Choosing the Right Electronic Medical Record For You

May 10, 2016
6 min read

Here's how you can decide what electronic medical record might be best for your practice, and some of the pros and cons of the most commonly used EMRs.

Recently, I was viewing ODs on Facebook, and there was a poll asking:

“Do you like your current electronic medical record (EMR) system enough to recommend it to another colleague?”

The results: 26 Yes; 17 No.

Not a huge sample size, but interesting that almost half of the people who answered are not happy enough to make a referral for the system they are using!

Whether you are opening cold or looking to change EMRs, consider using this step-by-step guide to help you make one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make for your practice.

Step 1: What are you looking for in an EMR?

These are some questions that you should try to answer when thinking about your electronic medical record:

  • What is the extent of your scope of practice? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years? Will this EMR be able to meet your needs as you grow?
  • How much do you want to be able to customize the templates?
  • How do you set up your schedule? Does the system work for you?
  • How many doctors will be using this electronic medical record? Number of locations?
  • Server based or cloud based?
  • Does it service both your optical needs and your clinical practice needs?
  • If you have an existing EMR, how easy will it be to merge the two systems?
  • Is the EMR certified for Meaningful Use?
  • How well does it integrate with other programs?
  • Are you able to use it on an iPad?

Step 2:  Determining Cost

This is a big investment for your practice! Make sure you ask these questions:

  • What is the installation fee?
  • Yearly maintenance fees?
  • Upgrade fees?
  • Are there any hidden fees to interface with other companies?
  • Who is going to set up the system? You or an IT professional?

Step 3: What kind of support is there?

Customer service is key when it comes to electronic medical records. No matter what, you are going to encounter issues and have questions, so finding a company that has easy access to support is important.

  • Is the support unlimited? Free?
  • Is your support computer based, or do you actually speak to a live person?
  • Is the support available 24/7?

Step 4: What is the timeline for getting started?

Whether you are switching EMRs or starting fresh, you want the transition to be relatively seamless. Some questions to ask:

  • How long is this going to take to get implemented?
  • Are there training videos?
  • On average how long does it take a practice to get up and running with the system?

Step 5: Testing out the Waters.

Get out there and speak to other people using the systems that you are interested in.

  • See if anyone locally has the system your are interested in and will allow you to come and shadow them for the day.
  • Many of the bigger EMR companies have demo versions so that you can experience how the system actually works.
  • Optometry meetings often have the EMR vendors available to speak to and demo the system.

Remember that EVERY EMR is going to have its pros/cons. The important thing is to find an EMR that fits your needs best!

Let’s talk about a few of the popular EMRs and perks they have:


A leader in electronic medical records, RevolutionEHR makes it easy for an optometrist to chart, communicate and meet all of their patient’s needs quickly and efficiently.

Pricing Options:

  • Initial Start-Up Fee: $5988.00
  • Monthly subscription fee based on number of doctors (not computers or location)

Some Perks:

  • They integrate with many platforms including:
    • Vision Web
    • EyeFinity
    • Gateway
    • DemandForce/Websystem3
  • Has a great system to deal with optical orders, inventory, and integration with labs
  • Can access from anywhere!

Crystal PM

Crystal PM has become a top player in the EMR field. They pride themselves on being a certified EMR, with great customer service, and has the ability to be completely customized. Visit their website for more information and to request a free demo!

Pricing Options:

  • Initial Start-Up Fee: $7995.00
  • Yearly Maintenance Fee: this can vary around $1200-1500
  • Offer Cloud based version: depends on number of computers (contact for pricing)
  • May offer a leasing option


  • Great customer service: message board, videos, and live one on one help.
  • Complete ability to customize your templates any way you want.
  • Offers the option to search through a database to look at other templates and use them!


Pricing Options: Unable to find*


  • iPad connected so you can easily chart and talk to patients and carry it with you from exam room to exam room.
  • Access to patient records at any time.
  • Cloud based.
  • You can create your exam with populated procedures that are routinely used to decrease your exam time and make documenting easier.

Visit the EyeFinity Website to request a demo!


As the largest cloud based EMR company, PracticeFusion is becoming a popular option for some optometrists.

Pricing Options: This is completely web-based and completely FREE.  Yes FREE.

Read here how they do it.

Some Perks:

  • Completely customizable templates.
  • Templates are designed as free-text so you are not restricted by pre-populated boxes.
  • Direct messaging/faxing capabilities to other physicians.


Uprise is an all-in one comprehensive software solution for your eyecare practice that’s powerful, accessible, packed with features, and easy to use – all at the same time.

Pricing Options:

  • One time implementation fee
  • Monthly subscription fee based on number of doctors

Some Perks:

  • Cloud-based and tablet friendly system that you can access from anywhere.
  • Suite of embedded tools including code verification, frame catalogs, patient education, patient recall/reminders, and ePrescribing.
  • Free, unlimited customer support for the lifetime of your account.

Comment below with the EMR you chose for your office!

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About Miki Lyn D'Angelo, OD

Miki Lyn D’Angelo, O.D. graduated with honors from the SUNY College of Optometry in New York, receiving the VSP Excellence in Primary Care and Excellence in Vision Therapy awards. She then continued her education by completing a residency in vision therapy and rehabilitation with Dr. Barry Tannen, OD. She has extensive experience in family eye care with a specialty and passion for pediatrics, vision training and neuro-rehabilitation with traumatic brain injury patients. She recently just opened a private practice cold with a partner on the Eastern End of Long Island. In her spare time she loves cooking and working on the farm with her fiancé.