Which is the “right choice?” Unfortunately, there may not be an answer – but one might be better for your practice than the other.
When buying Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software system, which is better – ASP or Client/Server? Unfortunately there is no right answer. You’ll need to decide what’s important in your practice and what isn’t. In this article we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each model so you’ll be able to make an educated decision when the time comes to purchase an EMR software solution.
ASP is a remotely hosted software system accessed via an internet web browser. Similar to the model used in online banking, this remotely hosted system is accessed by paying a rental or service fee. The server is secure and HIPAA compliant and is not located in your office. All technical aspects of the server are managed by a professional IT company, and you pay a monthly access fee (or per occurrence fee) for the services of this IT company.
The cost of an ASP-based system is relatively low in the beginning; however, because the fees never stop, the cost over the long term adds up and usually ends up being more expensive than the total cost of a Client/Server-based system. One of the other benefits of the ASP based system is that almost all computing is done on the remote server, thereby reducing the minimum computer hardware requirements on the clients/workstations. ASP allows you to access all of your information at any time, from any place with internet access.
Like all comparisons, with advantages come disadvantages. Loss of customizability is one such issue – the host server is being accessed by many different users. Although your data is secure, your individual customized needs are not met as readily as you may desire. One of the other disadvantages is that an ASP system does not move as quickly as a Client/Server system. This is and important factor to consider with point n’ click intensive Electronic Medical Record software as vital time may be lost by waiting for data to transfer over the internet. These seconds can quickly add up to minutes and hours over a couple weeks time. Accountability issues are a deep consideration to ASP – company service degradation is felt more acutely and such things as vendor bankruptcy could have a more drastic impact on the practice as a whole. Periodically check the stability of the EMR software vendor, and ask for a backup copy of your data for your own records.
Client/Server models allow for quicker response times in the application, as the data from the server to the client is transmitted much faster – usually 100 Mbits/second. The newer client/server products developed in Java and Microsoft .Net are capable of offering the “best of both worlds”with both the speed of a local system and accessibility from a remote location.
Where traditional client/server products have required practices to use MS Terminal Services or Citrix technology to access their data from remote locations, these newer systems can be accessed from any internet browser. Client/Server also boasts the benefits of practice having the control over there data. However with this control comes responsibility; the responsibility of being responsible for your data as you are now open to the risk of theft, fire, hard-drive failure and data corruption.
Many IT futurists consider ASP based systems to be “the future.” However, many offices find they don’t have the need for remote access and don’t want to put their data in the hands of another company – making Client/Server systems still a 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 doesn’t have multiple locations the Client/Server system may be the better option. Speak with your IT consultant and the software vendor to get all the facts you need to make an educated decision.
You can find additional information about Electronic Medical Records as well as how to plan, purchase and implement and EMR in our Free EMR eBook.
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