Killer EMR Features According to EMR Vendors

I previously posted a request to hear about the “killer” EMR features that set an EMR vendor’s software apart from the other 400 EMR vendors out there. As expected, some of the people who sent me a message didn’t understand what I mean. However, a few of the responses we’re pretty interesting. I think we’ve barely scratched the surface on EMR features, so please keep submitting your best EMR feature on the contact us page.

Here’s a quick look at three of the responses from EMR vendors. I’ve added strikethroughs when it’s not a killer feature and my commentary is in italics.

First up is SRSSoft‘s killer EMR feature:
The SRS hybrid EMR is a killer EMR, with the prime killer feature being “speed.” Speed is built into the hybrid EMR throughout, and is delivered in three primary ways—click minimization, OpenPath™ technology, and robust messaging.Speed is a killer featuring and an EMR company focusing on speed and calculating clicks makes it a killer feature.

SRS conducts time-motion studies to minimize the number of clicks and the number of seconds it takes for physicians to accomplish their most frequent clinical tasks. For example, a prescription can be written and approved with 2 clicks, and an image can be viewed with only one click. Additionally, the SRS nonproprietary OpenPath™ technology foundation allows the seamless “plug-in” of other applications—physicians can access a myriad of programs containing patient information directly from within the patient chart, without having to waste time toggling back and forth between SRS and other applications.I would have liked to see a list of applications which are already integrated, but an API(Application Interface) in an EMR is a really cool feature.

Furthermore, SRS Messaging automatically attaches the complete patient chart to every message between staff members, which means that when key information is needed to make a quick clinical decision and respond to a message, the information is only one click away.One click access to the patient chart is nice. I wonder how many clicks it takes to tie the message to the chart in the first place.

Speed, Fewer Clicks and an API are definitely killer features of an EMR. I’d be interested to try SRSsoft to see if they can really deliver these features. Regardless, I wish every EMR company was as focused on the number of clicks and the speed of their application. said the following:
Simplicity – Built on the single most widly used small business software in the world (Microsoft Office), XLEMR is as simple as Outlook, Word, and Excel. It’s not uncommon for doc’s to sit down and start using XLEMR with no training…I’d like to see how well a doctor uses this EMR with no training. No doubt office is a familiar application to many. However, I’m surprised how often doctors need to be trained on simple things in Word like saving a file to a specific location. Assuming a doctor can sit down and use it with no training, that’s a killer EMR feature.

Inexpensive – XLEMR works on your old hardware and software you already own. There is no server or database to crash and maintain. There is no dependence on the internet. There is no annual maintenance agreement and because it’s Microsoft you can improve it yourself or hire your nephew…Some might argue that these are all reasons why you should not implement this EMR. For example, there’s some benefits to having a database that anyone can access anywhere you have internet (which is everywhere these days). Not to mention more reliable server hardware compared to desktop hardware. However, this could be a killer EMR feature for certain practices.

Efficient – Chart established patients in 3 minutes including the exam, the orders, the labs, the coding, the note is faxed out to referring physicians, the prescription is faxed or printed or e-prescribed or all of the above, the bililng is done…I had to strike this one out for now. Every EMR vendor makes this claim more or less. I just don’t see that happening for most visits using just Word. I’d love to see some proof of this in a video or something. It also seems to contradict the “no dependence on internet” point above since so many of those things require internet to be done well.

Easy Implementation – Download, Install, Configure, and chart your first patient in 1hr or less…An hour is a seriously short period of time, however, a number of other EMR are claiming 5 minute EMR installs. I personally think that it’s all a bit of marketing spin. There are just far too many customizations people have to make and things people have to learn in order to implement an EMR.

Nice work XLEMR. Simplicity and inexpensive are both really killer features of an EMR. Executing on those two things will make a lot of doctors really happy. I can’t help but wonder what you might be missing as far as reporting and accessibility of records, but that’s not the point of this. The point is to learn about and share killer features that every EMR can try to obtain.

Next up, BennPenn:
Our program, BennPen, is different from most EMR systems because:
1. Our is simple to use. I believe many Drs. who have tried EMRs have rejected them
because they are complicated and difficult to use and the Drs find it takes longer to use
the program than to write the notes as they always have.
This could be a really killer EMR feature, but I’d need to know a specific example of how it’s simpler than other EMR. It’s not just enough to say it’s simple.
2. Our program is customized for each Dr. We load the templates, forms, letters the Doctor
uses into BennPen so he or she continues to chart with the forms they are familiar
with.This is an awesome feature. Many doctors love to chart the way they’re use to charting. I’m sure that many EMR purists will argue that it’s not a real EMR if you don’t capture granular data. However, I think there’s a middle ground that should be considered. Also, what makes this description a killer EMR feature is that the EMR vendor loads the templates for the doctor.
3. The Doctor can use voice, drop-down lists, or a combination of the two. Every EMR vendor can do this, no?
4. Our program is less expensive than many – $3,000 plus $500 for each Dr. over 1 in the
office.I’m always happy to help inform people that the price of EMR doesn’t have to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s what makes lower priced EMR a killer feature.
So, BennPenn added customized EMR templates (loaded by the EMR vendor) and low cost EMR. Two really great features.

I think we’re just barely scratching the surface on what makes an EMR vendor special. Although, maybe the lesson here is that it’s the core features that every EMR claims to offer that makes them special. Maybe I should rephrase the question. Instead of asking about a killer feature, maybe I should be comparing the same feature across multiple EMR systems and highlighting what makes each EMR systems implementation of that feature unique, different and/or better. I’m going to have to think on this one.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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.


  • I applaud the vendors who rose to the challenge. You have started a dialog that should evolve to be remarkably valuable. Your taking a ‘red pen’ to vendor copy about their features is a breathtakingly refreshing approach.

  • Charles,
    I’m glad to hear you like it. I wasn’t sure what reaction people would have to it. We’ll see if the EMR vendors like the refreshing approach as well.

    My goal is to uncover the killer features that are found in various EMR. The reality is that EVERY EMR has its strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully more EMR vendors will participate and show off their strengths for all to learn.

  • Ok. But if we really wanted to have some fun, ask the vendors to write about what makes the other guys’ program spew turnips!

    Unfortunately, because of CCHIT, there will be a lot of retooling to the functional spec sheet and less focus on killer new features.

    I’m ready to see more integration/real compatibility with the iPhone, more biometric tools, more messaging capabilities, more direct patient interaction, more/better document imaging capabilities, more single click search actions out to the WebMD’s (just an example), etc. Some have made strides here; many others haven’t.

  • John,

    Thank you for posting our “killer feature” write-up and for your positive comments. First, I would like to respond to your request by inviting you to see the SRS hybrid EMR in person or via a Web demonstration. I would be happy to show you exactly how it delivers speed, fewer clicks and OpenPath™, as well as many other killer features.

    I’d like to address two of your comments. First, it does not take any additional clicks to tie the message to the chart. Our software designers have taken care of that by building AutoClip™ into the messaging system so that when the message is generated by a staff member, the chart is automatically attached to it. Most messages in SRS, however, are auto-generated, (e.g., transcriptions, labs, and test results), and they are automatically routed and delivered seamlessly, behind the scenes, without any user intervention/clicks.

    Second, a few examples of the type of applications which have been integrated into SRS by various users include PACS, lab reports, and of course, almost all practice management systems.

  • Evan,
    I might just have to take you up on that offer. We’ll see how my time is. Just know that any demo I do I’m apt to blog about it both good and bad.

  • This is definitely a great discussion. To me, though, it seems like ‘fewer clicks’ and ‘speed’ should be givens in an EMR. Just because the previous generations of EMR products were so detrimental to office efficiency doesn’t mean that ‘not being less-efficient’ is good enough to be a killer app.

    In my opinion, a killer app is something that makes the user say “WOW, I cant’s live without that software!” (Ask a Mac enthusiast about his/her iPhone). Speed and ease-of-use should be a requirement, not a feature.

    The notion of an API also interests me. If a major EMR product had a well-established client base and an open API, some exciting development opportunities could arise, providing real value and usability to the customer.

  • Show me a system that takes an understanding of the tasks the healthcare community needs to complete and is innovative in the ways in which they improve them – that is a killer app. How does using the new system improve “life” (define “life” as needed) compared to the current way of doing things?

    I hear lots of stories from physicians about how it takes months or years to simply get back to their pre-EMR level of productivity. Why aren’t vendors using that as their metric?

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