Purchasing software? Fastrack sweetens the pot

Monday, April 26, 2010

HME providers these days ask themselves this question more and more: Should I use Internet-hosted software, or keep my billing system in-house. For these providers, Fastrack Healthcare Systems has an offer. The company’s new convert-to-purchase program allows a provider to start out on Fastrack’s Internet hosted product, which offers integrated billing, operational and clinical software. At any time, the customer can bring the system in-house if they find that method meets their needs better. HME News recently talked to Fastrack President Spencer Kay about how Internet-hosted and in-house software stack up.

HME News: First, how did you come up with this idea?

Spencer Kay:  Because we offer both options, providers ask constantly: How do I decide what is better for my business? We wanted to give them an incentive that eliminated the doubts and concerns. If they want to stay on the hosted model, they can stay indefinitely. But if their business changes, they have an option.

HME: What are the pluses and minuses of both systems?

Spencer: If you own the software, there are some very serious tax benefits. You can write off the purchase of the software very quickly, which helps reduce profits which helps reduce taxes at the end of the year. Owning the system also improves the value of your company. When you go to sell your business, the software is another asset as opposed to being a hosted model where it is just another expense.

HME: What are the benefits of a hosted model?

Kay:  If you go with a hosted model, you just pay a monthly fee, and that is an expense like paying an electric bill. There is no tax benefit to doing that. But there is less money upfront. You also have someone else doing the IT services. If you are in good financial situation, it is going to be easier to buy the system. If cash is tight, then hosting would be a better solution.

HME: What percentage of Fastrack’s customers use the hosted system?

Kay:  About 25%.

HME: Do you expect that number to grow?

Kay:  Very much so. It is a symptom of the economy, with people looking to cut costs. As they look at cutting IT costs, hosting is a way to do that.