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Patient management software:  cloud or hosted?..

In today’s marketplace, dental practitioners are faced with so many choices and decisions to make as to the best way of running their practice, and which tools can assist them.  

One of these crucial decisions is which patient management software to use. You know you need something, but it can come in so many forms today – from paper diaries and pen to an array of IT suppliers – who all claim to be the best.  Cut through the jargon and the sales ‘chat’, and you may be left with questions such as; What are the key differences between the different types of software? Can software really make an impact on how you run your practice?

Here we discuss the difference between cloud-based software, onsite and hosted software.

Firstly, what exactly are the definitions for these types of software?

The simple definition of cloud-based software is: “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or personal computer”.  The definition of onsite and hosted software it is: “software that is installed, hosted and accessed entirely from a physical server – onsite or remote”.

The definitions are clearly very similar, so can they really be that different?  The answer is yes, there are some distinct and important differences.

Onsite hosted or hosted software are solutions where a provider hosts the physical server running the service onsite at the practice or elsewhere. Access to this service is usually provided through a direct connection onsite or over the internet.   In order to use this type of software, you may have to install certain specification PC’s and hardware to use. It may also have implications for the operating system that you have and require investment in an expensive server in order to host the software.

Special IT equipment, maintenance and regular updates can increase your monthly outgoings financially and also in terms of the work needed to maintain the system out of hours and the staffing resource needed for this to happen.  This will eat into your own time when you should be at home after surgery or it could interrupt your day and the time you do have to spend treating patients.

A cloud-based service is accessible over the internet – but all similarities end there!  Cloud based software is born in the cloud and built to be used with the internet and to interconnect with other collaborative tools, with many applications today being developed with the cloud in mind.  The software lives on multiple servers stored on multiple sites, known as multi-tenancy. By using a cloud solution, all customers are accessing the same software from the same cloud.

You don’t require specific hardware or devices, you just need access to the internet and a browser, such as Google Chrome, which means there are some cost savings for your business, in that you don’t need complicated IT systems to run your patient management software.

Data back-ups and upgrades with onsite or hosted software can often mean rotating external hard-drives or data tapes or installing an upgrade on every user’s PC.  It can be time consuming and painful! Cloud-based software is simple to update, it can be done at any time without interruption to you. Upgrades happen instantaneously and without the hassle of hosted software that sometimes endures arduous updates that can take hours to finish! In addition, it is automatically backed up several times daily, so you don’t have to worry about data loss.    

Dentally is the UK’s leading cloud dental software.  It has been designed in collaboration with dentists across the UK to create a hassle-free experience that will allow dentists to work from anywhere, streamline their practice and free up valuable time. To find out more about how Dentally can work for you and to chat to our team about your requirements, simply email

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