Hosted or Server EHR – Which is Best?
In general, a hosted (Software-as-a-Service, or web based EMR) system hosted by an ASP (application service provider or data center) has a smaller upfront cost. This is because you are basically leasing software licenses on a subscription basis. Hosted systems are also referred to as Saas (Software-as-a-Service), or Web-Based. These terms (ASP, Web-Based, Saas, and Hosted) are generally interchangeable for the purposes of our discussion.
Web-based EMR systems appeal to medical practices that wish to save on the upfront costs and hardware requirements of a client/server architecture, and prefer to make smaller payments indefinitely. You might compare a hosted EMR to a Server-Based EMR as you might leasing vs. owning a vehicle.
Protect your Investment: Choose an EMR that can be hosted remotely or onsite
MDS Medical can help implement the award-winning Greenway PrimeSUITE integrated EMR and practice management software in a number of ways, depending on your needs and specific situation. You can always change your delivery model.
- Hosted SaaS EMR – For MDS, this means that your Greenway installation is hosted by MDS Medical, in our data centers, on MDS servers. Redundant data center and remote backups are performed constantly by MDS, and physical security is ensured by a multi-layered access protocol.
- Server Based EMR – For us, this means that your Greenway installation is housed on your servers, at your location. Physically securing your servers and performing regular backups are your responsibility. MDS offers mdsBACKUP – automated cloud backup of Greenway PrimeSUITE data so you do not have to worry if you are getting daily backups, the biggest concern when you maintain your own onsite server.
- Server Colocation – You can also host your Greenway installation on your servers in our data center. This enables you to use, control, and maintain your own equipment, but ensures high speed data delivery and physical security of your servers. This service is performed through mdsHOSTING.
Why should we choose an EHR that can be used as a hosted or server-based system?
If your needs change, or your vendor doesn’t deliver on system speed or uptime promises, you can modify the delivery model. By purchasing an EHR that can only be delivered as a web-based system, you are at the mercy of your vendor’s promises of system speed and uptime. If you experience unacceptable slowness or downtime that your vendor is unable or unwilling to resolve, you have few options aside from switching systems altogether.
Additionally, if your practice grows and speed of data access is a chief consideration, you may elect to move to a client/server model. Alternatively, if you begin as a client/server installation but no longer wish to maintain hardware or backups on site, you can move from a client/server system to a web-hosted system if you’re using Greenway PrimeSUITE.
When Vendors Outsource EHR Hosting
Some EHR vendors choose to outsource their hosting responsibilities, requiring you as the customer to navigate multiple vendors to identify and resolve performance and speed issues.
With MDS, customers can easily and quickly switch from a hosted version to a client/server version since we do not outsource hosting of Greenway PrimeSUITE data. Our deep understanding of PrimeSUITE and how upgrades affect its speed and performance enables us to optimize and modify our hosting and delivery model constantly as PrimeSUITE evolves.
A key difference in the up front cost for an EMR is the substantial hardware requirements that are typically associated with client/server installations.
Considering both options? Have your I.T. firm, or MDS Medical evaluate your existing hardware to help determine if a client/server or ASP installation makes more financial sense. Review Greenway PrimeSuite hardware specifications.
Hosted EHR vs. Server-Based EHR
A Hosted EMR should have a lower upfront cost. Fewer hardware requirements reduces cost of system implementation. Is susceptible to internet connection disruptions, so T-1 line is absolutely essential. Still, a hosted system is generally a bit slower than if the server was housed at your facility.
Client/Server licenses are a finite software investment. Aside from recurring annual maintenance, you will not need to continue making payments on the software licenses. Increased speed and system performance as opposed to an ASP. You can continue to work and document encounters even if your internet is down. However, you will need to be rigorous about securing your servers and ensuring data backups are occurring.
Web-Based EMR Software
- MDS hosts the system in our secure data centers, and your clinical and administrative staff simply accesses the system through a web-browser or any mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) through mdsCONNECT.
- Ability to access your system from anywhere at anytime with a SaaS model.
- Cost of web-based system is lower in the beginning, but payments continue indefinitely (again, think about leasing a new car every 3 years) so over time the cost is generally higher than a Client/Server system that you own.
- Hardware requirements are fewer with an hosted system – a web-browser and a decent workstation is pretty much all that you need to get up and running.
- One potential disadvantage of a hosted system is that it is not immune to technical disruptions such as internet outages, line failures, etc. Should you have an interrupted internet connection for any reason, you will not be able to access your billing or patient charts via your networked workstations. Additionally, some EMR vendors outsource hosting to 3rd parties and have little control over system slowness problems that can occur. So, “technical support” for system slowness issues may not be handled through normal typical support channels, delaying or preventing resolution of the problems.
- Your practice does not need to worry about data backup, physical security, or disaster recovery of your EMR, as MDS’s IT department does that for you.
- Your practice owns the software and the licenses, and you host the system in your office on your own server(s).
- Access your EMR software from anywhere at anytime using remote connectivity configurations – so this is essentially the same.
- Cost of a Client/Server EMR is higher in the beginning due to increased hardware requirements, hardware installation costs, and the cost of purchasing the software licenses. Over time, however, the cost may be less than leasing SaaS licenses.
- You probably will realize increased speed and performance of your system when it’s at your facility, particularly if you do not have guaranteed bandwidth on your internet connection.
- You will need to contract with the MDS I.T. department or your own I.T. vendor to ensure that your system is backing up and disaster recovery procedures are in place.
How Do We Choose the Best Option For Our Office?
It truly depends on your budgetary constraints and your comfort level with the different platforms – and knowing the pros and cons of each. If your capital expenditure budget is small but your operational budget has more flexibility, perhaps a SaaS model might be a good fit. However, if speed and 100% reliability is a key issue, a Client/Server model may be a better option.
Please contact us with your questions – we’d be happy to help you weigh your options! Call 1-800-494-3188 to talk with someone right away, or complete the form below and we’ll call you quickly.