SaaS Based Electronic Health Record System (and it’s free)

I’m pretty excited to find out about a SaaS based EHR system, Practice Fusion, that is also free…completely free including support.  And unlike most “free” SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions they don’t have a “lite” version that’s free while trying to up-sell you to the “professional” version for a fee.  According to their website “There are no hidden charges, consultant fees, software costs or support subscriptions. Licensing, hosting, training and support are all included. Your practice always retains ownership of its data and you can export any time if needed.”

News flash! If you have a medical practice that qualifies for $44,000 in economic stimulus incentives for adopting an EHR as specified in the HITECH Act…and you adopt a “free” EHR package…then obviously you get to pocket the entire $44,000.

Practice Fusion runs on Salesforce.com‘s cloud development platform, Force.com, the Cadillac of cloud app development platforms. And recently Dell, Inc. announced a partnership to bundle hardware with Practice Fusion’s SaaS solution including zero interest financing (for 3 months) for medical practices.

Unlike on premise client/server solutions a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution runs completely in the cloud. So you don’t have the expense of servers and even more importantly the people resources that are necessary to support the servers. Your annual savings with a SaaS solution can easily be 10’s of thousands of dollars over what you would pay for a solution requiring on premise hardware maintenance and support.

I took advantage of Practice Fusion’s academic program to signup for an account and have been reviewing their extensive library of youtube training videos.   The availability of these videos make learning Practice Fusion’s features a snap.

So who’s using a SaaS EHR solution? On their website they claim that over 30,000 physicians and practice managers in 50 states currently use Practice Fusion’s Electronic Health Record which sounds pretty impressive to me.

So what’s the catch? How do these guys make money? Well Practice Fusion is an ad-supported product. On their website they say “medical advertising placements are non-intrusive, completely private and never pop-up.” And if you really can’t stand the ads then  you can switch to an ad-free version for a $100 a month per practitioner at any time.

Given that  the top driver for slow adoption of Electronic Health Records is misalignment of costs and benefits then Practice Fusion stands to make a significant impact in this market.