Free EHR Software – Is It Worth It?

Most people can get behind the phrase, “the best things in life are free.” If you don’t spend money on something, then you can’t be disappointed, right? In the case of companies that offer free EHR software to their clientele, this argument has no ground to stand on, and could not be more wrong.

The bottom line is this: if it is free, there is a reason for it. Vendors offering free EHR software almost always have strings attached, or are just simply offering a limited product that is, as mentioned, free for a reason. Also – and this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – since they are free, that just means they have to trick you into thinking they are actually free. After all, they have to make money off your business in some way. You just might not realize how.

One of the ways they make money is through ad revenue. In this case, your EHR interface will be infiltrated with ads from anyone willing to pay the initial vendor for the ad space. As is the case in the current world of online advertising, when being served an ad, you are being targeted based off of search behaviors, interests, etc. because your data is being mined in order to serve ads of interest to you. Take this same philosophy and add it to this situation. These vendors may be scouring your proprietary data that you have a responsibility to keep private for your patients, for their own personal gain.

How about another way these vendors push inconveniences on practices when providing this free EHR software? Everyone is familiar with the phrase “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” In this case, you may realize that it was in fact too good to be true when vendors start pushing additional modules, services, etc. on you as added costs. In other words, the whole free philosophy has gone out the window. When vendors offer free EMR solutions, they are going to secretly and sneakily try to gouge you for those costs that they are losing out on.

Vendors offering these free solutions may also choose to generate their revenue by selling patient/user data to the highest bidder, throwing any security and privacy out the window on your patients’ behalf. In this day in age, security and privacy are two things that are highly regarded by patients, and should not ever be risked in any situation; especially just to save a buck. Why would a practice sign up for a service that does this? Easy, they fail to read the privacy policy of the “free” EHR.

At the end of the day, you have control over the decisions you make. The bottom line is, know what you are purchasing before you pull the trigger. Find an EHR system that is meets the needs of your practice and is upfront about all of the services they provide. Find reviews online so that you know what you are dealing with. With something as important as this, it is vital to put in the time and research before making such a large decision. It is important that your practice complete their due diligence first in order to find the best medical office software. Don’t let yourself get fooled.

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