How to Use EMR & EDR

MacPractice EMR/EDR (Electronic Medical Record, or Electronic Dental Record) is an electronic medical records solution within MacPractice. It has the flexibility you need to easily create feature-rich templates, control the narrative format, select the layout and customize your workflow. EMR lets you work the way you want - quickly and efficiently.

EMR and EDR describe the same set of features and are used interchangeably. Depending on the type of MacPractice you use (MD, DC, DDS, 20/20), you may see either EMR or EDR.


If you prefer a video guide, please refer to our EMR-EDR Video Guide series.

If you are interested in learning how to build EMR/EDR templates, please refer to How to Build Templates in EMR/EDR.

This article contains the following sections:

Configuring and Getting Familiar with EMR/EDR
This section covers setting up EMR/EDR to address the needs of your office, and provides a brief overview of some of the basic functions within the EMR/EDR ability.

Enabling EMR/EDR
First, you'll need to ensure the EMR/EDR ability has been enabled on your account. Our Accounting team is more than happy to assist with enabling features. Simply call into MacPractice Support and ask to speak to a member of Accounting and they will be more than happy to help you.
Keep in mind that EMR/EDR is a paid feature. Accounting can also assist with providing detailed pricing information.
You can verify that EMR/EDR is enabled by navigating to Preferences > Abilities and scrolling through the list of enabled options to find EMR.
If Accounting needs to enable EMR/EDR on your license, they will likely instruct you to fetch your license. This is easily done by navigating to Preferences > Abilities and clicking on the Fetch License button.
After fetching the license, you will need to log out and back in to MacPractice.

To add EMR/EDR to your toolbar, simply right click the toolbar and choose "Customize Toolbar". You can drag the EMR/EDR ability to the toolbar.


Configuring Preferences
Next you'll want to review Preferences to ensure they are configured to address the needs of your office. You can set the font of your forms, configure display and printing options for printed EMR/EDR forms.
You can find these Preferences by navigating to the MacPractice Menu > Preferences > EMR/EDR.


For a detailed explanation of EMR/EDR Preferences, please refer to Preferences - EDR/EMR

EMR/EDR Sidebar
The EMR/EDR Sidebar displays several nodes that are used to organize your forms and access shared templates that you can download.


The EMR/EDR Sidebar contains the following nodes:

  • Form Sections: This node contains the sections of forms that make up every EMR/EDR template. These sections link sets of Form Elements, the building blocks of EMR/EDR form templates.
  • General: A default Form Category which can be used containing General form templates.
  • Downloads: This default node is where all downloaded form templates are deposited when installed in Shared Forms. Imported templates that have been provided by MacPractice Support will also be deposited here as well.
  • Patient Forms: This node contains forms that have been created from templates for Patients. Patient forms are organized by Patient.
  • Locked Patient Forms: This node contains Locked Patient Forms.
  • Note Templates: This node contains Note Templates for use in the Notes Ability. Notes Templates are covered here.
  • Shared Forms: This node grants you access to a repository of sample template forms which you can install and use at your convenience.
  • EMR Form Category: This node allows you to create Category nodes within the EMR/EDR sidebar to organize your forms by selecting the node and clicking the green plus in the sidebar.
    In the above screenshot, the red folders are Category nodes (MacPractice MD, MacPractice DDS, General, Ophthalmology, Chiropractic, and Downloads).
    You can add as many as you like, and you can remove Category nodes if they are empty. For example, if you wanted to organize your form templates by the ones each Provider uses, you could create a Category node for each provider, so they have the forms they use most frequently.
Downloading and Organizing Templates
To download a EMR/EDR Template, first click on the Shared Forms node in the Sidebar.
Here, you can search for templates that apply to a variety of specialties, as well as filter by Form Version. We highly recommend you select all Form Versions unless you know what you're looking for by holding Command on your keyboard and clicking all Form Version entries.
When you have selected the specialties you wish to search for, click the "Apply" button.
You can choose to install any form template by either double clicking the form in question, or by clicking once and then clicking the "Download" button in the lower right (visible in the image above).
All downloaded templates are deposited into the Downloads category at first. If you wish to move a downloaded form into another category node,  simply left click and hold on the form in the Downloads node, and drag it to the desired category node.

Navigation Menu
The Navigation Menu is a sidebar on the right that is used when a Template is selected. It contains all the Form Sections that make up the selected Template.
By dragging and dropping Sections in the Navigation Menu, you can adjust the order in which the form is constructed. For example, if I wanted to move the height/weight section down to display after the Reason for Visit sections, I would simply left click Height/Weight in the Navigation Menu, and then drop it in the desired location.

Form Table/Clinical Ledger
The Form Table and the Clinical Ledger are both at the bottom pane of EMR/EDR. They share the same space, and can be toggled by holding Control on your keyboard and left-clicking the bottom pane.
The Form Table displays in a column format each entry made on a Patient Form. If a given Patient has multiple forms filled out of the same Template, the Form Table will list all of them so you can easily compare results between forms.
The Clinical Ledger displays all the recent interactions recorded on the Clinical Ledger (normally visible in the Patient's Ledger). You can customize what is shown here with the View Options menu, and you can narrow down whether you wish to view just a single Incident or all Incidents.

Forms Palette
The Forms Palette governs the basic attributes of a Template. When you select a template or a Patient Form, the Forms Palette will display in a separate window. Alternatively, you can toggle the Forms Palette by pressing Command-Shift-K or clicking "Toggle Palette" in the EMR/EDR menu.
If you have a Patient Form selected, the Forms Palette will look like this:
The Forms Palette with a Patient Form selected will allow you to set the Incident, Provider, and Office this form belongs to. You can also set the Procedure Date, lock the Patient Form from being changed, and zoom in and out at your convenience.
Note: Keep in mind that the Provider listed on the form itself will always match the provider selected in the Patient Ability. 
If you have a Template selected, the Forms Palette will look like this:
The Forms Palette with a Template selected allows you to rename a Template, write up a description of the Template and assign the Template a Specialty. You can also upload the Template to Shared Forms.
The Forms Palette will also display tools for assembling Templates when a Form Section is selected. This will be covered in How to Build Templates in EMR/EDR.

Patient Form
This section details everything you need to know about patient forms.
A Patient form is a form that is created from a template. Templates can be downloaded via the Shared Forms node, imported from a file, or created within EMR/EDR. We will cover creating templates in a later section.
Generate a Patient Form
Generating a Patient Form from a template is very easy.
Simply select the template in the sidebar, and click the Green Plus. If you have a patient selected already, a form will be generated for that Patient. If you do not have a patient selected, a search box will appear that will allow you to select the desired Patient.
Basic demographic information will be automatically pulled into the newly generated form, as well as the currently selected Provider and Office information from the Patient ability. Be sure to update these before generating a form for a patient!


Editing a Patient Form
Generated Patient Forms will appear in the Patient Forms node, listed by Patient. 
Once a patient form has been generated, it is relatively easy to fill it out by clicking on fields or pressing the Tab key on your keyboard to jump to the next field. All completed Form Sections will be included on the Form Narrative.
The Form Element fields can be edited until the form is moved to the Locked Patient Forms node, which will effectively lock the form down to prevent future changes. You can also use the Lock Form button in the Forms Palette to lock down a form as well.
If you don't see the Forms Palette with a form selected, you can toggle it by navigating to EMR/EDR in the menu, and selecting "Toggle Palette". You can also press "Command-Shift-K" on your keyboard to toggle the Palette.

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Viewing and Printing the Narrative
All information filled out on a Patient Form, when saved, is listed on the form's Narrative. You can view the Narrative by either navigating to the EDR menu and clicking "Toggle Narrative/Form". Alternatively, you can hold Command and press \ on your keyboard.


By default, form sections that have not been filled out are not included on the Narrative.  On the Patient Form, if a section has a grey background, it will not be included on the Narrative. If a section has a white background, it will be included on the Narrative.
You can see the visual difference briefly in the above animated image when the form is saved before switching over to view the Narrative. Saving the form updates the Narrative, and you can briefly see the color change between a section that will not be included vs a section that will.

You can also manually toggle whether a section will appear on the Narrative by right clicking the section in question and clicking the option to either include or exclude the Narrative.


It is important to note that when a form is generated, the Patient Name, DOB, and Physician are saved onto the form at that time. To correct problems here, you'll need to generate a new form.

You can print either the Patient Form or the Narrative by simply toggling to the one you wish to print, and then either pressing Command-P on your keyboard, or selecting "Print" from the File menu. 

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