5 Minute EMR Install

I’ve been really intrigued with how various EMR software has been touting how quickly they can get an EMR installed for a doctor’s office.  I’m sure that many people can tell of experiences where they spent literally years getting their EMR ready for use.  This is what makes these 5 minute EMR installs that I’ve seen recently seem so intriguing.

Practice Fusion’s Live in Five

Practice Fusion has a “Live in Five” marketing campaign and promise that they can get a practitioners charting in an EMR in five minutes.  Here’s their full description of Live in Five:

Forget everything you know about software. Practice Fusion’s exclusive ‘Live in Five’ program allows you to be up and charting in less than five minutes. There are no sales contracts, no consultants to go on-site, no installation of hardware, software, and databases.

Of course, I think that Live in Five is a better marketing tool than it is reality.  Not that you won’t be charting in 5 minutes.  You certainly will be, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be a more configuration and setup needed in order to move your paper charts to EMR.  There’s just more to the process than 5 minutes allows.

It is true that a hosted solution like Practice Fusion is much much faster to implement than a regular client server install.  However, no one should assume that they’ll be ready to ditch their paper charts after 5 minutes.

Open Source elementalClinic 5 Minute Install

I’m a strong proponent of open source software.  So much so that EMR and HIPAA is completely done using open source software.  I think that’s why I’m so impressed with that elementalClinic is doing to try to make installing an open source EMR in 5 minutes.  Here’s a link to install elementalClinic in 5 minutes.

Of course, if you aren’t technical you’re eyes are going to glaze over if you look at the instructions listed on that site.  However, for someone with any experience using Ubuntu linux (which is most technical people), those instructions are about as easy as you can create.  The cool part is that it makes updating the software that easy as well.

Install Thoughts

Certainly installing an EMR is just one step in the implementation of an EMR.  There’s always a lot of configuring, setup, and workflow questions that must be answered when implementing an EMR.  The cool part of the 5 minute install is that it makes answering all of those questions so much easier since you can spend 5 minutes doing an install and literally test the EMR out of the box.  You don’t have to just trust what a sales person tells you it can do.  Now you can drive exactly what your EMR software will provide before spending all the money and signing long term contracts.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Practice Fusion’s experience with “Live in 5” has actually lived up to the promise. Rapid deployment of a practice via a web sign-up enrolls a physician in the free system, and offers the full capability of the EMR from the outset.

    Of course, this is an empty patient list (other than the 5 “dummy” patients pre-loaded to allow a new user to become acquainted with the interface). Our experience has been that many new users, moving from paper to EMR, simply start building their patient lists as-they-go, and begin charting from the outset. We also offer the following: if your practice has a billing system or some other source that is able to output your patient-demographic list into a file (an Excel file, or .csv file, or any other text format), you can upload that file to Practice Fusion, and we will import that data so that you have all the patients loaded for your use. These uploads are guaranteed to be accomplished within 24 hours, and often have been done on the same day – by the way, uploading patient demographics file is a free service offered by Practice Fusion.

    Learning the system is pretty quick – there are in-product videos and tutorials throughout, as well as daily (twice a day) web-based seminars for orientation (also free). You might also want to review our blog commentary on strategic approaches to moving your practice from paper to EMR: http://practicefusion.typepad.com/weblog/2008/12/stepping-stones-to-emr-adoption.html

    If a practice is motivated to use an EMR in an office environment within a day, Practice Fusion offers the only real pathway to doing so. That has been our experience.

    Robert Rowley, MD
    Chief Medical Officer
    Practice Fusion, Inc.

  • 5 Minutes and you’re done? Is this for real? Oops, the cynical side came out. I guess you can’t blame me after 17+ years in technology (‘cuz I know better).

    Truth is, as you stated, installation is step one. Use of the software is embodied in Steps 2 through 20. As I’ve mentioned before, technology provides a tool. That tool requires education and learning to use it well. Changing the way care is delivered using the tool can take some time.

    But that time is well spent if care is delivered in a more comprehensive (rather than fragmented) manner which results in improved patient outcomes and health.

  • I think that Deborah’s reply was basically what I think. Installing the website is only step 1 of a lot more steps. Like I said in the post, it’s definitely faster than pretty much any other EMR install, but I’m certain there are still a lot of other configuration items that need to be set to use it properly. If there aren’t, then it just means that it won’t be able to adapt to the large number of specialties that need to use EMR as well.

    Dr. Rowley,
    I did see your post on moving from paper to EMR and I thought it was spot on. A great description of the various options available for doctors to move from paper to EMR.

  • Yeah — the installation instructions for getting elementalClinic running in 5 minutes are currently geared toward pretty technical Ubuntu users.

    I’m working on a new version of the installation instructions that will use the GUI in Ubuntu and then further down the road we’ll have instructions for getting it running on a Mac and Windows.

    If anyone needs a hand getting it running send me an email at alex@elementalclinic.com

    But yeah, getting an EMR up and running requires a lot more than spending the 5 minutes getting the server up. The services we provide to help ensure a successful EMR implementation is how we are able to give away the software for free.

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