Finding the Best EHR Charting Platform for Lactation Consultants--ChARM vs. Jane for the IBCLC

Charting style is so personal, isn't it? The more clients you see, the more you develop your own preferences for what you want and need in a charting system. Some of them are different enough that you just know they won't work for you--for example, Mobile Lactation Consultant most closely approximates paper charting, and G-Suite is the way to go if you need total control--but when they're similar in style and feel it can be hard to tell which one would make the most sense for you.

Because Jane and ChARM are so similar, I've gotten a lot of questions about how and why to pick one over the other. And there are key differences that will help you make a decision. 

Pricing

Jane has a fixed price of $75/month. 

ChARM is free for under 50 encounters--but what does that actually mean? Here's where it can add up:

  • If you chart for both parent and baby, that's 2 encounters for every one visit (or 3, if you're charting multiples).

  • If you do a lot of phone, email, or text support, you're supposed to document these in your client's chart, and they can add up unless you figure out a workaround instead of using encounters to chart these.

  • If you do more than 50 encounters a month, you're paying $0.50/encounter--so if you do 50 encounters, you pay $0, but if you do 51 encounters, you're paying $25.50.

For a high-volume practice that will consistently exceed 51 encounters a month, Jane is the clear winner for budgetary purposes alone.

For a low-volume practice not keeping separate charts, ChARM could really end up costing you nothing.

Secure Messaging

ChARM has it; Jane doesn't. And if you don't yet know what secure messaging is, pick up my free guide here.

In other words, ChARM gives you a totally secure way to communicate with your clients via an easy-to-use web portal. If you only use the web portal for client communications, it's all connected to the client's and you don't have to use an encounter to chart them.

Jane has no in-built secure messaging platform, so you'll need to use a paid or free service in order to be able to offer this to your clients. I've got a chart that breaks down the best options for IBCLCs.

If you want to see messaging in your client's chart, ChARM is the way to go. 

Online Scheduling

Both Jane and ChARM offer integrated and robust online scheduling, including web embed and email reminders, but with one key difference:

In Jane, you can customize the emails that your clients receive (including adding your branding). ChARM does not allow any customization at the basic level; branding will cost extra.

Jane is the clear winner here.

Charting for Parent and Baby

If you need to keep separate charts for parent and baby, both Jane and ChARM will allow you to do that. Jane allows you to add relationships between clients (a feature that I personally love). In ChARM you'll need to manually link the charts using the same email address for both, and document the relationship in the chart.

So yes, ChARM works, but Jane does it better.

Classes and Group Offerings

Jane makes it very easy to include your classes and other group offerings in your online scheduler. ChARM does not offer this feature at all.

Ease of Use

Here's where Jane shines above all the other EHRs I've looked at. Its interface is so intuitive and cleanly designed. ChARM--well, if you've looked at it, you know that it's clunky and hard to navigate. The client experience is easy to use for both.

If you're going based on what's going to be the most pleasant user experience for you, Jane is the one you want.

Offline Access

ChARM has some connected apps for you and your client that can be used off-line. Jane does not.

Similarities

Both Jane and ChARM allow for full customization of your intake and charting forms, integrated scheduling, online payments, insurance features, storing PDFs to share with clients, and superbill creation. Both require you to be online to access most of the features because you access them through a browser. Both conform HIPAA standards for EHR record management, meaning the Business Associate's Agreement is likely superfluous (but ask your attorney).

And I've created custom intake and charting templates for both Jane and ChARM, everything you need to use either platform with breastfeeding families.

Ready to go?

To access my charting templates, check out my training modules:

I'm also available for one-on-one phone and email consultations if you still need help deciding or want additional training and support for your specific situation.


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About the Author

Annie Frisbie, MA, IBCLC is the creator of the IBCLC Private Practice Essential Toolkit, a collection of books, resources, legal forms, training manuals, and workbooks aimed at helping private practice lactation consultants build a private practice that’s ethical, profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable.