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How To Pick The Right EMR

How To Pick The Right EMR

When evaluating EMRs, there are a lot of things to take into consideration.  Your medical records are the one of the most valuable and critical pieces of your business, and you might be uncertain about which EMR to trust with this data.  Here are some of the things you want to look out for when comparing EMRs, and how SmartND measures up.


You need to look several years down the road when considering an EMR.  Does the EMR you select have the capacity to grow with you – can it handle thousands of medical charts, and can it scale up with your practice and your ambitions?

SmartND is build to handle hundreds of thousands of charts per practitioner.  We have taken into account that charts need to be stored for an indefinite period of time, and that we will be storing charts for a practitioner over 50+ years of practice.  This is a lot of storage – can we handle it?  Definitely.  Our servers are designed to be scalable and can easily grow and be modified to meet increasing storage demands.

Data Location

Where is your data being stored?  This is probably the most overlooked issue with EMRs.  I can’t tell you how many times people have come to us with horror stories of their data being lost and no support being provided.  If you are a Canadian practitioner, you absolutely must use a service that stores your data on Canadian soil.  Same goes for US practitioners.  Why?  Well, service providers in other countries are not necessarily required to help you if you have problems, or assist you in exporting your charts from their service.  Although there are always exceptions, I have found that many foreign EMRs provide minimal service and support and less than minimal help when it comes to data export for practitioners in other countries.  Don’t take that chance.

SmartND serves our Canadian clients from servers on Canadian soil, and our US clients use servers physically located on US soil.  We keep the two separate.  And we guarantee, no questions asked, that we will provide you with your exported data as required.  You can hold us to that.  We will never hold your data hostage to retain your business.  Be wary of services that do not offer such a crystal clear guarantee.


Is the technology modern and well-built?  The last thing you need is an EMR based on outdated technology which needs to be upgraded or updated often.

SmartND is built using the latest technological tools and servers.  From our lightning fast solid state storage servers to the latest CPUs and web technologies, SmartND is built to last.  But all technology gets outdated fast, so we have specifically built SmartND to be modular – we can easily upgrade any part of our system as needed, to ensure that the service is based on the most up-to-date technology.


A very important aspect of any software, and especially EMRs, is the Human Computer Interface.  It is how you interact with the software, how you understand what it is doing, and whether or not it is intuitive.  An EMR may have great features, but if they are not easy to use, no one will use them or even know about them.

You’ll be looking at the EMR interface every day for hours on end.  It is not only important that it works, but also that it is easy to use, and a pleasure to interact with.  The SmartND interface is continually being designed and re-designed, improved, and refined.  We take your suggestions and comments and continually update the experience.  Our lead designer is an Architect, and with good reason: Architects know how to design for people.  In order to design a good interface, we have to listen to you, our clients.  Tell us what you think, what you would improve, and we’ll work on it.

Reports and Statistics

Knowing as much as you can about your business is an important factor of success.  Businesses tend to fail not because they don’t have enough money, but because they do not have the right perspective on their business to drive sales.  Reports and Statistics are crucial to get an understanding of how your business is operating, and who your clients are.

SmartND will be releasing some very powerful reporting and statistical tools as of July 2015.  These tools will allow you to generate charts and graphs of just about any data sets contained in our database about your business.  How may patients are on some particular supplements, what is your demographic, what diagnosis do you use most often, what is your patient compliance rate, etc…  All of these questions and more can be answered with our Smart Reporting tools.


Pick an EMR that is suitable to the type of practice you have.  This simple advice is often overlooked.

SmartND is designed for NDs.  Everything we do in our EMR is focused on NDs and their needs.  Now, this also means that any other professions that have similar needs to NDs can also use our system, and we will endeavor to assist you as well in your quest for the best EMR, but we are devoted to our ND community.


Pick and EMR that you know will be around for a while.  You don’t want to waste time with an EMR that will either be obsolete or closed within a few years.

SmartND is being developed by a team of six programmers and designers, led by a Naturopathic Doctor who is a 2011 CCNM Graduate.  We have investors and financial capital to last us several years, and have developed a business model that is both viable and extremely efficient.  SmartND was initially made public in September 2012 as a pre-beta release, and has been in development for 2 years until our Private Beta launch in November 2014.  Our Public Beta launch followed in April 2015, and our Final Release, Version 1.0, will launch in September 2015.  As of the date of this article, we have had overwhelming success reaching out to ND’s across North America. They have tested and found our software to be so unique that many ND’s are now switching over to us from competitors who have been in the marketplace for decades.  All this to say that we have developed a solid and extremely well-built platform for ND’s, and we are here to stay.  We know that within a few years, most ND’s using EMRs will be using SmartND.


Security is one of the most, if not THE most important aspect of an EMR.  Does the system you choose have the right security level for the storage of medical records?

SmartND takes steps to ensure that your data is kept secure, and complies with PIPEDA guidelines.  Medical data is probably one of the most sensitive types of data that any  organization can store.  We take the following precautions:

  • Encrypted SSL connections between our interface and our servers – data you type into our interface is securely transferred to our database using SSL technology, which is the same technology used by banks.
  • The physcial servers running SmartND are under 24/7 survellance by our hosting providers.  SmartND uses 3rd party hosting companies to store your data in order to minimize the risk of data theft and data loss. We focus on building the best software, and they do what they are best at – ensuring that data is kept safe and secure.  It is never a good idea to go with an EMR service which hosts their own servers.  Too many things can go wrong.  It’s called specialization.  We do what we are good at, and they to what they are good at, so that the practitioner can have the best of both worlds – the best EMR, and the best Security.


Reliability is second only to security in its importance in an EMR.  How is your data backed up?  What is the likelihood of losing data, or accidentally deleting critical information?

SmartND knows that your most important data is your charting data.  This is why we have 3 levels of backups for charting data.  Level 1 is a system-wide backup of our entire server every day.  This ensures that we can easily restore the system and data should there be any general data loss.  Level 2 is two physically separated servers located over 4000km apart.  This ensures that if there is ever a natural disaster that disables one of our servers, there is minimal chance that the other server, 4000km away, would be affected by the same natural disaster.  Level 3 is the multiple chart backups.  For every SOAP chart, we keep up to 200 backups, saved every 5 seconds.  This means that we have a chronological record of all the changes to your chart, until your chart is locked.  Should you lose data at any time, you an contact us and 99% of the time we can restore any data you might have lost.  Once your chart is locked, we purge those extra backups as they are not needed anymore.

Service and Support

Many tend to overlook this aspect, and regret it later.  A lot of shortcomings in other important categories can be overcome by good service and support.  Is there someone at the EMR company who is willing and able to help you if you have questions or encounter unexpected issues with the EMR?   Do they respond promptly and are they helpful?

SmartND believes that good customer service is the cornerstone of any successful company.  We take all your questions and comments seriously, and work with you to make SmartND the best EMR for NDs on the market.  We are available by e-mail (info@smartnd.ca) and by phone (1-888-507-0826), and we are always willing to setup a net meeting to provide tutorials or help you learn the software.  When contacted by e-mail we respond to over 75% of e-mails within 60 minutes, and 100% of e-mails within one business day.  E-mails are filtered according to urgency, and the most critical e-mails may be responded to in as little as 15 minutes.  We are responsive, we care about our clients, and we work hard to gain your trust.