Chiropractic EHR, Acom Rapid, ChiroTouch, Eclipse


Full Disclosure, I use Acom Health Practice Management and Rapid Documentation in my chiropractic office.  We are using it after spending several months researching options available to us.  I have been back and forth on whether I made the right decision or not.

Other times when I see something like Practice Fusion, which is available for free on the web, I become very jealous because of my low overhead tendencies.

I am going to do my best to present a few of the more common software packages available and review them.

ChiroTouch

This one is very slick and was modestly priced (around $9000 mid 2011).  They do want you to purchase all touch screen computers, even desktops, which could be very expensive, particularly if they break.

I was also turned off when the program froze before the marketer could even sign in a fake patient at the convention.  I did continue to have phone conversations about the software and was shocked when I was encouraged to do something illegal with the software (he was trying to tell me how the software was able to do this and was proud of it).

The other bit that worried me was that I never got a good answer about the cost of upgrades to the software and future maintenance.  The company was also new and potentially unstable financially.

More recently, this software seems to be picking up steam and market share and I would say is easily the most customizable and flexible solution for chiropractic.  I wish their marketing had been able to provide me with better answers when I was looking mid 2011, but I would still consider ChiroTouch a strong contender.

Accentia

This company was not on my radar until recently and was not even considered when I opened my office.  They seem new to the chiropractic world, but what is nice about them is the service they provide.

Electronic Health Records for Chiropractic & Medical Offices

Photo used under Creative Commons from FourthFloor

They are a cloud based service, which means your patient files will be on servers elsewhere in the world.  This means that if you have a power outage or lose internet you will need a backup paper system, but that really isn’t that terrible.  The good thing about that is that you don’t have to worry about security, backup, upgrades, etc.  All of that is taken care of.

You will also need only a minimal computer to get only and access the records.

They provide the practice management and records software for free . . . that is right . . . free.  They do this because they are also a clearing house.  Clearing houses take a fee or percentage of each insurance payment and keep it for themselves.

They are a business afterall and need to make money to pay for all those servers and staff.

Most clearinghouses take about 7% off the top.  That may sound like a lot, but if you are planning on running a one or two doctor office with one or no office staff, then that is a bargain.  Employee’s are expensive and managing an accounts recievable is a headache.  This moves all of that out of your office, no calls to insurance companies, you just see patients and send the superbill to Accentia.

One disadvantage may be the lack of ability to negotiate or give a special deal to certain patients.  If that is something you might do in some circumstances, it might be difficult.  If this peaks your interest, talk with them further.

Eclipse Practice Management

Admitedly, I don’t remember why I was turned off by this company, but I stopped looking at them early on.  The reason I stopped was likely price if it was early.  I hear good things from friends about the software.

Practice Fusion

A completely free online EHR?  Impossible.  No Really, it is free with advertisements.  It is cloud based, so it has those advantages and disadvantages we already talked about.

You can pay to have the advertisements removed, but it has a few flaws.

Flaw #1 No Chiropractic Template, but you could create.  This will be a few extra minutes of work per patient than many of the programs that will let you copy and paste a Soap note from your last visit and update it.

Flaw #2 It does not include billing software.  It has a scheduler (patients can even look at the schedule), but you will need to integrate with another piece of software to track your accounts recievable and billing.

This one was looking really great until flaw #2.  Billing software for even a small practice will cost around $150 a month, which will pay for a monthly subscription to a complete Practice Management and Documentation system like the others discuss on this page.

With billing moving to all electronic with penalties on reimbursement, flaw #2 kills the deal for chiropractic.

Acom Health & Rapid Documentation

As I said above, I run this EHR software in my practice.  I have been angry somedays and pleased other days.  No program this complex could possibly make me 100% happy and when I think back to the original reasons I choose this software, I would still choose it.

The biggest draw to ACOM was actually the marketers.  They were friendly!  They were knowledgeable!  They weren’t pushy!

The second draw was that, in the long haul, ACOM would be the cheapest.  $1700 a year for support and upgrades was the lowest price I had heard from any EHR software company (Some companies charge $750 a month, most were about $400 a month). 

The biggest downside was the initial price.  It’s not the most expensive out there but because my wife and I are both chiropractors, we had to buy the multidoctor version at $12,000 . . . ouch.

Other features I liked were the patient sign in kiosk(with exams and OATS), detail of the documentation, and cheap hardware (computers).

After using the software for nearly a year (and recieving my HITECH Incentive rebate) I can offer a bit more critical view of the software.

One pet peeve includes not having a default value in some drop down menus or having a default value that is never used.  Having to click two extra times for something that should be set to “Initial” 95% of the time is a waste of time.

On a more positive note, I have found that Rapid documentation really forces you to do a great job at taking notes.  Exams are as thorough as needed and can be printed out in report form very easily.  I don’t feel like I might be missing something in my notes when using Rapid.

[important]If you are going to consider Rapid, please consider giving them your information through this referral form.  Scroll down to the bottom and enter your name, phone, and email address into the “Referred” sections.  I only get paid if you buy the software, but I honestly don’t care if you choose ACOM or another EHR.  Pick the software that will work best for your office, but if it is ACOM, put in the good word for me and this website so we can keep it going.[/important]

Conclusion

When you are ready to consider an EHR for your office, get your name out there to a few different companies that you like.  They will contact you and schedule and appointment to meet with you in person or through the internet.  They will show you the program, all of its features, and tell you the price.

What Electronic Health Records do you use in your office?

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