A lot of times on the blog we talk about healthcare technology, and sometimes we might use terms that you aren't completely familiar with. So we want to take a step backwards and define a few of the terms that we use a lot to help keep everyone on the same page. No matter how much you research a topic, the learning can be endless when it comes to technical jargon. So we pulled a few optical software terms out of our latest eBook, A Complete Eyecare Practice Management & EHR Dictionary, to help give you a better foundation of understanding.
Client-Server software is any system where your server and data is housed locally, in your office. This type of software works by having two types of computers on the same network in your office. First, you have the server computer that contains all of the resources and communicates that information to other computers on the network. Then you also have the computers that are being communicated to by the server, which are the clients. So if you're using client-server software for practice management, the computers you use to access your system are the clients.
With a client-server system, you'll have full ownership of all the software and hardware, making it easy to access from your office. Managing a client-server setup yourself requires a good amount of technical knowledge. So, using a client-server software may require you to outsource your IT needs in order to set up, maintain, secure, and upgrade your hardware.
Client-server software also has to be in installed on each computer that will need to access the system. Which means, no accessing your system when you're out of the office (without the help of VPN software). Plus, you might have to purchase new licenses of the software for each computer, and make sure that you have time set aside to implement the upgrades when it's time to upgrade the software to the latest version.
In simple terms, the cloud is the Internet. And cloud-based software is a system you access via a compatible web browser over the Internet. Cloud-based software is super flexible because you can access your system from any device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) with an Internet connection whether you're in your office or not!
If you use a cloud-based software for your practice management and EHR system you have no servers to install or maintain in your practice, like you would with client-server systems. Instead, your cloud vendor hosts and manages your server offsite for you. And cloud-based software is built specifically for the Internet. So upgrades to your system happen automatically for all users at the same time, at no extra charge.
Cloud-Hosted software is a system that is hosted and managed offsite (like a cloud-based software), but you still rely on manual installation of the software and inflexible upgrades to the system (like client-server software).
There is a lot of confusion between cloud-based and cloud-hosted software. But the only real similarity is that your server is hosted and managed offsite by a cloud vendor. Which is a nice feature because is takes the IT burden that comes with maintaining a server off of your practice.
But, like client-server software, your cloud-hosted system will likely have to be installed on each computer you want to access it from, and it can be timely and expensive to make upgrades to your system.
We hope these simplified definitions give you a little more insight into optical software technology. And, these are just 3 of the 40+ words included in our dictionary. Check out the rest by downloading a copy today!