Plain vs. Sexy EHR Features

One of the major challenges in comparing various EHR software has to do with comparing features. For example, think about the feature we call document management. I can pretty much guarantee you that EVERY EHR vendor out there can easily answer that they have a document management system. Honestly, most of them can do so without it even falling under what I’ve called EMR sales miscommunications. However, there’s an important question that those interested in using an EHR should consider.

Did you’re EHR make the feature sexy or is it just getting by?

Continuing with the document management example. Does your EHR software’s document management basically consist of uploading a document into the paper chart and possibly naming the file you uploaded? That’s a perfect example of an EHR that’s just getting by in regards to document management.

So, what would sexy document management look like? Sexy document management could consist of deep integration with your scanner and direct scanning into the paper chart. Documents could have tags available which down the road will help you filter the various documents according to those tags. Does your document management allow for electronic signing/stamping of the document. Of course, this would include full tracking of any additions made to the document. However, it would allow you to write on your documents similar to how you would have done in a paper chart.

Ok, so there’s probably a dozen other things that should be part of a sexy document management feature, but I think I’ve illustrated the point. You can easily see that one document management was just thrown in there on a whim. The other document management you can tell has been planned and is well thought out.

Comparing features to see who’s really thought through an important feature is a good way to help in the EMR selection process. It’s also a good way to think about how your EHR vendor can improve the EHR software you’ve already implemented.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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,, 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.


  • Aha! You wrote the article!

    I’ve been wondering when you’d get around to that. Sadly, I think document management is one of those areas where our POMIS could get better, though we recently had a complete overhaul of our ancient document manager system.

    How bad was it? Well, we USED to sell you an entirely separate Unix server to handle your documents, in addition to your window server that runs the POMIS & EHR systems, which is really dumb/expensive. In addition, the viewing of documents was completely farmed out to a cludgey program that was (somewhat!) integrated to the POMIS. Oh, and I think we made you buy a copy of Oracle to run the unix document database. Neither POMIS nor EHR used Oracle.

    So glad those days are over.

  • AlleyGator,
    You should see the pile of draft posts that I have sitting there waiting for me to write. I guess I need more hours in a day. At least I’ve done more posts than I have draft posts.

    I have a feeling that a lot of the EMR out there don’t have very good document management. This is interesting, because document management is such an essential part of a good implementation. However, it’s rarely apart of the EMR selection process. Probably because people don’t look at whether a company’s document management is sexy or not.

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