Electronic health records (EHR) are here to stay. It doesn’t matter how deeply entrenched healthcare practices are in their habits of using hard copy patient records, lab results and operative reports. The HITECH Act does more than work hand in hand with HIPPA to secure patient privacy: it also requires the meaningful use of health records using applications like CareCloud.

This is intended to push healthcare providers towards electronic information storage to enhance the quality of patient care. The EHR incentive program provides payments to those healthcare providers who adopt, implement and demonstrate the effective use of EHRs. The cost and quality of medical data, included in calculating incentive payments for physicians and other healthcare providers, is improved by the use of applications such as CareCloud.

What Is CareCloud?

CareCloud is the name of a system that provides an all-in-one platform to create, manage, and store all of the aspects of patient care and healthcare delivery. 

The EHR is the raison d’être for healthcare record applications such as CareCloud. The Cloud is actually a plural thing; The Cloud is collective server locations where data is stored for retrieval, shared use and security. CareCloud is composed of the EHR, the Cloud and the software platform itself.

What Exactly Is The EHR?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services define an EHR as an electronic version of the patient medical history that is maintained by the healthcare provider and includes certain crucial clinical data relevant to the patient’s care:

  • Demographics
  • Insurance information
  • Computerized Provide Order Entry (CPOE)
  • History and physical
  • Nursing
  • Discharge summaries
  • Pharmacy
  • Laboratory
  • Radiology
  • Billing

The EHR is intended to improve patient care by reducing medical errors through improved accuracy and clarity providing simultaneous access to multiple providers providing evidence-based decision support, quality management and outcomes reporting. Healthcare providers are paid a financial incentive for participating in the use of EHRs.

What And Where Is The Cloud?

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The Cloud is a wonderful metaphor for that virtual concept called the Internet. The Cloud allows for the sharing of data and software it also allows for the manipulation and modification of data and software by multiple, authorized users. Information is saved and stored on multiple servers that are operated by companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Dropbox. The Cloud has the same weaknesses as all other Internet interests because it requires a connection and is vulnerable to security threats.

CareCloud Specifics

CareCloud is the software that drives the one-stop platform designed to meet all of the needs of healthcare providers. This system offers solutions to eight common problems that all healthcare providers encounter:

  • Revenue cycle management
  • Practice management
  • Electronic health records
  • Patient experience
  • Mobile app
  • Advanced billing rules
  • Professional services
  • Healthcare analytics

Revenue cycle management is perhaps the biggest complaint healthcare providers have. Up to 30% of revenues are lostdue to revenue cycle mismanagement. CareCloud utilizes back office, software and a revenue manager to take care of all the accounting, billing and paying required to run an office, clinic, or hospital.

Practice management streamlines workflow and promotes efficiency with a user-friendly interface. The centrality of practice management increases revenues through optimized scheduling and appointment reminders; errors are virtually eliminated through automatic eligibility queries, auto populated data fields and error alerts. Decision-making is optimized through CareCloud’s real-time analytics for financial and operational determinations. Reports can be standard or customized.

Electronic health records are at the heart of CareCloud’s raison d’être. Every tool imaginable is offered from patient data, care interventions and electronic prescribing. This system integrates EHR’s with back office management systems so that a physician is only responsible for taking care of the patient.

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CareCloud also includes patient interaction tools. Patient intake data, online preregistration and automated appointment management, gives some control to the patient, therefore allowing improved accuracy and efficiency. CareCloud’s answer to a mobile app is the CareCloud Companion. This is a mobile medical app that allows providers to access everything from the platform while out of the office and on the run.

Advanced billing rules are managed through a solution called CareCloud Complete. All of the federal/Medicare/Medicaid billing rules are included in the platform so that claim errors are minimized or eliminated. When billing errors and other problems are caught before they are sent to the payer, healthcare providers realize revenues sooner rather than later.

Professional services utilize management teams consisting of technology, financial, administrative and other disciplines, and work with physicians from implementation to staff enablement. The team continues to serve CareCloud users throughout the life of the practice.

Healthcare analytics allow for real-time data analysis, sharing and modifying so that the business of healthcare is optimized, patient healthcare is optimized and all the rules are followed.

Pricing

CareCloud offers several pricing solutions, starting at approximately $630 a month for Practice Management and EHR.

  • CareCloud Central— the Practice Management option— starts around $350 per month
  • The EHR option— Patient Charts— starts for around $280 per month and requires a practice management subscription
  • CareCloud’s Concierge— the Revenue Cycle management option— starts at around 3% of collections
  • PXM— the Patient Experience Management option (Breeze) — begins at about $200 a month

How It Compares

There are a lot of clouds with a lot of software platforms floating about on the Internet. We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Practice Fusion EHR
  • DrChrono
  • ECLIPSE Practice Management SoftwareECLIPSE Practice Management Software

CareCloud


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Ease-of-use

CareCloud features intuitive charting templates and uses drop-down menu selections, real-time graphics, and pen-and-voice inputs make charting rapid.

Security

All cloud-based applications are given a three-star security rating because all cloud-based applications are vulnerable to security hacks. Cloud services will always be on the run to stay one step ahead of innovative technology in data theft.

Design Quality

CareCloud allows for customization and meets the needs of a wide variety of healthcare providers. The platform is easy to navigate.

Customer Support

CareCloud is readily available 24/7 for help and support and users are backed by a team approach.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use charting
  • Templates
  • Drop-down fields
  • Pen-and-voice inputs
  • Data sorting
  • Clinical/billing integration
  • Modifiable

Cons

  • Requires Adobe Flash
  • Expensive
  • Requires Practice Management module

Practice Fusion EHR


This cloud-based EHR offers a suite of solutions for charting, E-prescribing, patient scheduling, lab/radiology, and qualifies for CMS incentives.

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Ease-of-use

Practice Fusion EHR makes charting faster with shortcuts, automatic favorite lists and help with charting and building codes. It can run on Apple and Windows and is designed for small practices.

Security

All cloud-based applications are given a three-star security rating because all cloud-based applications are vulnerable to security hacks. Cloud services will always be on the run to stay one step ahead of innovative technology and data theft.

Design Quality

Practice Fusion EHR is user-friendly, especially with E-prescribing.

Customer Support

Practice Fusion EHR has account managers and support specialists which are available 24/7. There is also a learning center online.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use charting
  • New features easy to implement
  • No hidden charges
  • Easy link lab facilities

Cons

  • Weak customer service and tech support
  • Too many clicks
  • Cell phone two-step login is inefficient
  • Insurance companies can’t be billed directly

DrChrono


DrChrono is compatible with Apple and Windows and is designed for all business sizes.

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Ease-of-use

DrChrono features fully customizable forms and templates. Any prescription, including controlled substances, can be sent electronically on iPhones, iPads or the Internet. Lab orders can be submitted electronically; results can be directly uploaded to the patient’s chart.

Security

All cloud-based applications are given a three-star security rating because all cloud-based applications are vulnerable to security hacks. Cloud services will always be on the run to stay one step ahead of innovative technology and data theft.

Design Quality

DrChrono is intuitive to use and allows vital signs to be turned into real-time health data for monitoring purposes.

Customer Support

DrChrono seems to have a hit-or-miss quality to its help and support, which is available online and by phone.

Pros

  • Easy for front desk to schedule patients
  • Easy to enter new patients
  • Templates are easy to customize
  • Fewer distractions that other similar platforms

Cons

  • Weak customer service and tech support
  • Backend billing inadequacies
  • Too many tabs required to complete one task
  • Customer service is way too slow

ECLIPSE Practice Management Software


ECLIPSE Practice Management Software was designed by a chiropractor and a software developer; it was designed for single practitioners and is used routinely in multidisciplinary and multi-site venues.

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Ease-of-use

ECLIPSE Practice Management Software is compatible with Windows. Scheduling and billing are simplified. The program loads quickly and the database is stable.

Security

All cloud-based applications are given a three-star security rating because all cloud-based applications are vulnerable to security hacks. Cloud services will always be on the run to stay one step ahead of innovative technology and data theft.

Design Quality

ECLIPSE Practice Management Software features custom form creation and synchronization with scheduling. “Real Time Data Flow” instantly displays real-time changes on a patient’s chart to every user working on that chart.

Customer Support

ECLIPSE Practice Management Software has top-notch help and support.

Pros

  • Easy to add and modify content
  • Stellar support service
  • Ease-of-use
  • Easy to train users

Cons

  • Too many steps to make an appointment
  • Requires too many steps to make an appointment
  • Fee schedules problematic
  • Limited compatibility

DrChrono

The winner, because of price and practice size accommodation, is DrChrono with 5 stars. It’s compatible with Apple and Windows and it is designed for all business sizes. It offers four paid plans, but unlike the others, refuses to publish its subscription rates online, leaving potential customers frustrated and more than willing to move on to the next provider.

Along with the same features others provide, it also offers: 

  • Practice management
  • Medical billing
  • Revenue cycle management
  • Patient portal
  • Mobile EHR
  • E-prescribing
  • Appointments management

There is also text, email and phone reminders; if patients do not keep their appointments then healthcare providers do not generate income. DrChrono integrates fully with Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp and certain other third-party labs.

DrChrono is also compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. DrChrono is not compatible with Internet Explorer. DrChrono can be operated on a PC or Mac, laptop, desktop or iPad. A major problem with DrChrono, however, is that they have reportedly outsourced their customer service, making person-to-person support calls problematic.

CareCloud

The next runner-up, because of features, support and practice size is CareCloud with four stars. CareCloud is not number one at five stars because it is too pricey for small practices who don’t need all the features. It requires Adobe Flash for all of the features to work, and the Practice Management module is required for full functionality. Still, if it can be afforded, CareCloud is a good option.

CareCloud has been around since 2009 and runs on the Amazon Web Services. What this means is that CareCloud has had a lot of time and opportunity to work out the kinks and improve on their design and functionality. What this also means is that while some of the work can be done with an iPad or iPhone, this software is designed to run on laptop or desktop hardware.

The bottom line is that we like CareCloud, but we would like for it to be more affordable for the small practice. DrChrono serves more practice sizes at ostensibly a cheaper cost and therefore has something for everyone.

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