Choosing an EHR for your practice is a major decision. It requires thorough research and consideration before you make that selection and pay for setup. You’ll also need to align your staff to get them on board with the new system, including training them so they can adapt and use it once it’s in place. One step in the decision-making process is to determine whether a cloud-based EHR or a server-based EHR will be the system best suited to accommodate your needs. To help you make that election, we have highlighted their differences below.
This EHR system is also recognized as a web-based EMR system and owes all of its functionality to a third-party server. That server stores all of the data coming through the EHR. Generally, the software for this EHR has to be purchased separately from the vendor, but its accessibility may vary depending on the package you opt for. Some vendors load this software partially onto the computers of their client practices, while others have unique web portals that allow complete access to the software according to the plan selected.
The cloud-based EHR has its pluses and minuses, though. It is highly suitable for small practices that opt for complete outsourcing of medical billing services. It also makes the deal a cost-efficient one for the smaller practices because they get the functionality of sophisticated software, as well as a comprehensive EHR without having to purchase the complete setup, expand to a larger office space, or employ IT staff for EHR management. Secondly, the cloud-based EHR can be accessed from any location in the world using any of the smart devices you have. It always has the real-time data available to you, which adds to workflow efficiency. As the entire setup is web-based, all your data is absolutely safe from being influenced by any environmental changes, natural disasters, etc. Even if the data is lost somehow, you can retrieve it from the cloud-based backups in no time.
However, on the downside, the cloud-based EHR depends solely on an Internet connection for its performance and functionality. If you have a stable Internet connection and high bandwidth available, then you are good to go with this option. Otherwise, this system can delay your operations and cause you more harm than good. Practices located in rural areas might find it difficult to access the Internet. So the cloud-based services are simply a no-go for them. Another important factor here is the reliability of the EHR vendor because you’ll be reliant on them for uninterrupted access to the data. So before choosing one, consider their credibility.
As the name indicates, this EHR system is based on a server or a group of servers, depending on the size of your practice, for storing all the data. These servers have to be installed within the practice and are managed by specialized staff. Also, the software required to make the system function has to be purchased and installed separately. The biggest advantage of this EHR system is that it gives you greater control over your data. If you have efficient servers and a secure internal network, then your server-based EHR will work wonders. You won’t have to depend on an Internet connection for the speed and accessibility, or on the vendor for the data access. You can smoothly upload/download files of any size whenever you want as there is no limit of speed or bandwidth. Moreover, the data security is ensured as long as the data remains within the premises of the practice.
However, an in-house server-based EHR will cost you much more than a cloud-based EHR. This is because it requires sophisticated hardware and software, dedicated office space, and specialized staff for its management, all of which incurs huge costs. The story doesn’t end there. There are other expenses, including hardware and software maintenance and updates that have to happen on a regular basis. Also, the staff has to be trained regularly regarding EHR updates.
Depending on your needs, either of these types of systems could offer you the right solution. While one is readily adoptable by small practices, the other seems more relevant to the bigger, more established practices. That being said, the decision depends on the particular requirements of your practice. So, it would be best to evaluate your practice needs before opting for a cloud-based or a server-based EHR system.