Client-Server Based EMR Or Web Hosted EMR - Which is Better?

By Alok Prasad

When faced with a choice between client-server based EMR and a web-based or hosted EMR system, what would be the better choice for you?

In these tough economic times more and more physicians are finding themselves faced with this critical question that demands a decision.



For starters it is a good idea to make sure that we understand what both terms mean. Client-Server based EMR systems are the most popular and this is where the program is hosted on the provider's site. On the other hand a ASP or web-based EMR system as the name suggests is hosted by a third party on the web.

Actually both systems have their pros and cons which a physician must examine closely so as to be able to make an informed decision.

There is no doubt that you will always have much more control with a client based EMR system. It is faster and you do not have to rely entirely on the Internet to access your patient data. However there is a price to pay and it starts with the much higher upfront investment you will have to make to purchase a server and the software outright. Moreover remote access to your EMR records when you are away from the clinic is limited and usually much more complex than the case would be with a web based system.

On the other hand, a web based electronic medical records system means that your costs reduce dramatically. Not only for the initial setup but also in terms of maintenance because IT professionals belonging to the hosting vendor will maintain it and you have no costs in that regard. Not to mention the online back-up service that is available for you to enjoy. And then you can always access your data from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection which has to be one of the greatest pluses a web based system has.

But in this greatest strength also lies its major weakness. And that is the fact that your access is totally dependant on an internet connection meaning that access in certain areas will just not be possible. Then there are the usual risks that go with web based systems. For instance your data could end up being completely inaccessible in the event that the online company hosting it goes belly up.

All these factors have to be weighed and taken into consideration before you make a decision. It will depend a lot on your practice, what you want to do with it and of course the available budget.

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