Types of EHR Systems and How to Choose the Right One

| Updated on October 4, 2023

The days when the global healthcare system was based on paper records are long gone. In 2022 the red tape jungle is successfully replaced with the digital workflow, electronic health record systems specifically. 

In this editorial, we’ll focus on the existing types of EHR software and the differences between them. Keep reading to find out if you should give EHR Development a chance.

What is an EHR system?

EHR system is multifunctional medical software that covers the particular needs of a specific healthcare facility. The most common tasks EHR can perform include: 

  • patients’ records storage
  • appointments scheduling and management
  • reminders system for medical workers
  • billing
  • online communication 
  • insurance reimbursement

Keep in mind that the listed number of features is not definitive. The functionality of each specific system can be very different. It all depends on the needs of the medical professionals and the administration of the facility. That is exactly why EHR development services are gaining popularity. Many businesses prefer to invest in custom software that was built specifically to fit their needs rather than spend money on out-of-the-box solutions. 

What are the Types of EHR Systems?

Electronic health records software is different, not only when it comes to the actual functionality. There are other approaches to its classification. We’ll take a closer look at two of them.

Classification by Application

Different medical institutions might require an EHR solution for different reasons. In this case, EHR classification by application comes in handy. 

  • Administrative EHRs take care of most aspects of doctor-patient interaction. It includes meetings history, checkups schedule, test results, health-related data migration, and other types of administrative tasks.
  • Reporting EHRs are built to gather and store the available information (e.g. statistics, financial info, clinical data, workload information, etc.) for further analysis and effectiveness measurement.  
  • Research EHRs are used if a facility requires a large amount of medical data (usually anonymized) to base future clinical research upon it. 
  • Financial/Billing EHRs collect and store patients’ data that will be required for an effortless automated billing process. It includes easy-to-use invoicing tools, insurance information, billing cycles, etc. 
  • Clinical EHRs are developed to ensure personalized healthcare with maximum efficiency. Via this type of software, medical professionals gain access to the most relevant healthcare-related information about their patients (current treatment, recent test results, allergies, etc.)

Classification by Deployment

Another way to categorize electronic health record systems is by deployment options. In other words, this classification determines where the digital data will be stored. 


As the name implies, in this case, all the data will be stored on the particular facility’s servers. It means that the organization will have to take care of the hardware powerful enough to keep the EHR up and running at all times.

The pros of a physician-hosted EHR include a higher level of performance, maximum control over the system’s security, and sensitive data protection. Yet, there also are some cons as well. Firstly, not all medical organizations will be able to afford the equipment needed for the proper functioning of the system, as it is pretty costly. Secondly, there will be a need for a tech expert (or even a crew) on staff, who will supervise the system and take care of maintenance/troubleshooting when necessary. 

Accordingly, physician-hosted EHRs are not the most popular these days. For the most part, this type of deployment is a prerogative of enterprises and large-scale medical facilities. 


If the organization is not able (or not willing) to invest in a physician-hosted EHR the alternative is a remotely-hosted EHR. It means that both the storage and the maintenance + other IT needs are held by a third party. 

This option is often preferred by smaller practices and organizations with the main focus on data collection/analysis. Even though remote hosting requires regular payments, the expenses are not as high as if it was a physician-hosted EHR.  

It is crucial to mention that any remotely-hosted EHR belongs to one of three subtypes: cloud, subsidized, and dedicated. 

Let’s start with the most popular option — cloud-hosted EHRs. The popularity of cloud-based systems is based on two significant advantages. First of all, it is the cheapest. Plus it grants medical professionals quick easy access to all the data via any internet-connected device. The principle of cloud-hosted systems is also very easy to comprehend: the chosen IT vendor stores the available data in the cloud, troubleshooting when needed and ensuring uninterrupted access for all authorized users. 

The subsidized model is far less sought-after. Mostly because it offers a practitioner zero control over any data. The subsidized approach implies that a healthcare organization the medical professional is cooperating with subsidizes the cost of the EHR. In this case, all the possible technical issues are once again resolved by a third party, yet all the control is on the side of a subsidizing entity. 

Dedicated hosting is somewhat a compromise between the previous two options, It suggests that the medical facility chooses a vendor and trusts them with data storage on their servers. The servers’ location is typically chosen to safeguard maximum operational efficiency and smooth workflow. Still, even though the practitioners know the servers’ location, the level of data control remains pretty low. 

Final words

Electronic Health Records adoption still has a long way to go. The global pandemic has pushed the development process forward (by 2022 EHR global market size hit USD 26.78 bn) but in some countries, the outlook is much brighter than in others.  

It means that any healthcare-related business has some time to choose the right EHR system, thoroughly think over the implementation strategy, and finally reap the benefits this innovative software brings! 

There are many options in the modern EHR market: different types of systems. Numerous vendors and IT providers offer development and maintenance services, hundreds of payment plans for hostings, and out-of-the-box solutions. Take your time and analyze all the available information. A smart choice of an EHR system can really make or break your business’ future success.

Adam Green

Adam believes it's pretty cool to be a software expert, but it's much cooler to share all the expertise he has gathered in all his years of experimenting and learning. He is contributing his knowledge and skills to Get Assist and also been featured as a contributor in many popular tech sites.

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