word doc using the form features, leaving it protected so only the form fields can be changed; Using Excel to emulate a form and locking/protecting the right cells to make it so that the data can be entered; Using PDF forms for data entry. It would also be helpful to be able to insert PDFs (lab results, for example, as images, perhaps?) into whichever document type. Word allows one to enter them as objects (images of each page), which seems ideal.

2. A database program seems like the obvious choice, but we've no experience with them, but we can figure it out. FileMaker Pro? The upcoming Bento? What are the other significant database systems for Mac and are Leopard compatible? Can a database be open on several machines at the same time, with separate records being edited?

3. Bonus question: any recommendations for true EMR software? Something simplified, without insurance/scheduling modules and other fanciness, something that emphasizes patient charts?

Thanks so much!
posted by jroybal to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I did volunteer paper-to-computer data entry for a free clinic for a short while a few years ago; however, it was a Windows-based system. Not only that, but it was a really awkward program that I think had been thrown together by someone local. That said, I did some Googling and ran across this: GNUmed Project. I'm pretty ignorant about Mac systems and software, so I'm not sure if it's geared for your setup--or if it would meet your clinic's needs.

If I run across anything else promising, I'll pass it along.
posted by bonobo at 11:54 PM on December 30, 2007

Here's some web-based ones I found. I haven't tried any of them.

EMRian - free. Couldn't find much info.
Practice Fusion - $50/mo support fee and ad-supported. Seems to have a lot of good press.

Disclosure: I'm doing some work around this space but I have no ties to any of the 2 companies listed.
posted by junesix at 12:32 AM on December 31, 2007

My employer uses a program called Intergy for everything, including the electronic health records. I think it's made by Sage, but I'm not sure. And almost certainly not free.
posted by mabelcolby at 3:45 AM on December 31, 2007

Best answer: If it's a non-profit clinic, Practice Fusion is offering their service free if you apply for a grant, depending on availability. Disclosure: I'm on their physician advisory board.

There are a number of open source, free web-based EMRs out there, but the last time I looked at them (about 1.5 years ago) I wasn't all that impressed. Some Mac-specific solutions would include SpringCharts for Mac, MacPractice,The Life Record, but I personally think the web-based chart is the way to go.

You could probably find more ideas at MacDoctors.
posted by gramcracker at 5:07 AM on December 31, 2007

Another option to consider is something like Allscripts and a managed hosted solution. I set this up for a friend who opened some retail clinics. You can use the Macs in the shop and just use the free Remote Desktop connection from M$ to connect to the hosted application. It definitely has what you're looking for, but it's neither free nor open source. The plus side is that if you open another one or move the impact is minimal. Move everything, plug it in and you're back online. Also, someone else is handling the administration of the "heavy" stuff.
posted by cdmwebs at 6:01 AM on December 31, 2007

OpenEMR is free. It runs on LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP).
posted by neuron at 1:32 PM on January 1, 2008

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