Nitin Chhoda shares the advantages and disadvantages of a web-based and server-based electronic medical records. These two types of physical therapy documentation can be very useful depending on the needs of the practice.
Many offer similar features but perhaps the interface is better or worse depending on the development.
For most physical therapy documentation and practice management professionals, the decision will take some time to make and there will be a lot of factors to weigh.
One decision you can make up front so that your field of options is narrowed is to decide whether your practice will benefit from a web-based EMR or an in-house server-based EMR.
Pros of Web-Based EMRs
Web-based EMRs offer a number of benefits that help make the decision easy for some practices. First of all, investing in an EMR that has consistency and has been road-tested feels safer and more secure.
Web-based physical therapy documentation solutions will operate from the cloud, meaning that all of the information is stored in more than one place. You never have to worry about the server going down if the EMR company offers the highest quality of services.
Additionally, the cost and headache of maintaining a system is handled by the EMR company. Your physical therapy documentation software is maintained and updated, while the servers are well taken care of by the best IT professionals of the provider.
Pros of Server-Based EMRs
On the other hand, an in-house server gives you the control and comfort of knowing that your physical therapy documentation is right where you want it to be. You can get a back-up server to protect from down time and you can probably find a reasonable IT company that can maintain your server for you. In-house servers will be faster and will never rely on the Internet to be usable.
For large practices, a server-based physical therapy documentation EMR is usually a better option, because the costs of maintaining the system are much more reasonable compared to the benefit of having a slightly faster and more capable system.
For a smaller office, the cost of maintaining a physical therapy documentation server in-house may seem prohibitive.
Even if you could work out a cheaper system in-house, you still have the stress and headaches of dealing with problems and ensuring that the system is secure and always working correctly.
With HIPAA and the HITECH Act, there are more and more physical therapy documentation regulations that will be enforced, which dictate exactly how secure your server must be. A small office will put in a significant investment for only minor gains with an in-house server.
But a web-based server does rely on the Internet, so there will be infrastructure choices to make. The downside of a web-based solution is that you may end up paying a monthly fee for a slightly slower service that is not as snappy.
But your physical therapy documentation staff may or may not notice the difference, and the convenience of portability cannot be undervalued. Figuring out which system is best for your practice will be the big challenge.