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practice management system vs EMR

5 Key Differences Between Practice Management System vs EMR

When it comes to running a private clinic or medical facility, many health experts are left wondering whether they should invest in practice management systems or EMR (electronic medical records) systems. Both systems will help your clinic, but they are not equal. In fact, each platform performs many different services.

Your choice between practice management systems vs EMR will depend on the features you need, your clinic’s expected volume, your price, and whether you outsource your medical billing. Using these factors will help you determine which software solution is right for you. More importantly, it will help your clinic operations become more productive and focus on what’s important.

What is EMR and Practice Management Systems?


EMR is a digital file that contains all the medical records for a patient. This electronic document contains all the patient information associated with that facility. However, it can contain other medical information from other healthcare providers. EMR is commonly referred to as an “electronic paper chart.” An EMR is called that because it takes most of the same information contained in a paper chart and stores them electronically. An EMR system helps physicians stay on top of patient health and keep track of medical conditions. You may also find an EMR system that helps with patient charts, ePrescriptions, lab orders, and billing or coding. Although this is not always not guaranteed.

For more information, check out our guide: What is EMR?

Practice Management Systems

Often noted as practice management software, it can help medical professionals with the entire patient process all under one platform. Practice management systems can handle tasks such as medical billing, scheduling, navigating patient records, submitting insurance claims, and tracking revenue. In theory, practice management systems can simplify workflows for administrative and medical staff.

For more information, check out our guide: Practice Management Software: Top Features & Benefits

To simplify:

EMR will store patient health records electronically and integrate with some additional services like billing or coding.

Practice management systems can handle patient records, administrative tasks, and business tasks. Many practice management systems contain some form of EMR.

5 Differences Between Practice Management Systems vs EMR

1.   An All-in-One Platform

Practice management systems are designed to handle the entire functions of a medical facility. That not only includes integrations with EMR or EHR, but business and administrative functions as well. Practice management software can help you with things like:

  • Email and Direct Marketing
  • Patient Communication
  • Medical Coding (in-house)
  • Claims Submission
  • Balance Sheets
  • Employee Scheduling
  • Data Reports and Analytics
  • Insurance Eligibility
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Telehealth Services

Having all these services under one specific banner can help increase productivity and provide better care. Importantly, practice management systems help you track the financial well-being of your healthcare facility and move between tasks seamlessly.

While it is true that EMR does contain some of these features, such as coding and billing, it is not as expansive. EMR services will streamline administrative tasks along with patient data. EMR does also provides some automation and statistical analysis of patients. However, it is not as all-encompassing as a practice management system.

2.   Financial Reports

An EMR service may give you a wide overview of your financial situation. However, most systems will give you the tools to accurately report patient information. You’ll be able to see past diagnoses, make recommendations, and document your interactions with patients. Therefore, you will often find an EMR system integrated with other practice management software. You may also see specific types of EMR systems that target billing or specific care.

Practice management systems are going to give you a much more in-depth look at the cost and profit of your organization. It creates less friction between medical services and the administrative department. It will help you establish the important analytics to grow your practice. When it comes to practice management system vs EMR the devil is in the details.

3.   Want Marketing? Get a Practice Management System

For marketing, practice management system vs EMR is a simple observation. Practice management systems are designed to handle multiple channels of revenue and administrative tasks such as marketing. An EMR system is not designed to do that. Most systems will store patient data according to HIPAA guidelines and reduce paperwork. If you are looking for a system to handle your marketing channels, stick with practice management software.

4.   Manage a Patient Business Cycle

Practice management systems will help patients and staff throughout the entire patient engagement process. A practice management software will not only help entice customers through marketing efforts but help administrative staff follow up on costs and billing practices. With the end goal in mind of producing a faster and more robust billing cycle. This is not only helpful for the medical facility but the insurance provider and patient as well.

An EMR system was created for sharing patient data between medical departments. It can share critical information between doctors and physicians. Then, they are able to pull up that information when it is needed. An EMR system will not help with administrative tasks such as insurance approval. It would, however, help you identify common trends in your practice.

5.    Better Communication

When it comes to internal communication, practice management services make communication between departments a breeze. Staff can look up and send documents to one another all through one application. Not to mention, you can integrate multiple insurance and billing operations within the system. Further negating mistakes. Because of practice management software, you’ll be able to improve productivity and eliminate wasteful time. Integration with other services is one of the most important keys to clinic success.

Ready to Choose Between Practice Management System vs EMR?

Are you interested in a practice management system or EMR? If so, 360Connect can help. We connect interested customers with high-quality suppliers for medical solutions. Just fill out our form and have free quotes sent to you! It’s that simple.

Want to learn more? Check out our other material:

The Pros and Cons of EMR Implementation

Practice Management Software: Pros and Cons

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