EMR systems can either be built using an on-site computer server or via internet-based access to a “cloud” service. Choosing EHR software with the systems architecture that fits your practice is important.
EMR systems can be built using an onsite computer server providing central storage of records, and some providers find this preferable, since they feel more comfortable meeting their HIPAA security obligations when they are in control of the underlying data and storage systems. However, a client /server system such as this requires that providers maintain and upgrade these systems as needed to keep them fully functional.
Web or cloud-based architectures are often referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems, since the application logic, programs and patient data are accessed remotely via the internet. In these EMR systems, security provisioning and system maintenance is assumed by the SaaS vendor, and many health care providers prefer the fact that these tasks are taken care of remotely. The quality and consistency of internet access can be a determining factor for these systems, since they provide limited functionality when disconnected from the web-based server.