The SOAPware EMR was created to provide optimal care by modeling the paper chart. There are currently over 30,000 users with 10,000 sites nationwide as well as in 30 other countries(1).
The SOAP acronym stands for Simple Object Access Protocol, a web exchange protocol used in other applications.(2)
SOAPware was founded in 1994 by Dr. Randall Oates(3) but, the program developed out of a custom EHR system he began developing for his own practice in 1987. Dr. Oates recalls that, "I can vividly remember an evening during the flu season of 1987. It was around 7:00pm, and I had seen around 70 patients during the day. When I sat down at my desk, I had 70 charts waiting for me, and I found myself writing the same sentences over and over and over. I had always been an Apple/Mac enthusiast, so I decided to use my word processing program to copy and paste notes from each patient, then change what was different." Oates spent parts of the next two years fiddling around with Hypercard; "by 1989, I was printing out my prescriptions and doing all my chart work electronically."(4)
The history of Soapware can be divided into four stages:(5)
1. 1987 to 1992 – Prototype stage – Dr. Oates created the prototype for SOAPware using a program called Hypercard on early Apple Macintosh computers while building a very large and active medical practice in Springdale, Arkansas. He introduced his program at the 1990 American Academy of Family Physicians Scientific assembly where it was received with much enthusiasm by fellow physicians facing similar problems. By the end of the year, 30 doctors had begun integrating the prototype system into their own private practice.
2. 1992 to 1994 – Start-up – Greg Lose, a real programmer, came in to turn the prototype into a commercial product. He continues to lead the way doing research and development.
3. 1994 to 2005 – Market dominance in small practices – David Powell came on as CEO. In 2005, there was not an EMR product installed in more sites than SOAPware.
4. 2005 to present – Focus on transition to next generation, comprehensive EMR – SOAPware retreated from major marketing, and engaged a complete rewrite of the software. Until 2005, it was SOAPware's intent to keep a focus on the EMR and links in order to interface with PMS systems. However, in 2008, it became apparent that an overwhelming majority of EMR users wanted a fully integrated, rather than interfaced, EMR-PMS. So, they launched into development of their fully integrated PMS that was in an alpha-testing phase as of 2009. It uses the same database as the EMR, is written in the same computer language, and does not require a separate installer.
- SOAPware EMR
- SOAPware PM
- SOAPware Hosting Options
- SOAPware Docu-Portal
- Professional Scheduling
- Intelligent E&M Coding
- Patient Research Tools
- Device Integrations
- Instant Medical History Integration
- Order Entry System
- Flow Sheets and Growth Charts
- Document management
- Health Maintenance System
- Tasks Management
- E-prescribing (not available in the State of Ohio)
- Patient Education Handouts
- Patient Engagement Platform
The software has been praised for its usability. The software's creators attribute this to two main things: The first is that it mimics paper charts that users are already accustomed to and the second is that the system was created in a private practice by a physician, someone who was already experienced with the needs of an office of that scale and scope.(1)
Flexibility has been a point of focus since the early days of the software's development. Data can be entered into SOAPware in free-form text, in standardized input forms developed by users which produce granular output suitable for outcomes research, or a combination of the two. Images, audio, video, and text can be dragged and dropped into any section of the medical record. Data can also be entered via digital ink through a tablet, or through voice recognition. Records can be viewed on a wide variety of devices such as iPhones, multiple monitor setups, or tablets. The visual interface is customizable.
E-prescribing is bundled into even the low-end versions of SOAPware, allowing for the simplification of record keeping and the elimination of duplicate entries.
As of 2008, SOAPware was the least expensive CCHIT-certified EHR, starting at $2000 for a certified system.(4)
Patient Engagement Platform In March 2015, SOAPware introduced myHEALTHware. SOAPware described the new platform as "a state-of-the-art healthcare tool that combines the best of social networking plus 20 years of medical software know-how resulting in a robust, feature-rich platform that delivers maximum privacy, security and ease-of-use." The tool allows patients and their healthcare professionals to securely communicate, coordinate care and treatment, and access or share patient data and medical records. Currently, the new platform is being used by thousands of patients and healthcare professionals across the U.S.(7)