Macs are becoming increasingly popular in medical facilities across the world in 2017 and so we’ve looked at the best EMR for Mac and the best medical billing software for Mac users. More and more medical professionals from doctors to nurses are using Apple devices such as iPads, MacBooks and iMacs although most EMR (Electronic Medical Record), EHR (Electronic Health Record) and medical billing software for Mac users is still web-based. In fact the 2009 US HITECH Act means that medical institutions will be penalized if they don’t make demonstrable efforts to migrate patient data to digital records. Digitizing patient records also has other advantages such as increasing the time spent on patient care, cutting down on paperwork, improving efficiency and increasing the profitability of your practice. So here we take a closer look at the best EMR/EHR and medical billing software for Mac users.
EMR Software For Mac: Before You Buy
Before we start, there are a few things to consider before choosing the right EMR or medical billing software for you. Note that the terms EMR, EHR and medical billing software are very much interlinked. Most EMR/EHR software encompasses all three areas – medical/health records and medical billing – although there are some that only focus on one or the other.
Desktop Mac EMR Software v Web Based Medical Software
The main problem Mac users find is that there simply isn’t much EMR or medical billing software designed specifically for Mac. In fact, the only EHR software designed specifically for Mac with a Mac desktop app is MacPractice EHR. You will see a lot of sites or EMR applications that claim to “support Macs” or are “Mac native” but the truth is they are web apps that simply work in a browser on your Mac. Some claim that they are “Apple compatible” but this only means that they also have an iPad app that you can download – it does not include an app for OS X. That’s fine if you’re happy with running a cloud software on your Mac but don’t be fooled into thinking that they actually have a Mac desktop app.
If you are comfortable with using an online solution, the good news is that there are several very good well established web-based EMR/EHR and medical billing applications (also known as SaaS – Software as a Solution) services but there are also advantages and disadvantages of using them on Mac.
Below are some pros and cons of online medical software v desktop Mac medical software to consider.
- Cheaper Outlay – Online or web-based medical software is often cheaper up front. Most rely on a subscription payment model rather than one large up-front purchase as with desktop software.
- More Flexible – Medical and billing records can be accessed from any device. If you don’t have your Mac handy or don’t have access to a Mac one day, you can log onto a web-based service via any browser on a mobile device or Windows PC if necessary.
- Less Tech Problems – Online medical software isn’t affected by Apple updates to OS X or iOS. Software vendors are sometimes caught out by updates to macOS and OS X meaning software can stop working until the vendor updates it.
- Cost – In the short-term, online medical software is usually cheaper with no big up front costs. In the long-term however, it can be far more expensive than desktop EMR software for Mac because of the monthly/annual subscription costs. However, you may be entitled to subsidies via the HITECH Act which encourages medical institutions to migrate to electronic records for patients. The cost of medical software varies widely and can run into several thousand dollars depending on the size of your medical facility and the number of employees. From 2009 onwards, in the US some of this cost can be offset via a HITECH grant as outlined in the HITECH Act – the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. However, unfortunately this grant was only available until late 2014 although if you’ve already purchased an EHR software and are using it, you still have until 2017 to prove “Meaningful Use” in order to access the grant. Part of the HITECH Act stipulates that US medical institutions will be penalized if they haven’t switched over to digital records and so it’s clear there’s a strong incentive to switch to electronic medical records sooner rather than later.
- Security – Web-based medical software stores confidential patient and doctor data remotely in the Cloud. Although most online medical services are secure, cloud based services always carry a risk as data is being transferred and stored away from the device you are using it on. Desktop based medical apps store all data on the device, unless they are synced with an online service or server somewhere. Obviously, in the world of medicine and health, confidentiality is extremely important hence the attractiveness of desktop or native built applications for Mac. There are particularly strict HIPAA requirements on the protection of medical records and bills and most vendors use highly secure encryption to protect data. However, for extra peace of mind, look for software that has been ONC-ATCB certified – that is they have passed strict test by ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies for the handling of patient data. One big advantage of Macs over PCs is that they are far more secure. Not a single Mac was affected by the recent WannaCry Ransomware attack for example, the consequences of which could be disastrous for a medical provider.
- Aesthetics – One big problem is that online EHR software is that it’s not tailored for the look, aesthetics and functionality of Apple products. In fact, they’re usually designed with Windows users in mind and just don’t translate well when used on iOS, OS X or macOS.
All-In-One EMR & Medical Billing Software For Mac
Another thing to consider is whether you need and all-in-one solution that does both medical/health records and medical billing or one that just focuses on one or the other. Most online medical software does everything in one i.e. maintains patient health records and does their billing. However, if your medical institution or business outsources medical billing, then you really don’t need medical billing software for your Mac. MacPractice for example provides a separate EHR/EMR app to its medical billing services which costs extra while services such as HealthFusion MediTouch are all-in-one.
Industry Specific EHR Software
Some medical software solutions are focused on a specific type of medical care such as cardiology, mental health, optometry or physiotherapy. Others are more general and are suitable for a wide range of medical institutions. For example, MacPractice EHR is designed for medical practices in general but they also make specific Dental, Chiro and Optical EMR software so make sure the EHR software you choose caters for your business needs if you have specific requirements.
iPad EMR Software
If you intend to use iOS devices such as iPhones or iPads alongside your Mac, then it’s important that the medical software you choose either has a mobile version or a mobile app. If you choose an online medical software that doesn’t for example, you’ll end up having to access the desktop web version on mobile and that simply won’t be practical. The good news is that there are several medical software solutions that feature native iOS apps for iPhone and iPad. These are usually focused on the iPad which conveniently turn it into a clipboard for medical practitioners and patients to quickly and efficiently enter data. Some of the most notable EHR and medical billing software for Mac that also have iOS apps include HealthFusion MediTouch, drchrono EHR and MacPractice EHR.
Best EMR & Medical Billing Software For Mac
With these things in mind then, here are the best EMR and medical billing software for Mac users.
MacPractice EHR (Various Pricing Plans. Free Demo)
MacPractice EHR is the only dedicated EMR/EHR software designed exclusively for Mac users and Apple devices. MacPractice has been established since 1984 and works on Mac, iPad and iPhone with around 2000 medical practices and 15,000 providers currently using it. It’s an all-in-one solution that supports everything you need in an EMR software including patient appointment check-ins and reports, patient registration, patient iEHR forms, reports, inventory, prescriptions and ePrescriptions. MacPractice allows you to chart, order, e-prescribe, review and submit charges quickly in a logical, well designed interface. The MacPractice iEHR app for iPad has exactly the same layout to prevent confusion when switching between the two and also features a handy clipboard view that patients can use to fill in questions about their health. This is a nice touch as it avoids any data entry later by medical practitioners and allows customers to fill in forms at their own pace.
MacPractice will help you migrate customer data from other systems and also offers training solutions for your staff including on-site training and telephone support. MacPractice is purely a desktop solution so all of your data is saved either on your Mac or iOS device and synced between the two. There’s nothing stored off site on external servers that could be compromised.
MacPractice provides ICD-10 coding and billing features to help itemize customer care and treatments for billing and record purposes. You can add codes manually and MacPractice is updated with new codes regularly. You can see how this works in the video below:
When it comes to the actual billing of patients though, you need to purchase MacPractice Billing Services. This is effectively outsourcing your medical billing to another company although it obviously makes sense to outsource to a company that’s closely connected to the medical software you’re using on a daily basis. You can pay for MacPractice Billing Services on a long-term, short-term, or even hourly basis but you’ll need to request a quote first.
If you’re looking for something designed specifically for Mac, MacPractice is easily the market leader with a solid track record and product. There are even MacPractice apps for specific medical practices such as MacPractice Dental Software, Chiro Software and Optical Software for Mac.
You can watch a good overview of MacPractice EHR below and sign-up for a free trial.
OpenEMR (Free. Mac Install Instructions)
If you’re a small medical practice, a non-profit or simply on a very tight budget, then look no further than OpenEMR. OpenEMR is an impressive open source medical EMR that is ONC Complete Ambulatory HER Certified and includes health records, appointment scheduling, billing and free support from its community of users and developers. OpenEMR is very much a DIY electronic medical records system with a simple Wiki page to guide you through setup and features. OpenEMR even supports medical billing with support for codes and 5010 standards. However, if you want to integrate your own payment system, you can although you may need some help from the forum members in order to do so.
OpenEMR is nowhere near as slick as MacPractice and it doesn’t work on iPhone or iPad so if you need a mobile solution, it’s definitely not an option. However, it’s a surprisingly stable and solid product for desktop Macs considering it doesn’t cost a cent. You can watch an overview of how to setup and use OpenEMR below:
drchrono EHR is a popular, well designed EHR/EMR all-in-one medical practice management, electronic health records and medical billing software. drchrono is extremely user-friendly and features some nice touches such as automated texting/emailing of clients, eRX and EPCS tools for order prescriptions and labs and convenient in-app billing. Although there’s no Mac desktop app, drchrono is very focused on Apple users, even featuring an Apple Watch app for upcoming appointments and messages. The web version looks and works very well on Mac too and doesn’t look like something that’s Windows inspired like a lot of EMR software.
drchrono EMR’s billing component is called Apollo and allows you to either do billing in-house. There’s also an Apollo Plus service which allows you to or contract out billing to drchrono.
There’s also a very slick iPad app for both doctors and patients which even allows patients to check records, schedule appointments and securely chat with medical providers using HIPAA compliant secure protocols.
drchrono EHR doesn’t come cheap with pricing starting at $199 per month for small practices and going up to $499 for month or more for bigger practices. However, it’s definitely one of the most accomplished, professional and reliable EHR solutions out there. You can watch a good overview of how to get started with drchrono within 30 minutes below:
Although MediTouch EMR does not have a Mac desktop app, it caters very well for iPad owners with a strong emphasis on its iOS app. MediTouch is a fully integrated EHR and billing software. MediTouch for iPad allows you to easily perform charting o the go or perform a complete SOAP conveniently and quickly and even allows you to prescribe using your iPhone. The iPad app even supports dictation which is extremely useful for making notes.
All MediTouch EMR software is ICD-10 ready meaning and setup with a Meaningful Use report code so that you can automatically apply for incentive payments if you are eligible. Patients have their own portal which they can use to request medication refills and track reports, results and other important data. Proving that patients have access to their own medical data is actually essential to comply with Meaningful Use Stage 2 in order to access HITEC subsidies.
Pricing plans for MediTouch are only available on request but you can also request a demo first. You can also watch an overview of MediTouch below:
There are many other medical billing and EMR/EHR services out there but these are the most Mac/Apple centric ones we’ve seen. If you want something that’s dedicated to Mac, then MacPractice is really your only choice. However, if you don’t want to pay for a seperate billing system, then drchrono or MediTouch are excellent all-in solutions that don’t have Mac apps but have excellent iPad apps
We hope this article has helped you learn more about EMR software on Mac but if you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below.