What is Web-Based EMR?
In the past few years, the prevalence of web-based EMR and cloud-based applications in healthcare has expanded rapidly. But, what is cloud computing and how does it apply to the medical practice and EHRs? For practical purposes, web-based EMR describes a situation in which the software you are using and applicable data is accessed via the Internet. Programs or data are not on your computer or local network in your office. Most EHR vendors now offer Software as a Service (SaaS) or Application Service Provider (ASP) versions of their EHR systems as an alternate to more traditional software solutions.
These solutions are gaining traction among practices as they reduce the upfront costs and require less to no technical support than their client-server counterparts. If you are considering or currently use a web-based EMR solution, consider the following:
- You will only be able to access the system and your data when connected to the Internet. While high speed Internet is now more reliable than ever before, I suggest having a backup.
- Updates and upgrades are managed by your web-based EMR vendor according to a system upgrade schedule. This can be a good and bad thing, considering that while you don’t have to worry about updates, at the same time, you will not be able to uninstall features or upgrades you don’t like from your web-based EMR.
- Some vendors sell patient de-identified data, especially the Free ones. Are you comfortable with it?
- If you switch vendors, will the old vendor give you the data? If so, is it in the contract? What format? Will there be an extra charge? Is this charge established upfront?
Overall, I believe that web-based EMR solutions offer a very effective option for many practices, especially small medical practices. However, ensure that you do your homework.