Technology moves at lightning speed, and that leaves many EMR systems looking outdated and cluttered with burdensome processes—at best. That said, one technology model rises above the rest in the physical therapy EMR game: SaaS, or software as a service. TechTarget defines SaaS as “a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.” In the EMR market, SaaS vendors are improving software implementation, updates, and usability while addressing customer needs quickly and consistently.


When you use a server-based EMR, getting up and running means going through a strict, inflexible implementation process. While some EMRs on the market today still require practices to jump through tons of hoops just to get started, cloud-based EMR systems are doing things differently. Thanks to the SaaS model, users can start using the software after a short setup period. This typically involves configuring settings and/or importing data. The best part? The implementation process now fits provider’s schedules—not the other way around. Now, practices can get going with their new EMRs faster than ever before, all while experiencing minimal disruption to their operations—and their cash flow.


The process of updating cloud-based EMRs also has greatly improved. Now, updates can occur as frequently as multiple times a day. That way, everyone always has the latest version of the software—without the inconvenience of manual upgrades. Moreover, changes are made more incrementally, which minimizes disruption to users and makes it easier for them to learn and adapt as the software evolves. Another plus: Providers aren’t responsible for managing the updates. As this Handshake article highlights, “Under the SaaS model, since the software is hosted by the vendor, they take on the responsibility for maintaining the software and upgrading it, ensuring that it is reliable and meeting agreed-upon service level agreements, and keeping the application and its data secure.”


Modern SaaS vendors improve EMR usability through thoughtful iterations that greatly increase system customization. Additionally, the SaaS model allows applications to adapt to the device each person is using, thus ensuring the most important functionality is available in the right context. Any iPad fans out there? Well, thanks to cloud-based technology, your EMR can adapt to your favorite device. Finally, as this TechSoup article points out, increased usability of SaaS technology eliminates the need for a robust IT team because cloud-based software systems “generally don’t require specialized knowledge for day-to-day operation and maintenance.”


So, what EMR system is smarter, faster, and better than ever? One that uses a technology-focused SaaS model that offers superior usability, automatic updates, and simple implementation.