Server Based EMR Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: September 26, 2023
Think Like an Expert: The Pros and Cons of Server Based EMR Software
The tech world, software, and automated features are quickly transforming society. No consumer or business functions the same as a few decades (or even a few months) ago. The drawback is that the many developments make it difficult to keep up.
What is really the best option these days?
A major debate rages between cloud-based and server-based systems. Here’s your first answer: No, there’s no easy answer about which type you should pick for your EMR software.
To make it easier we compiled a breakdown of server-based systems, to help you gauge the best manner of upgrading your practice in 2019.
Server Based System Defined
A server-based EMR software system will keep all your data hosted on land-based servers, physically stored on someone’s premises:
- You can use your own servers and all your data will be kept there. In these cases it’s usually your responsibility to maintain the servers, requiring expert IT personnel. You also need to protect your data against hacking.
- A service provider may have its own servers and you’ll ‘rent’ one of them (or space on one of them) to store your data, patient information and more. The service provider will take on the responsibility to ensure the servers function, downtime is kept to a minimum and there are proper security features in place.
Server vs Cloud-Based Systems: Is One Better?
In contrast, modern technology facilitates virtual servers that host your data on the ‘cloud’. This is a virtualized environment. It’s a popular option as users can often access the data from anywhere, as long as they have internet connections. This is different from server-based systems where you usually need to be connected to the network of which the servers are part.
A cloud-based system has many benefits, but even though this is the newer tech on the market, there are definitive reasons why many companies and medical practices still opt for server-based systems.
To help you decide which will work for you we discuss the advantages and disadvantages below.
Server Based EMR Software: Your In-Depth Look
As mentioned, this is a complicated aspect of software management at the moment. Below you’ll see how one feature may have both pros and cons.
Important note: Realize that you’ll take risks no matter which option you pick. Understanding the topic helps you pick one that contains the least number of risks for your setup and will ensure the most streamlined process in your practice.
This is one of the major reasons practices still pick this method: You don’t need an internet connection to ensure access to your data. This makes it possible to use advanced software even in remote areas.
Many experts are of the opinion that cloud-based systems are more secure. However, the nature of your data may prompt you to prefer keeping the information on-site, rather than sharing it to the cloud.
If data is corrupted or disappear, as long as you have a proper backup system, it should be easy to restore your practice to be fully functioning quite quickly. Some cloud-based systems can’t guarantee a quick recovery process.
You may prefer having full control of your system. If you use cloud-based systems you’re often forced to adhere to certain SaaS (Software as a Service) updates which you may not want. To retain control or enjoy certain customized features you may benefit from server-based programs.
Because you’re not dependent on internet speed—and especially if you use network cabling instead of wireless systems—you will enjoy fast information retrieval.
In many cases, the monthly premiums for this type of system are low (But also see below)
If you’re hosting your software on your own system it will require a huge initial capital investment. You need to purchase quality servers, ensure you have a backup system & get all hardware and cabling necessary.
In addition to initial costs, you’ll have monthly premiums, but if hosting it yourself you’ll also need expert IT personnel. This means your HR costs may be affected if you don’t have this in place already.
Space & Storage
All the hardware will need storage space which can make it an impractical option for practices operating out of small offices.
Depending on your infrastructure you may not be able to access the data from anywhere. This is a vital point to discuss with your vendor and if your work causes you to travel often, this can be frustrating.
It is susceptible to being hacked, making security features a huge expense. Although it’s easy to make backups, you also need to store a backup off-site to use in the event of data being destroyed or corrupted. This calls for regularly taking the data off-site to where you store it (e.g. in a safe) and creates a possible security risk whether you send it digitally or transport it physically.
Down Time & Asset Management
If your servers are faulty you’ll have downtime. Any physical damage or if security is breached can cause such a problem. When you use your own servers (not your vendors) you’ll have to manage the problem yourself, so you have no guarantee of how long downtime will be. Some vendors offer promises of limited downtimes.
Who Needs Server-Based EMR Software?
Based upon these facts it’s clear that server-based software caters to a niche group or people in unique circumstances:
- You’re in a remote area where there’s no, or no guaranteed, internet connection.
- You prefer that only you can have access to information, rather than uploading it to the cloud.
- Your budget guidelines match what server-based systems cost, rather than cloud-based premiums.
As with many software purchases, you need to find the product that works for your unique situation. Paying for features you won’t use, or that are impractical for your setup will be a waste of money.