Choosing an EMR / EHR system is a challenging task. There are many factors of the EMR system to consider, including the system architecture of the software: web-based EMR or client/server EMR. One type of system architecture is not better than the other, however, one may be better for your particular practice. When selecting an EMR software, you will need to decide which type of system architecture is best suited for the needs of your practice and will complement your workflow.
The two types of system architectures are web-based and client/server. Web-based is also referred to as ASP (application service provider) or SaaS (Software as a Service). These three terms are generally interchangeable.
Web-Based, ASP, or SaaS Systems.
Web-based is a remotely hosted HIPAA-compliant software system that can be accessed through the internet. The server is not located on premise, but is kept in a secure area and managed by a professional IT company.
These IT companies charge a monthly fee to access the web-based EMR system. The monthly cost for an ASP system is usually low, but is charged for every month you use the system. This cost can add up to a substantial amount over time.
With ASP systems, you do not need a lot of computer hardware as the main servers are owned by the IT company. This saves space and upfront IT hardware costs.
Web-based systems also allows you to access your information anywhere via internet access. This allows your to work from various locations and retrieve your medical records or files at any time. The secure, off-site storage also protects your files from damage that may occur if your data were saved on-site.
The client/server model is a on-site or local system. The close proximity and direct connection allows the data from the server to be transmitted to the client at a much faster rate than a web-based system. This faster access may be important to your practice workflow.
Newer client/server systems allow the data to be accessed remotely via the internet, similar to an ASP system. However, the EMR data is saved to on-site servers. This increases your control over the data, but leaves you susceptible to data loss. The servers could be stolen or damaged by water or fire. Additionally, hard drive could crash or data could be corrupted.
Client/Server versus ASP EHR.
There are benefits and disadvantages to client/server and web-based EMR software systems. It is important that you select the EMR / EHR software system architecture that best fits the needs and workflow of your practice.