Urgent care centers in the market for EMRs

By Bernie Monegain
10:14 AM

Thousands of urgent care centers are looking for an EMR to adapt to increasing patient volume, and providers are finding success with three different types of EMRs, according to a new report from research firm KLAS.

Of the more than 9,000 estimated urgent care centers, many report plans to increase in size or location in the next 12 months. Many need an EMR.

Options for urgent care centers include ambulatory EMRs, ED solutions, and best-of-breed urgent care EMRs, KLAS reports.

For the "Urgent Care 2012: A Host of EMR Options" report, KLAS interviewed 76 urgent care organizations about their EMR vendor's performance, focusing on best-of-breed vendors CodoniX, DocuTAP, and Practice Velocity and giving an early look at Integritas.

KLAS compared CodoniX, DocuTAP, and Practice Velocity in the areas of efficiency and patient safety, reporting and charge capture, and vendor support and ongoing communication.
Practice Velocity edged out its competitors as the top vendor amid the close-packed scores, but providers say it's not just the score that makes the best vendor for an urgent care center.

KLAS reported that even best-of-breed urgent care EMRs might not be the best solution for every situation.

"There isn't a case of bad or good chocolate – just different preferences,” says report author Erik Bermudez. “The best EMR really depends on the urgent care center. Some value clinician efficiency. Others need top vendor support because they don't have in-house IT. Some need to share patient information with an affiliated hospital. Each urgent care center should examine their facility's needs, and then begin vetting vendors and products."

Different providers use different vendors to fit their organizations, Bermudez says. Stand-alone urgent care centers, or those in a chain, tend to use a best-of-breed vendor. Hospital-affiliated locations often adapt an in-house ED solution or ambulatory EMR to receive an integration advantage.

While KLAS focused on best-of-breed vendors, findings about major EDIS and ambulatory vendors are also included in the report.