You pay for a service, not a product, and access the system through the Internet. The result, a CEMS system for multiple users at a lower cost. No servers, no upgrades, you pay as you go. Just plug into a phone jack and you’re off, according to the promise of ASPs, providing you have a fast ’net connection and the ASP stays in business. Here are the ups and downs of the latest Web craze.
From the world of ‘what’s next’ in clinical engineering management software comes a new service based solely on the Internet, but will customers jump on the bandwagon, and even more iffy, can CEMS companies make any money with these products?
The time is nigh when old notions of acquiring clinical engineering management software will require scrutiny. The reason? The Application Service Provider (ASP) model. Just like buying cable for your home, ASPs use hardware and wiring components that you don’t own or maintain, located at a remote site that you can’t visit. You pay for a service, not a product, and connect to the system through the Internet. The result, a CEMS system that is accessible anywhere by multiple users at a lower cost. Just plug into a phone jack and you’re off, according to the promise of ASPs.
What sounds like no-lose proposition is fraught with pretty big issues for both the biomed and the software companies. Do you trust the Internet’s reliability? Do you trust having your data on every defib and X-ray machine residing on computers that are thousands of miles away and may be operated by a company that you don’t even know the name of? Most of the CEMS vendors interviewed for this story acknowledge that the fear/comfort factor is a mighty obstacle for the ASP model to overcome.
Right now, few companies offer ASP options for CEMS. That may change quite a bit in the next six months and quite dramatically in the next year. While you’re sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens, here are a bunch of things to think about, and some criteria to insist upon should you take the ASP route.
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