Electronic Medical Billing Software – Client-Server Versus Application Service Provider

Electronic medical billing is an automated method of managing document and billing flow. Electronic billing makes the whole process of billing more easy and manageable. It also provides substantial clinical care, financial, practice workflow, and observance benefits to doctors, insurance companies, and patients.

Rapid development is a salient feature of technology. According to a survey last year there were eighteen new items presented by vendors of electronic medical record and billing systems, eighteen new items split between Application Service Provider (ASP) solutions and Client Server (CS)-based technologies. Some features of Client Server and ASP architecture are given below:

The Client Server Architecture

Internet revolves around the client-server architecture. Where your computer is the client and it interacts with different servers located at remote locations. The client is usually a browser; Browsers interact with the server using a set of instructions called protocols. These protocols help in the accurate transfer of data through requests from a browser and responses from the server.

Client/Server models allow for quicker response times in the application as the data from the server to the client is transmitted much faster (usually 100 Mbits/second). The newer client/server products developed in Java and Microsoft.Net are capable of offering the “best of both worlds” as they have the speed of a local system plus the accessibility from a remote location. The newer systems can be accessed from any internet browser. Client/Server also boasts the benefits of practice having the control over their data. However with this control comes responsibility; the responsibility of being responsible for your data as you are now open to the risk of theft, fire, hard-drive failure and data corruption.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using a client/server system

Advantages of Client/Server for EMR

– Overall operation is faster
– Better control over Data
– It is not dependent on Internet
– Better integration with imaging devices (scanners, printers) and on-site resources

Disadvantages of Client/Server for EMR

– It cost much more as you had to buy your own server and software.
– Product updates are usually required.
– You need 3rd party software for online backups.
– Don’t have more functionality to offer, if you have to access it remotely.

Application Service Provider Architecture

ASP architecture places the database server at some other end instead of the doctor’s office and allocates the majority of application logic to the server, reducing the amount of code needed to run on the client side. It allows users to interact with application directly via Internet browser, entirely eliminating the need for local office infrastructure and its management overheads. There is no need of any office infrastructure and management to handle the technical detail of the software because all of the technical things will be handled on the vendors end, centrally and they are going to responsible for everything including compliance, disaster recovery, installation, upgrades, backups, and restores.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using an ASP system include:

Advantages of using ASP for EMR

– Online backup service.
– Reduces the cost of maintenance as the technical details are handled by IT professional.
– You can access it from anywhere in the world all you need is a internet connection
– Cost less because u doesn’t have to hire any technical staff.

Disadvantages of using ASP for EMR

– You don’t control your data because it is not handled on your end.
– Risk of company not performing routine maintenance (backup, updates, and performance enhancements) as promised.
– Dependant on internet connection.

Purchasing the right software is the most important thing to be considered. As we all know new things just keep on adding in the software even after purchasing, it will be continuously modified as it is an emerging technology new features will be keep on adding. With the ASP model, the practice will access the new feature almost immediately upon release. The Client/Server software requires updates for the new features.

Electronic Medical Records is still in the early adoption phase by private practice physicians. So far at this point, there is not a single model to lead. Only time will tell. However, with the ability to look at our past and the direction that major companies such as Microsoft are heading in, the signs are pointing to ASP.