Hosted or Server EHR – Which is Best?
In general, a hosted (Software-as-a-Service, or web based) 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. ASP systems also are referred to as Saas EMR (Software as a Service), Web-Based, or Hosted. These four terms (ASP, Web-Based, Saas, and Hosted) are generally interchangeable for the purposes of our discussion.
Electronic medical records ASP hosting models 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. Hosted EMR vs. Server-Based EMR delivery is akin to 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 either way. We can provide you a remote hosted model or Client Server solution at your location. When choosing medical software – most practices would be best suited to find an EMR that can be hosted both locally (client/server) or by the EMR vendor (ASP or web-based).
Why? If your needs change, you can modify the delivery model anytime. 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 no longer wish to maintain hardware or backups on site, you can move from a client/server system to a remotely hosted system.
A key difference in the up front cost for an EMR is the hardware requirements 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 – 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 daily.
ASP Hosted EMR Software (Web-Based Medical Software)
- MDS hosts the system in our secure data center, and your clinical and administrative staff simply accesses the system through a web-browser or mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android). Learn more about mobile EMR options for PrimeSUITE.
- Ability to access your system from anywhere at anytime with an ASP model.
- Cost of ASP 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 ASP system – a web-browser and a decent workstation is pretty much all that you need to get up and running.
- One potential disadvantage of an ASP 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.
- Your practice does not need to worry about data backup and disaster recovery of your EMR and billing systems, as MDS’s IT department does that for you.
Client/Server EMR System
- Your practice owns the software and the licenses, and you host the system in your office on your own server(s).
- Ability to access your EMR software from anywhere at anytime using remote connectivity configurations – so this is essentially the same.
- Cost of a Client/Server EMR system 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 ASP 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 an ASP 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.