EMR Software: How to Purchase the Right EMR for Your Business

When a medical practice decides it’s time to invest in new electronic medical records software, they must first decide how it will be hosted. There are EMR databases that the medical practice houses, and there is Web based software that the medical software companies host. The EMR databases hosted by the software companies are also referred to as ASP, or application service providers. Electronic medical records software that the medical practice can host itself will either be kept on their hard drive or a network server. This type of electronic medical records software gives the practice total control, and usually offers more features. The drawback with the in-house EMR databases is that the medical practice must handle the security and data backup on their own, which requires more work from the staff. With ASP Web based software, both the application and data reside within the medical software companies.
Medical practice staff can access the servers over the Internet through a web browser or specialized client software. The main advantage is that the EMR is maintained by IT professionals who work for the medical software companies. Firewalls and security, uninterrupted power supplies, and complete backup systems ensure that electronic medical records software and data will always be secure and available. The biggest risk of Web based software is that they require a broadband Internet connection at all times. Since no Internet connection works 100 percent of the time, staff may not always be able to access the electronic medical records software. These types of outages are rare, but always possible. In-house electronic medical records software is much more familiar to most users, and it is probably the most popular. The Web based software is, however, gaining popularity, particularly among smaller practices. A smaller medical practice with fewer funds may decide that the pricing of the Web based software is more advantageous. Those who choose in-house electronic medical records software will pay a larger amount up front to buy and set up the system, including software and servers. With Web based medical software, the payment includes a smaller setup fee and ongoing monthly payments based on usage. A medical practice that has in-house staff with computer expertise may decide that an in-house EMR system is the best option. The medical practice should make sure to involve all of the staff in the purchasing decision. Smaller practices with little to no computer expertise are probably better off choosing ASP electronic medical records software.