The top free EHR software solutions

Free EHRAssuming you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years, you have probably heard there are now free EHR solutions available. But there are so many questions that come along with the concept of free. How can companies make money if they provide free EHR solutions? Is it really free? Is it free only for a short period of time and then the price sky rockets? Are free EHR solutions viable for mid-sized physician practices or are they better suited for small physician practices? Are these free solutions Meaningful Use certified?

Below, our guide provides several free EHR options to consider and answers to those nagging questions physician practices have when considering a free EHR.

What are the best free EHR software solutions?

While there is a plethora of free EHR solutions in the marketplace, there are a few top contenders that we looked at with the goal of helping small and mid-sized physician practices narrow down their choices. The list we provide makes up only a few of the free EHR solutions in the marketplace. When looking at other options, make sure that you look at the features, limitations, potential premium features and how it all best fits into your practice.

List of the Best Free solutions for EHR:

  • Hello Health EHR – Their website states, “Hello Health is the only FREE Electronic Health Record that can generate new revenue for your practice.” Hello Health prides itself in the Portal Connect solution for the patients that earns yearly revenue for the physician’s office.
  • iSalus Healthcare EHR – They offer 4 tiers of pricing packages, of which the basic tier is free. iSalus claims “No Fees. No Long-Term Contracts. No Kidding!” iSalus also offers three levels of paid packages for those looking for additional features and services. UPDATE: They do not appear to offer a free option anymore. In early December 2017 they showed two paid monthly packages and by mid-December they make you fill out a form for information.
  • Kareo EHR  – It is worth noting that when we first developed this EHR Guide Kareo was actually free, but it is not anymore. Their website says, “As we developed the EHR into a fully functional and fully certified product and integrated it completely into the Kareo platform, we decided to include it as part of our affordable overall solution.” They now charge a monthly fee for their EHR and also offer additional add on services such as billing, marketing and more.
  • Office Ally Practice Mate – A free practice management solution offered by Office Ally, Practice Mate can seamlessly integrate with Office Ally EHR and provide access to over 5,000 insurance companies.
  • Practice Fusion EHR – Probably the most well know of the EHRs that don’t charge a fee, Practice Fusion also boasts it is easy to use. No matter how tech savvy your practice is, “easy” is still a huge selling point.

How can companies provide free EHR?

Companies that provide free EHR solutions have varying business models. Driving revenue through advertising is probably the most popular model. For example, Practice Fusion monetizes their solution through ad revenue by providing their advertising clients with a captivated, targeted audience of users who spend most of their day interacting with the EHR system. Practice Fusion is able to serve up advertisements in a non-obtrusive way to their users in niche areas that can typically be a hard to reach audience, such as pharmaceutical.

Other solutions provide freemium models where the basic EHR features are free, but there is a premium for any extras such as online scheduling, billing or even mobile applications.

Is it really free? Will the price tag increase after an introductory period?

As long as your physician practice can get by with the features offered through no-cost EHR solutions, it is technically free and you will likely not be billed at a later date for the same free service you signed up for. But…the price tag can increase if you take into consideration the ongoing resources and any future desired features. And then there is the cost implications of switching EHR solutions if you are not happy with a free one. This is a big undertaking and the decision to go with a free EHR should not be taken lightly.

Considerations when selecting a free EHR

When considering a free solution, there are a few key issues that need to be identified and answered:

  • Meaningful Use certified
  • Set-up options
  • Training and support options
  • Removal of advertising as an option
  • Delineate free vs. premium features
  • Policy on selling data
  • Practice management options
  • Financial health of the company (Is there a risk they go out of business next month?)