The EMRs You Don’t Hear About

The best-known EMRs got that way because they target the masses. About a third of the country’s physicians focus on primary care, with the remainder fragmented across dozens of specialties and subspecialties. It’s easy to see, then, why the major EMRs are primary-care centric.

For specialists, the solution is often to use a general EMR and tailor it, with templates and other features, for the field’s common diagnoses and treatments, as well as its workflow. The question is whether the customization is enough. After all, the practice of, say, a nephrologist, who focuses on kidney ailments, doesn’t look much like that of the average family practitioner. And that’s not even considering other health care providers, such as optometrists, who aren’t MDs but who are eligible for meaningful use incentives all the same.

Some providers, then, choose a single-specialty EMR. Sometimes it’s a specific product from a larger health IT company. In other cases, it’s software from a vendor operating in but one niche.

Here are a few specialties with very specific practice patterns and the vendors who serve them with EMRs and practice-management software.

  • Nephrology. Physicians in this specialty deal with conditions and treatments such as kidney stones, hypertension, renal biopsy and transplant. A major part of the workflow is dialysis. One vendor catering to this specialty is Denver-based Falcon, which claims that its electronic notes transfer feature can “bridge the gap between your office EMR and dialysis centers.”
  • Eye care. Care in this field is provided by ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. Diagnosis and treatment rely on equipment and techniques unlike those found anywhere else in medicine. If you’ve ever had your eyes dilated, you know this is true. Hillsboro, Ore.-based First Insight created MaximEyes with eye care’s peculiar workflows in mind.
  • Gastroenterology. More commonly referred to as Gastro or GI. Florida based gMed (Full Disclosure: gMed advertises on this site) focuses on GI practices with GI specific problem forms, order sets, history forms, and Endoscopy reports to name a few. Plus, they are the only EHR which reports directly to the AGA registry.
  • Podiatry. These specialists of the foot train in their own schools. Bunions, gout and diabetic complications are among the problems they treat with therapies ranging from shoe inserts to surgery. DOX Podiatry, based in Arizona, concentrates on this field, providing clinical, scheduling and billing and collections modules. Its clinical component starts with a graphic of a foot, allowing the podiatrist to specify the problem area and tissue type. DOX claims that the software can eliminate the need to type reports.
  • Addiction. Chemical dependency and behavioral health providers include a variety of specialists, including psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors. Documentation in the field must account for outpatient, inpatient and residential services and for individual and group counseling sessions. Buffalo, N.Y.-based Celerity addresses the heavily regulated industry with its CAM solution, developed by a clinical director in the field.
  • Oral Surgery. This field is a dental specialty focused on problems of the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, jaws, face and neck. As such, an oral-surgery EMR needs heavy-duty support for the anatomy in play. DSN Software, based in Centralia, Wash., sells Oral Surgery-Exec for this group of providers. You might actually have heard about this one, because I interviewed its creator, Dr. Terry Ellis, in July for a post called “Develop Your Own EMR Crazy, But This Guy Did It Anyway.” In fact, there’s nothing crazy about using an EMR custom-designed for the work you do.

About the author

James Ritchie

James Ritchie

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

4 Comments

  • What you have missed here are oncology related EMRs
    We are aware of the presence of certain software like Mosaiq, Aria etc which cater to oncology, and Radiation Therapy Specialties.

  • Dr S Bhatia,
    Thanks for mentioning Oncology. I don’t think James was going for a comprehensive list of specialty EHR, but if he had been he certainly could have mentioned Oncology. No doubt there are a bunch of oncology specific EHR. Ankhos is another one in Oncology: http://ankhos.wordpress.com/

    I hope that we get more comments like yours from other specialties so that the comment section becomes a list of all the various specialty specific EHR software.

  • John, thanks for the mention 🙂 I have heard good things about Mosaiq but have intentionally not looked at it myself for obvious copyright deniability reasons.

    Our office previously had Aria Oncology installed. My job with Ankhos was essentially to replace that system if that tells you anything.

    Aria might have have had a chance at meeting the practice’s needs had the staff received proper training, but I still don’t think it would be as nimble as Ankhos (or as I suspect Mosaiq is).

    It is really sad how little attention is paid to specialists with regards to Meaningful use. My fellow developers and I joke that first we will make an awesome system, with great features and usability. Then when it comes time for certification, we will take away the awesome features that preclude MU certification 🙂 This is not to say that MU certification is impossible, just that we will have to dumb-down the system to comply.

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