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Practice management software options – explained

Person comparing software options typing at computer

Choosing the right practice management software for your practice can be overwhelming – so we’ve prepared this guide to walk you through your options.

At a simplified level, there are three main types of practice management software: desktop, hosted and cloud. Choosing the right software will depend on your practice’s workflows, how long your practice has been in business, how many practitioners you have, if you have a mixed practice, and your needs for flexibility. We’ll discuss the differences of these options below.


Cloud-based software is a modern and increasingly popular option for managing specialist medical practice. You will pay a subscription to use cloud software available online, accessible via your browser, and hosted on a server owned and managed by your software vendor. They will manage the server infrastructure, security, data integrity, backups and updates for you.

Not all cloud software is created equal, there are terms such as true cloud and middleware you should be aware of. If cloud software is not true cloud, you may still need to install applications on your computer to use it which means you won’t benefit from the same flexibility as you will with true cloud software, like Gentu.

Read more about true cloud and middleware.

Who’s right for cloud software?

If your practice is new and just getting started cloud practice management software like Gentu is probably the right fit because it’s easier to get up and running and ongoing IT maintenance costs are reduced. Cloud software can also work for more established practices, especially if you need to be able to work from home or a variety of clinic locations.

Read more about the benefits of the cloud.

Desktop (on-premises)

Desktop software is installed on stand-alone Windows or Mac desktop computers or laptops, and is usable without an internet connection. You’ll generally pay the cost of your desktop software and associated licences up-front and manage a physical server or servers, data back-ups and upgrades on your own or with the help of an IT adviser. You will likely need to employ a third-party IT provider to set up your hardware and help you manage your data. 

Who’s right for desktop software?

Your required workflows will often help you decide between cloud and desktop. In many cases desktop software has been around for longer so may have deeper functionality than some cloud products. Keep in mind, you will most likely need to budget for an IT provider to help you with server, software and hardware maintenance if opting for desktop. For example an IT provider may be needed to upgrade all your computers to the latest software version, which can be costly if you have a lot of licences.

Hosted (desktop software but hosted elsewhere)

A hosted solution means your desktop software is accessible in a cloud environment dedicated exclusively to your practice, via servers hosted and managed by an IT provider (in most cases). It’s a way of making desktop solutions more accessible and flexible, while reducing the hardware your practice will need to have on-site.

Who’s right for hosted desktop software?

If you want to use desktop software, like Genie, but want to have a little more flexibility of how it’s accessed then hosted can be a great option. You will still need to budget for assistance from an IT provider, however, as the IT provider will host your software off-site, it can be easier for them to run updates for you after hours as they won’t need to visit your physical location.

If you have any questions about these practice management software options please contact us, or to test out our true cloud software for yourself – request a demo of Gentu.

Read more of our new to private practice series below:

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