How to build an EHR system? Features and cost breakdown

“At 9.3% CAGR, Global Electronic Health Records (EHR) Market Size to hit USD 52.98 Billion by 2027” – this is the headline of one of the many reports floating around the internet highlighting the massive growth that the EHR space is witnessing. Now, if you look at how the healthcare digitalization has shaped up, especially during COVID-19 where digital mediums like video call and e-prescriptions, e-documents became a norm, these reports seem to be the validation that electronic health record systems are here to transform the medical industry.

Advancements in the healthcare sector like telehealth, CRMs, and EHR software development, have a far reaching impact on the entire ecosystem. Right from patients and doctors to the entrepreneurs who launch these EHRs, every stakeholder gets to benefit from the model.

As we move ahead in the article, we will look into those benefits of EHR systems along with some operational elements like the types of EHR systems, how does EHR works, how to build an EHR system, the top features, and ultimately the EHR software development cost.

What is an EHR system?

EHR system development – the center of our article today – is the creation of Electronic Health Record. An electronic health record is a completely digitalized software that contains extensive information related to patients’ health. It typically includes:

  • Medical history
  • Vaccination details
  • Test results
  • Vital signs
  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Lab data
  • Progress notes
  • Insurance information, etc.

When we talk about what is an EHR system, there is another term that generally comes up as an alternative – EMR. While often used interchangeably, there is a huge difference between electronic health records and electronic medical records.

Electronic medical record is a digitalized version of the patient’s chart stored inside a clinic. It contains the medical and treatment history of the patients during one practice. While EHRs are designed to be shared with labs and other health providers, EMRs are not allowed to be shared outside the clinic.

Types of EHR systems

In the healthcare space, there are primarily two types of electronic health record systems, both of which are vital for answering how to build an EHR system.

1. Physician hosted – This is the EHR type where the data is hosted on the physician’s servers. In this category, the physician is responsible for buying the hardware, software and maintaining it.

2. Remotely-hosted – Under these EHRs, the server lies outside the physician’s office. Meaning, they are not responsible for storing and managing the patients’ data. The benefit of this EHR type is that the medical practitioner only focuses on collecting information and not about managing the IT system.

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The benefits of EHR system for primary stakeholders

Now that you have some familiarity with the concept of EHR development, let us look into the advantages it offers to the three key stakeholders – businesses, hospitals, and patients.

EHR software development benefits for businesses

EHR system development benefits for hospitals

Scope for new opportunities
The EHR market does not work in a ‘one size fits all’ mode. Every healthcare organization across regions and sizes have different EHR software requirements. This means, there is always a scope of innovation in terms of new business models.

Multiple monetization options
Like any other software, EHRs also come with different monetization models which can range from subscription, free software with paid features, and pay per use. This wide range of monetization options makes it extremely profitable to invest in EHR system development.

EHR system development benefits for hospitals

Better operational efficiency
No matter which types of EHR systems you choose, they all come with the benefit of eliminating the need to manage paperwork like bills and reports. Every patient information can be found in the system within seconds. This level of digitalization that EHR promises also makes it easy for doctors to receive data from the lab, prescribe medicine, and track patients’ medical history.

Lowered risk of medical errors
Electronic health record software comes with detailed patient information – data analytics powered medical insights that inform the healthcare providers of incorrect dosages, adverse reactions, and the possible result of the drug interactions. The outcome of this lies in lowering the risk of malpractice and medical issues.

High level of security
Every well-planned EHR system design is made up of multiple security measures like automation of session termination, digital signatures, encryption, and multi-factor authentication. With such extensive security measures in place, the chance of software getting hacked gets reduced to zero.

Lowered costs
In the short term, EHR development and its implementation can be very expensive. However, in the long run, lower transcription costs, cost-effective patients’ record storage, and easier claims management together makes it a profitable investment for hospitals.

Improved patient-doctor interactions
EHR applications play a key role in bettering the interactions and experiences that a patient has with their doctors and the healthcare facility. Firstly, it streamlines and expedites the administrative process around getting doctor’s appointments, hospitalization formalities, etc. Secondly, patients are able to access their health records, track the clinician’s notes, and interact with their doctors electronically.

EHR software development benefits for patients

Easy access to key information
All the different types of electronic health record systems come with a user-friendly patient platform which gets them access to their medical records, test results, documents needed to make insurance claims or further doctor appointments.

Elimination of test duplications
In a healthcare system that lacks access to patients’ medical records, the patients often end up taking the same test multiple times. With a proper electronic health record software in place, this need gets eliminated, as the medical practitioner has all the test details and results in their system.

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Now that we have looked into the benefits of EHR system and how does EHR work, let us get down to the operational part of the discussion – how to develop EHR.

However, before looking at the steps for EHR system development, let us have a look at the must-have EHR software requirements.

The must-have EHR software requirements

Although every EHR solution is engineered according to its individual functionalities and needs of the medical facility, there are some features or requirements which are the same across every EHR system development process.

EHR software requirements

1. Document management

The primary agenda of EHR applications development is to better patient care by offering an easy to manage documentation tool. It should be easy for patients and doctors to upload documents across multiple formats like image, textual, and DICOM (the format for MRT and CT images).

2. Patients details

The EHR system usually contains the patients’ personal data like full name, address, diagnosis, test results, prescribed medicines list, and other key information which gives insight into the patient’s health.

3. Prescription management

Using the e-prescribing feature, doctors are able to prescribe medicines to the patients remotely, while accessing their medical data to ensure that there is no drug incompatibility. On the other hand, patients are able to keep track of the medicines history.

4. Data access control

It is necessary for an EHR system to have multiple data access control mechanisms in place. A key point that our EHR developers always keep in mind is that no two people (across different levels) should have access to the same data, for example nurses should not have access to the same data as one with the doctors.

5. Appointment scheduling

Through the electronic health record software patients are able to schedule appointments with their doctors in real-time. On the other hand, doctors get a dashboard where they are able to view the appointments along with the patient’s details.

6. Reporting

Reporting plays a key role when answering how to develop EHR. For practitioners, it helps with a comprehensive overview of the patients’ demographic data, treatments done, rate of treatment success, etc. For patients, it offers a graphical representation of how their treatment is going, upcoming appointments, etc.

7. Labs integration

The integration of EHR with test labs promises quick data exchange and faster decision making. What makes it all the more efficient is that the test results get sent to the apps directly, making it easy for patients and doctors to access them and take timely action.

8. Invoicing

Every healthcare facility works around invoices, claims, denials, payments made towards treatments, etc. The EHR system makes the process easy by making the invoicing journey automated. In addition to this, a number of these systems now-a-days come with payment features using which the patients can directly pay for the treatments.

The technology and team required for EHR development

The success of EHR applications are based on two factors – the feature-set and the resources (technology and team) behind them. Now, while we have looked into the first element of success, let’s get down to the next.

teck stack

The ideal team structure that you need to invest in for building your EHR system –

  • 3 web developers – 2 frontend and 1 backend
  • 1 Android EHR developer
  • 1 iOS EHR developer
  • 2 QA experts
  • 1 project manager

Now that we have looked into the multi-faceted operational side of how to build an EHR system, let us get down to the steps that contribute to EHR software development.

How to build an EHR system?

The development stages that you can expect your EHR software development company to follow for creation of an electronic health record system include:

Validation of idea

Before starting with the creation of a custom EHR solution, the software agency will look into its feasibility and market fit. What they will do is sit down with you to understand your vision, your requirements, and look into your competitors while establishing what features would set you apart.

Upon a market and technical check of your app idea, the agency will go ahead with the designing stage.

EHR prototype

At Appinventiv, once we have validated the EHR software idea, we go on to making a prototype.

The process starts with creating a list of features, finalizing the technology stack, and finalizing the team who would work on it.

Next, we create a prototype which is a close resemblance of what we plan the software to look and operate like.

Design, development and testing

Once we get a go-ahead on the EHR software prototype, we start with the final designing process. Here, we create wireframes and user journeys containing designs that would be visible in the final EHR system.

Following this, we develop the EHR system with all the right set of features, add technologies like AI, IoT, or Blockchain, and integrate security elements. At Appinventiv, we make it a point to work on the development process on a milestone approach where the stages are divided into multiple agile sprints – this ensures a faster delivery and real-time quality check of every module.

Finally, we test the EHR software across multiple platforms and networks, ensuring that it is hack-proof and glitch-free.

Launch and maintenance

Once we have built and tested the EHR system we go ahead with the launch of the software – either by adding it in the existing system or by launching a new software altogether. Here, the deployment experts play a huge role in ensuring that the launch process is seamless.

Lastly, we maintain the EHR software with the focus on continued support and glitch-free working.

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Now, while these stages seem straightforward, there are some crucial things to consider when creating an EHR system.

Things to consider when building an EHR software

While the stages of creating an EHR system are very direct, the process can get complex because of the many elements it comes packed with. Let us look into some of those considerations.

Getting the EHR compliance and certifications ready

There are a number of compliances that an EHR has to be engineered for – HIPAA, GDPR, CCD, HL7, etc. in addition to certifications like ONC-ATCB and EuroRec. An absence of these regulations, certifications can result in not just hefty charges but also opening up of the EHR system for security hacks.

Work on the mobile version of the EHR

While the web version of the software is a must-have, when you launch a mobile EHR you make it easy for patients and doctors to connect on the go. The mobile EHR also helps keep the patients more involved in their treatment journey.

Data migration

When you move your present EHR system to a new one it becomes important to migrate all the key information into the new software. When migrating, it is important to follow a milestone approach where you transfer data phase-wise, ensuring that there is complete seamlessness.

Track the EHR system performance

The continued success of an EHR system lies in tracking its performance. At Appinventiv, we measure the usability of the system against points like –

  • Ease of physicians when using the EHR
  • ROI calculations
  • Quality of care based on patients’ feedback
  • Monitoring the quality of the EHR

By now, you must have got a good gist about how you can build an EHR system for your healthcare business, so let us get down to the one element that directly impacts you as an entrepreneur or a business leader – EHR software development cost.

The cost of EHR software development

The cost of developing an electronic health record software depends on a range of factors like – feature set, team and resources, geographical location of the agency, and the number of platforms. And while these vary from one project to another, there are some MVP level features that remain the same.

So let us break down the EHR software development cost for you based on the features, technology stack, and team size we looked into before.

Factors Mobile (Development Hours) Web (Development Hours)
UI/UX Design 120 80
Document management 45 100
Prescription management 55 55
Data access control 30 40
Labs integration 50 30
Appointment scheduling 20 57
Patients details 35 27
Reporting 30 20
Cloud hosting 40 42
Backend development 142 128
Frontend development 150 130
Quality assurance 140 120
Total 1,212 hours 829 hours

Now, if you convert these hours into the average cost that a healthcare software development company would charge – $50-$80 per hour, the range will come out to be –

Web-based EHR platform – $41,450 – $66,320

Mobile EHR platform – $60,600 – $96,960.

While this development hours and costing range is specific to the MVP version of an EHR, it is important to note that the advanced version will have a different/upgraded set of numbers. Here are some features of the advanced EHR version –

Auto-scheduling: This could be one of those innovative features that sets your EHR system apart. By adding in an auto-scheduling feature, the software would be able to keep a track of the doctor’s appointment and handle the upcoming ones on an automated level.

Vendor selection: Every healthcare unit works with multiple vendors. However, tracking them and filtering them out on the basis of location, cost, etc. can be challenging. This is where an EHR system can come in handy. By adding a vendor filtering and tracking feature in the software, clinicians will be able to better handle the activities.

Customer Relationship Management: The success of an EHR depends heavily on how well the patients’ have adopted it. In order to support this intent, it is crucial to integrate a CRM in the software – one that would have a chat option, view report, raise complaint feature, newsletters, push-notifications, etc.

Next-gen technology integration: Several EHR software are experimenting with the integration of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. to make their system more secure, innovative. However, this integration comes at a cost and increased timeline.

These are only a few examples of the factors or additions that can take your EHR system from its MVP version to an advanced one. The cost implications of these can look like this –

MVP level EHR cost range – $41k to $97k

Advanced level EHR cost range – $50k to $120k.

How can Appinventiv help with your EHR project?

At Appinventiv, we have helped conceptualize and engineer over 30+ EHRs – both hospital and patient facing. Our team of developers know the healthcare compliances needed to make an efficient EHR system that abides by all the regulations. Moreover, what makes us a reliable name in the healthcare software space is that we have gathered a deep insight into creating future-forward EHR software with the right set of technologies.

We have the right blend of skills and technology understanding to help you build and implement an efficient EHR in your healthcare system – all with the guarantee of high security, scalability, and interoperability. What you have to do is get in touch with our team of healthcare experts and initiate your EHR journey.

FAQs related to EHR development

Q. What is an EHR software?

A. An electronic health record is a completely digitalized software that contains extensive information related to patients’ health like their medical history, age, vaccination details, list of prescribed medicines, etc.

Q. What are the different types of EHR systems?

A. There are typically two kinds of EHR software:

  • Physician hosted – This is the EHR type where the data is hosted on the physician’s servers.
  • Remotely-hosted – Under these EHRs, the server lies outside the physician’s office.

Q. How much does it cost to build an EHR system?

A. Well, there cannot be one fixed answer to it. Depending on the feature sets and technology stack, number of platforms, it can range anywhere between $40k to $100k.

Q. What are the things that I should keep into consideration when building an EHR?

A. There are elements that affect the continuity and success of an EHR system. Elements like – its compliance readiness, availability of mobile version, proper data migration, etc. To get a thorough understanding of these elements, please get in touch with our healthcare developers.


THE AUTHOR

Dileep Gupta

DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER