Nothing in life is free. In spite of knowing that there is no such thing as a free lunch – you will often find clinics signing up to a clinic management system that has no licensing or subscription fee. Ever wonder how such EMR companies make their living? Here are a few of the revenue models of software companies that giveaway free EMR products.
Nothing wrong with advertisement-driven EMR products that are made free for Doctors. Using an EMR with the patient sitting across your desk and you trying to arrive at a diagnosis while simultaneously noting observations is a mean task by itself. The question that needs your answering is if you want to make this job any more difficult with distracting advertisements shown alongside a patient’s medical records.
No advertisements here, the vendor instead looks at selling patient records to market-research companies or to pharmaceutical companies to recover the cost of providing the EMR to you. Some vendors only sell de-identifiable patient data and ensure that the medical records cannot be traced back to the individual patient. However, it is a question of how comfortable you are with the entire process, and would you be able to explain this to your patients?
The freemium EMR products are running on a model that a small percentage of the Doctors will upgrade from the free to the paid model. If you are one of the free users you need to hope that the vendor gets its target quote of conversions from free to paid, else they will eventually go out of business and you will need to start all over again.
The majority of the completely free EMR providers are either startups or EMR products that do not have market acceptance ie they need users. Either way if you are a Doctor who has a busy practice and time comes at a premium to you, avoid both, it is not worth the time and the risk to validate someone else’s business model at your expense.