Medical Billing- Cloud Based EMR Systems

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As part of your decision about an EMR purchase, now you have to determine if you want a client-server based or a web-based system.

A client-server based system is the one that we are the most accustomed to. You buy a server, purchase a license for the EMR software which you then install on that server.

Web-based systems (also called cloud computing or cloud based), are becoming more prevalent. This is where you pay a monthly subscription fee to access the EMR system. You do not purchase it. Nor do you need to purchase a server. (Applications that work like this include Salesforce and QuickBooks online.) These are known as SaaS (Software as a Service).

Your information is often stored across a network of data centers. As such, it is said to be hosted in the “cloud.” The information is in no one particular place at any time.

In fact, if you are using a centralized data center and using it across the many locations of your WAN (Wide Area Network) you are using a type of cloud computing. The difference is that there is a direct connection to the network. A truly web based system stores and recalls data across the internet.

Using a web-based EMR, smaller practices can obtain the full benefits of automation

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Web-Based EMR Systems

The advantage of web-based EMR systems include:

  • Less up-front costs (no license, or server to purchase)
  • No server hardware to buy and maintain
  • HIPPA regulations may be easier to meet with a cloud computing host
  • Vendor must meet the meaningful use requirements
  • Can access the information anytime and from anywhere
  • Very effective for small group practices
  • Security measure are usually more sophisticated

Disadvantages are:

  • Limited customizability
  • Host controls your data
  • Patient information may be compromised if it gets in with other vendor clients
  • More expensive over a period of time
  • If you have limited internet options, this may not be a  viable solution
  • Slower response time accessing information across the web

Healthcare applications are headed to the clouds. New applications and releases from software companies are being developed as cloud-based alternatives. In fact, many EMR vendors offer their products as both cloud and client server based.

To decide which is best, crunch the numbers like you might if you were deciding whether to lease or buy an automobile.

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