Client Data Toolkit: Database Products

Navigating the Software Selection Process

There are so many products on the market for  managing client data that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The main categories are products designed for large hospitals, medical clinics, providers in private practice and social service organizations. One way to approach the selection is to focus on products that are specifically designed for your needs such as behavioral healthcare, psychology, case management or outcome evaluation.

Resources for Learning About Client Data Management Software

Client Data Management Software

Many vendors have products specifically designed for behavioral healthcare and mental health providers. Features to look for include treatment plans, progress notes, and the ability to track group therapy attendance. Some of the products are designed for social service agencies and do not have a medical component. EHR/EMR products will also include the ability to do electronic prescriptions, labs, medical billing, and electronic data exchange with other providers.

Several of the products in this list are geared towards large clinics and hospitls. These are marked as Enterprise Level. Others are quite suitable for small to mid-size clinics and solo practitioners. When selecting software for managing client data you may find that Case Management products are better suited to your needs than an EHR system. Both kinds are listed below.

Software Selection Resources

Too many choices? Use the resources listed below to help you learn more about the products. Capterra and Software Advice also have consulting services that can guide you through the selection proecess.

Outcome Measurement and Evaluation Software

Open Source Software

There are several Open Source projects that address the needs of Electronic Medical Records. The largest and most successful of these projects is the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), an enterprise-wide EHR used throughout the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical system. VistA is free and open source. Because the technical support required to install and administer VistA is quite complex, several groups have created modified versions of VistA that they service and support for a fee. More information can be found at

VistA based Open Source Software

Non-VistA Open Source Software

Open Source Resources 

Check out the next section of the toolkit: Purchasing: How to Estimate the Cost of Your System

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