5 Easy Steps to Pick the Right Free or Open-Source EHR


Are you looking for a reliable open-source electronic medical record system for your medical practice? Whether you are attempting to adopt a new EMR software for your clinic or replace your existing integration, it is essential to conduct some extensive research before you can arrive at the best (most fit) option.

Now, suppose you and your team are a small medical practice considering to acquire a new open-source EMR software system. In this case, it should normally take you and your team weeks of study to choose the ideal program for your business.

This is not a simple undertaking, by any means; but with this article, you’ll be well on your way toward taking the first rung on the ladder.

How Does an Open-Source EHR Help?

Open-source EMR software systems serve as blueprints from which users can construct their own electronic records software solutions. It is fairly easy for practices to obtain the software’s source code and then modify it to see to their daily workflow requirements and preferences.

When to Choose an Open-Source EHR?

If you are a small medical organization faced with the following three options and possibilities, you should go for open-source EMR software. The said interface type is suited for extreme customization management. Moreover, it is ideal for physicians who require advanced features and functionality for their practice.

Pros of Using Open-Source EHR

Accessibility and Usage

It is pretty simple to get open source EMRs as you can download them from the internet. This also allows you to extensively test the software before rolling it out to the whole business.


Although open-source EMRs are sometimes referred to as ‘free’, they must still be bought – albeit at a far lower cost than most proprietary EMRs built by conventional developers. Low-cost subscriptions, here, are possible because you do not pay for the company’s marketing and overhead costs, proprietary databases, interfaces, templates, or licensing fees.

Clinical Decision Support

Open-source EMRs are more adaptable than proprietary EMRs, which often have more rigid, modular designs and do not permit alterations to the source code; with the former providing an excellent opportunity for personalization and creativity.

Open-source EMRs, in addition, avoid demanding, tailored alterations from the vendor as well as long waits for them to be accomplished. Traditional providers, in contrast, often offer several EMR customization options.

Cons of Using Open-Source EHR

Implementation Difficulties

It is simple to obtain EMR software, but deploying it is a different issue. Both open-source and private EMRs make for complex organizational implementations. Moreover, open-source software generally lacks the backing of teams of professionals to provide assistance, guidance, and implementation. Experienced hospitals and practices that deploy open-source EMRs recommend employing a vendor or a consultant to handle all the hard work here

5 Steps to Pick the Right Open-Source EHR

Prioritize Key Features Necessary for Your Practice

It is crucial to first determine the specific EHR software needs of your practice. You should thoroughly evaluate these and categorize them as either being ‘must-haves’ or ‘low priority’. This will allow you to allocate your time more effectively to options that meet your requirements.

For example, some EMR software options are free to use; but their interface for booking appointments is not. Therefore, you need to determine if the ‘scheduling’ option is essential to you.

Keep the Clinical Staff’s Workflow in Mind

Before adopting a new EHR, it is crucial to evaluate the workflow of your personnel. If you analyze your current workflow, the EHR adoption process will go incredibly smoothly – allowing you to focus more on alternative options.

For example, if your team is worried about spending too much time manually inputting data, they can request additional customizations to the charting templates in your EHR. This is essential when choosing between open-source and proprietary EMR software. Although installing the open-source option requires considerable technical expertise, it allows for far more customization. On the other end of the spectrum, and despite having fewer customization options, paid EHRs are remarkably user-friendly.

Picking the most suitable open-source EMR service provider, in short, will facilitate the setup and customization of your organizational EMR setup.

Consider Integration Options

Your EMR software should be integrated with your practice management or EHR system. Without adequate integration support, your program cannot communicate patient health information. Manually inputting patient data will also require considerable time and resources. Therefore, choose a product that is compatible with your clinic’s medical billing.

Analyze Demos and Reviews

Learn all about the EMRs that made the cut. You may also visit reputable product review websites such as Capterra and G2 to learn about consumer feedback. Reviews will also assist you in determining the optimal EMR for your practice. Refer to the product website to see EHR software demonstration videos screenshots and to learn more about the program.

Making a Final List

Make a shortlist of free or open EHRs using this rubric as a starting point. Suppose you’re having trouble narrowing down the hundreds of available premium systems. In this case, you can contact our team of medical software experts through phone or get customized assistance via free chat.

Is an Open Source EHR Better?

Open-source systems, which are not always free, are popular due to their incredible customizability. This personalization allows you to style the system to your precise specifications, but the extra customization possibilities can complicate user configuration.

Therefore, before completely committing to a free or open-source EMR, you should examine if it is the right option for you.

What Else to Keep in Mind When Choosing Open Source EMR?

Potential purchasers require a licensing agreement from the original creator. Open-source code is often available at no cost, although you may need to employ software engineers for smooth EMR software design, deployment, and training. Small providers with tech-savvy staff and access to software experts typically choose open-source EMR software.

Your chosen open-source EHR software systems, further, should be ONC-ATCB certified, integrate PM (Practice Management) software functionality, and provide billing and scheduling solutions to their customers.

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