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Server-based vs. Cloud-based vs. SaaS Computer Services

When it comes to hosting your Electronic Medical Records, Practice Management, and/or Billing software solutions, you essentially have three options:

  • Server-based
  • Cloud-based
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

While all three options basically “do” the same thing, there are some very important differences between them. Here’s a basic breakdown of each service to help you decide which one is right for your practice.

Server-based ServicesCloud-based Services – Typically Web BasedSaaS – Typically
Agent Based
Located on-siteLocated off-siteLocated off-site
Hardware-basedInternet-basedAgent-based (remote access through cloud clients)
Large technical requirements (capacity to run Operating System, hold all data, provide data back-up, secure network, etc.)Smaller technical requirements (“instant” connectivity)Smaller technical requirements (need Internet connectivity)
Lengthy set-up for “go-live”No set-up; “instant” connectivityMinimal set-up for “go-live”
Maintenance upgrades (network, operating system, equipment) performed by an IT technician on-siteMaintenance upgrades performed automatically by hosting agent off-siteMaintenance upgrades performed automatically by hosting agent off-site
Must purchase software licenses for every userLicensing built into monthly costsLicensing built into monthly costs
Must replace/upgrade equipment every 5 yearsUpgrades made automatically by hosting siteUpgrades made automatically by hosting site
Full compatibility with hardware, software, and operating systemsCompatibility based on site access requirements (typically browser related)Compatibility based on connection agent
Buy outright ($$$$$)Subscription / pay-per-use ($)Subscription / pay-per-use ($)

IT experts with your selected solution can provide more in-depth information on each of the three services and how they’ll integrate into your specific practice.

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