There are many different electronic medical record (EMR) systems available for healthcare providers to choose from, which can make the decision difficult. Which system is truly right for your practice? With so many options, it can feel overwhelming to make this decision. Let’s breakdown two of the most common EMR Systems- Centricity (by GE Healthcare) and NextGen, and hopefully ease the decision-making process.

While differences between the two EMRs do exist, they have much more in common than one may think. Both systems combine clinical and financial management systems which means their focus is on patient outcomes and how to improve efficiency within the clinical workplace. NextGen offers the option of having MIPs reporting dashboards while Centricity offers the option of having “pay-for-performance” reviews and meaningful use demonstration. While this differs slightly between the two systems, both allow practices to compare their patient outcomes to national standards and averages among other practices in the United States. This provides practices with baseline goals as well as ways to improve their own efficiency regarding quality improvement and patient management. Another similarity between the two systems is the availability of a patient portal to manage appointments, access lab work, and review medical billing. This allows patients convenient access to their care history on their timeline. What’s even more convenient is the ability for clinicians and other healthcare providers to access either NextGen or Centricity on a tablet or mobile device rather than being confined to a desktop when providing care and evaluating treatment plans.

While these two systems do have a lot in common, differences do exist. For example, Centricity is considered to be more expensive upfront (due to initial and continual fees) compared to the lower average initial cost of NextGen. Much of this has to do with the operating system they provide. Notably, Centricity reaches over 35,000 clinicians nationwide and caters mostly towards larger practices (those with more than 50 physicians). On the other hand, NextGen has a nationwide reach of more than 124,000 providers but is usually found in practices with 50 physicians or less. Another major difference is the compatibility of the EMR with specific computer operating systems. Currently, Centricity is only compatible with Windows programs while NextGen is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. 

Making a decision as to which EMR system to go with for your practice can be a difficult one. It is important to consider your operating system platform (Windows, Mac, or Linux), your budget (more expensive or less expensive), and the size of your practice (less than 50 physicians or more than 50 physicians). Both Centricity and NextGen offer very similar options with the goals of tracking clinical patient outcomes, allowing access to patients to review their medical work, and improve efficiency in the healthcare workplace. 



Centricity EMR. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2020, from

Software Advice. (n.d.). NextGen Healthcare. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from

About the Author:

Kayla Sangrey

Kayla has been an APPAA contributor since 2020. Kayla recently graduated from Vanderbilt University and specialized in Family Medicine.