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Why it is a good time to upgrade your Practice Management Software to the cloud

15th April 2022

Background to Legacy vs Cloud-based Practice Management Software

Back in the good old days, software had to be installed on a physical device, updates are sporadic and manually performed, data was locally stored in the machine. Any issue with the device could mean the loss of all your valuable data. Backup data was usually kept in separate hard disks at best, but still vulnerable to misplacement and theft. Such legacy software is no longer popular with the advancement of technology.

In recent times, software providers have moved to providing cloud solutions - leveraging on the fast connectivity and cheap cloud storage space. Most of the enterprise applications being used daily such as Gmail, Dropbox, Microsoft Office are notable examples.

Keeping up with the trends, providers of Practice Management Software (PMS), often used in clinics, have been also offering cloud versions of such software. If you have yet to adopt any one of them, find out what are the key differences!

Legacy Practice Management Software

The software is locally installed on a device, typically a computer or a server. Such software usually require a one-time upfront significant payment to the vendor, with possible costs for ongoing support and updates. The piece of software can serve the needs of your clinc, but it might be a struggle if you manage multiple clinics and need access to a common set of underlying data. Collecting bulk of the payment upfront by the vendor, also disincentivises the vendor from providing continuous improvements to keep the customer happy and satisfied.

Cloud-based Practice Management Software

It has been established that cloud solutions provide many benefits that eventually lead to increased customer satisfaction.

Having the software deployed on the cloud also gives you the ability to be flexible and scalable when you are looking to expand your clinic operations. Data can be accessed securely across multiple locations and this enables you to provide a seamless experience to your patients.

Key Considerations between Legacy vs Cloud-based Practice Management Software

  1. Software Upgrades
  2. Security
  3. Scalability
  4. Storage Backups

1. Legacy vs Cloud-based: Software upgrades

Unlike lump-sum payments to legacy software providers, cloud-based software providers typically operate a subscription-based fee model so that customers pay only for as long as they subscribed to the services. This strongly incentivises the software providers to continuously upgrade their software in order to stay competitive and relevant, ultimately to encourage their customers to renew the subscriptions.

In addition, the process to receive software updates for cloud-based software is made seamless over an internet connection. Minimal or no downtime is usually expected, or the update process can be scheduled to be performed during non-operating hours to minimise any disruption to your clinic operations. For example, Helm aims to roll out small bite-size updates regularly to provide you with new or improved features so that you can look forward to an improved product incrementally.

2. Legacy vs Cloud-based: Security

The provision of state-of-the-art infrastructure and hardware by the established cloud storage providers such as Amazon Web Services ("AWS"), Google Cloud Platform ("GCP") and Microsoft Cloud Services ("Azure"). The high cost of setting up and maintaining such infrastructure is being defrayed by the scale of which such cloud storage providers operate, and the use of their services allows you to benefit tremendously at your scale. Helm currently hosts data in multiple data centers and regions managed by AWS, which has been the long trusted cloud storage provider of big organisations like Pfizer, Unilever, Apple, and even the US Government agencies.

On top of that, having a cloud-based software allows for modifications to a user's access rights to be performed remotely and promptly should there be a lapse or attempted data theft be discovered. Helm takes it one step further - we have algorithms monitoring the logs, and we will send you alerts should we discover possible breaches.

3. Legacy vs Cloud-based: Scalability

Scaling up is usually not of an immediate concern when one is setting up the first clinic, but this will become a problem some day when you have an increased number of patients or when you are looking to open more clinics. Legacy software will not be able to provide you with the speed and capabilities of handling an increased volume and expanded geographical presence.

With a cloud-based software, your data can be easily accessed from multiple locations, and allow you to provide a seamless experience for your patients no matter which clinic of yours they show up at. Helm enables you to manage your multiple clinics with ease, regardless of the number of practitioners and staff users you have. To top it off, we have also factored in the relevant accounting considerations should you wish to operate the group as a single entity or multiple entities.

4. Legacy vs Cloud-based: Storage Backups

Data is one of the most important aspect in every business, and you would not want to have only one single copy of it in your system. This makes having backup copies of your data a necessity in the daily business operations. While legacy software allows you to make backup copies in separate hard disks, one cannot completely mitigate the risk of such hardware failures. Would you take the chance of your hard disks failing you even if this rate is as low as reportedly 1.01%?

Storage backups performed by cloud storage providers typically come with sophisticated mechanisms to ensure that multiple copies of each snapshot have been made and kept in one or more locations, and hence rarely subjected to any one single point of failure. Helm deploys a solution that has backup copies stored in different geographical locations to enable you to sleep peacefully at night even if one of the data centers were taken offline.

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