Electronic medical records

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When buying electronic medical record (EMR) software, which is the best ASP or client / server? Unfortunately, there is no right answer. You will need to decide what is important to your practice and what is not. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each model so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase an EMR software solution.

ASP is a remotely hosted software system accessible through an Internet web browser, similar to the model used in online banking. This remotely hosted system is accessible by paying a rental or service fee. The server is secure and HIPAA compliant and is not in your office. All technical aspects of the server are managed by a professional IT company, and you pay a monthly (or per event) access fee for that IT company’s services. The cost of an ASP based system is relatively low at the start, however because the fees never stop the cost in the long run add up and are generally more expensive than using a client / server system.

One of the other advantages of the ASP based system is that almost all the computation is done on the remote server thus reducing the minimum hardware requirements required on clients / workstations. ASP allows you to access all your information anytime, from any location with internet access. Like all comparisons with advantages come disadvantages. Loss of customization capacity; the host server is accessed by many different users.

While your data is secure, your individual personalized needs are not met as easily as you would like. One of the other drawbacks is that an ASP system does not move as quickly as a client / server system. This is an important factor to consider with point n ‘click intensive electronic medical record software, as vital time can be lost while waiting for data to be transferred over the Internet; these seconds can quickly add up to minutes and hours of a few weeks. Liability issues are a deep consideration for ASP. The degradation of the company’s services is felt more acutely and things like the bankruptcy of a supplier could have a more drastic impact on the practice as a whole. Periodically check the stability of the EMR software vendor and request a backup copy of your data for your own records.

Client / server models allow faster response times in the application because data from server to client is transmitted much faster (typically 100 Mbits / second). New client / server products developed in Java and Microsoft .Net are able to offer the “best of both worlds” as they have the speed of a local system and accessibility from a remote location. Where traditional client / server products required practices to use MS Terminal services or Citrix technology to access their data remotely, these newer systems are accessible from any Internet browser. Client / Server also has the advantages of practicing controlling your data. However, with this control comes responsibility; the responsibility to be responsible for your data as you are now at risk of theft, fire, hard drive failure and data corruption.

Many IT futurists see ASP-based systems as the future, but many offices feel they don’t need remote access and don’t want to put their data in the hands of another company, making client / server systems an ever popular option. In most cases, if an office has multiple locations, an ASP system should always be considered, but if an office requires high performance and does not have multiple locations, the client / server system may be the best option. Talk to your IT consultant and software vendor to get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

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