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Practice Management Software vs Electronic Medical Record software

April 28, 2022

Why a practice management software is the better choice for your private healthcare practice

In order to run an efficient healthcare practice, it is essential to have the right software in place to allow you to do your work. A healthcare practice simply cannot function without this infrastructure.

This article will compare the two software available to healthcare practitioners - Electronic Medical Record software (EMR) and practice management software - and explain why adopting a practice management software is the smarter choice for your private healthcare practice.


What is an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software?

An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software is a digital software used to store patient medical records and doctor’s notes. EMR software allows clinicians to document data such as:

  • Patient medical history
  • Previous treatments and medications
  • Current medications (prescriptions)
  • Lab tests and results
  • Doctor’s notes

In this way, an EMR software provides the basic infrastructure to enable clinicians to document patient care.


What is a practice management software?

A practice management software is a more developed software that not only acts as an EMR, but also performs multiple other functions to make running a healthcare practice more efficient.

Practice management software is used by administrative staff and clinicians to perform all the daily tasks necessary for a healthcare practice. The features of a practice management software include all of the above features of an EMR software and the following additional features:

  • Online booking software
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Online payments
  • Healthcode integration
  • Letter writing and templates
  • Integrated consultation notes feature
  • Automated patient communication - SMS + email, appointment confirmations and reminder)
  • E-prescription services
  • Labels feature for tracking and reports
  • Calendar management
  • Tasks and reminders feature for staff
  • Video consultation software
  • Business analytics features - finance management, data tracking

Alongside storing patient data, practice management software helps streamline practice operations with automated digital processes, smart integrations, and team management tools. Practice management software brings business analytics to the table with capabilities that are simply not available with an EMR software.


So which is better? Do you need both?

Without an Electronic Medical Records software, a healthcare practice simply cannot provide healthcare to patients. However, without a practice management software, a practice does not have the necessary tools to be able to bring patients in, create, provide, and charge for appointments, and carry out other services necessary to running a healthcare business.

Furthermore, unlike an EMR software, practice management software can also be used on the business side of your medical practice: 

Financial overview and management

A practice management software provides key business tools that will enable you to take your healthcare business to the next level. With integrated payments and accounting software, practice management software provides an in-depth overview of your business’s financials. These insights will enable you to make smart decisions based on the financial performance of your practice. 

Explore our ‘Data-driven Business Series’ for how to utilise your financial data here!

Staff management

Management tools such as calendar overview and tasks and reminders features further enable healthcare practices to optimise their workflows and task force, helping to create a more efficient healthcare practice on all levels. 

Patient care, treatment journey, and clinical research

The labels and reporting features offered by practice management software enable clinics to more accurately track treatment processes and patient care journeys. With these tools, a practice has everything it needs to perform research into specific illnesses, document treatment processes, and improve patient care. 

Read this case study with eXroid clinic and how they used Semble to conduct leading research on Haemorrhoids treatment.

These specific tools are not provided by an EMR software and could be the difference between a good healthcare practice and an exceptional one. 

Whether you are looking to conduct innovative scientific research into a disease, expand your clinic, or create a more efficient and profitable healthcare practice, choosing a practice management software instead of just an EMR software is the best choice for your business.


Data security

One vital consideration when it comes to comparing EMR and practice management software is the level of security it offers your patients and practice. 

An EMR software provides a good level of data security due to its digital nature and the ability to back up all data to prevent data losses. However, cloud-based practice management software offers a much greater level of security on all fronts.

With cloud-based software, all data is stored remotely on the cloud, rather than on a (perishable) hard drive or disk. The cloud servers are protected by robust data encryption and security walls and are regularly backed up on other cloud-based servers, meaning that there is always a backup of your data available. 

Furthermore, most practice management/cloud-based software requires two-factor authentication when accessing the software, which is a much more robust and secure login process.

For more information about data protection and security, read this article about GDPR and Semble's measures for data protection.


The lowdown

An EMR software is vital for any private healthcare practice and you cannot provide healthcare without one. However, by adopting a practice management software to act as your EMR, you are not only creating greater levels of safety and security, but also empowering your healthcare practice to become more efficient, perform better, and grow as a business. 

With business management tools, integrated features and the the ability to access data across all levels, a practice management software will help you store patient data safely, save time on admin and paperwork, streamline practice operations, and provide the highest level of care to patients.