While the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention” might sound trite, it really was the primary motivation for the creation of Editors’ Choice WRS Health (which begins at $274 per month per doctor for the basic clinical package). The company was started by surgeon Dr. Lawrence Gordon in rural New York state. Dr. Gordon was looking for an electronic medical record (EMR) system that lived in the browser and met his specific needs. That product didn’t exist in the year 1999 so he decided to make it himself. Today, the WRS Health back end uses a Linux Apache MySQL and PHP (LAMP) stack, the software used in a typical Linux-based web server, running on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
After releasing an initial version, the company reached out to some folks at Facebook to help improve the architecture of the product, particularly on the back end. As a result, WRS Health was able to get the product into a stable state on which it could build. In its early releases, the company targeted the product to small practices of up to five doctors, but then scaled it up to support the largest customer, which is one that has 170 doctors under a single practice.
WRS Health has adopted a number of new technologies to help with inputting information into the system. One of these is Anoto e-ink. Patients use a special pen that digitizes their writing on preprinted forms. Once patients finish filling out the forms, they place it in a cradle, which then transfers the information into their records. WRS Health also supports voice input using Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s medical version in the same way that DrChrono uses an Apple medical speech-to-text app. This feature would require additional software to the base platform package. Because of these multiple data options and a comprehensive feature set, WRS Health earned an Editors’ Rating of 4.5 out of 5 and took our Editors’ Choice title, moving past Drchrono, CareCloud and Practice Fusion.
Pricing for WRS Health starts out at $274 per month per doctor for the basic clinical package, which includes the electronic health record (EHR) component, connectivity to other providers, practice management, patient communication, and marketing. DrChrono offers a similar package for $279 per month per provider. WRS Health’s Enterprise edition, which includes revenue cycle management, costs $450 per month per doctor as compared to DrChrono, which offers a comparable tier for $499 per month per provider.
While these numbers put those products on par with WRS Health, our Editors’ Choice, they’re competitive against the rest of the field, too—and certainly when compared to offerings such as CareCloud, our most expensive player so far.
Health Care Provider
The influence of a clinician on the design of WRS Health is evident across the board. Dragon NaturallySpeaking (the voice recorder) and the drawing tools embedded in the charting tool are innovative and useful for clinicians to document information, including not just what they hear from the patients but what they have told the patients, in real time. The practitioner can also alter templates by adding lines to drop-down menus and add to symptom lists to make assessments pertinent and individualized for the patient in real time.
In addition, the problem-status-plan format takes the individualization of a patient care plan up to the next level by immediately tying a problem to a care plan and intervention in a logically ordered, visual format. This format is unique to WRS Health, letting the practitioner clearly identify a problem, and align with an action and order. Such a format will drive compliance with charting for reimbursement, as all problems must be addressed in the chart for each patient.
On the Scheduling page, the list of patients shows small, colored icons that indicate insurance eligibility and show whetheror not the patient has been checked in. Clicking a specific patient displays a small pop-up box with information including prominent buttons at the top to view appointment details, check-in, a move to an exam room, or checkout. The bottom of the box contains links to other functions within the EMR app, sucha as scheduling and billing. While this box has a lot of information, it packs a ton of flexibility into one area to let either the health care provider or practice manager quickly jump to another item. This is very similar to CareCloud, DrChrono, and Practice Fusion, which allows navigation into patient data directly from the schedule.
The software acts as a billing specialist on the shoulder of the provider when, at the end of the encounter, the system prompts the provider to choose a level of care for which to bill by suggesting a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) service code based on the data input from the visit notes and orders. This feature has the potential to cut down on review time, recoding, and rejected claims. It’s also a huge bonus from the perspective of compliance, fraudulent claims, and prompt reimbursements, and is available in the basic Startup package.
The key to efficiency in practice management is making access to common tasks simple and reducing manual input as much as possible. WRS Health has this covered with the use of color-coded items along with pop-up dialogs and the browser-based tab user interface (UI). We found the navigation to be relatively straightforward, although on a few occasions we couldn’t figure out how to get back to a previous page without a bit of effort.
Managing patient payments happens within the “Patient Claims and Bill” section. This page presents all of the pertinent information, such as insurance provider, co-pay amounts, current amount due, and any outstanding payments. The system will also handle accepting credit card payments and producing receipts. Any discrepancies, such as insurance issues in the form of rejected claims, will be flagged in red to immediately grab the attention of the office manager.
One nice touch around medications is a connection to local pharmacies to let them look up a patient’s preferred provider. While CareCloud and DrChrono incorporate this function as well, WRS Health extends this search functionality to other providers for referrals such as radiology and other follow-up testing. In addition to searching for nearby services, WRS Health enables immediate ChartSharing to occur, saving time for both the practitioner and patient. Rescheduling a patient for a future date is as easy as dragging and dropping the name to a future time slot on the calendar. Another handy feature is the ability to fax documents from within the app. While many providers and diagnostic facilities still use the fax machine to send and receive a patient order, e-fax is rapidly becoming the industry standard to increase efficiency and accuracy.
WRS Health provides a wide range of predefined reports covering EMR, billing, and specific practice metrics such as patient wait time, provider time spent with patients, and order tracking. A report customization tool lets you modify existing reports or create your own from scratch. While the canned reports focus on compliance with the federal government’s Meaningful Use program as well as billing and claims, you can get to any of the information stored in the system with a minimal amount of effort. Meaningful Use, by the way, is a government program that provides incentives for physicians to use EMR apps. The government has transitioned Meaningful Use into the Merit-Based Incentive System (MIPS). Both programs focus on quality, patient engagement, coordination of care, and privacy and security of patient health information (PHI).
Clinician-Centered Software With a Learning Curve
A highly functional app, WRS Health offers plenty of special features that keep the clinician at the center of the design team, making this system a winner in the EMR field. WRS Health customizes this system for more than 35 specialty fields. However, if a practice is not already in the system, then customizing a new specialty through the company’s customer support network can take time.
Additionally, the amount of information the EMR app packs onto a screen can be overwhelming. WRS Health does require a learning curve to navigate it quickly and successfully, unlike CareCloud and Practice Fusion. The latter two EMR apps feed a large amount of information onto the practitioner’s screen, but visually organize it through color coding and boxing to allow quicker navigation and require a lower user learning curve.
Navigation cumbersome on some pages.
Busy, cluttered screens in some cases.
Learning curve required to master navigation.
The Bottom Line
WRS Health is a top contender in the EMR field. it provides a clinician-centered EMR solution that improves charting accuracy, individualizes patient-care plans, and enhances reimbursements.