As a healthcare manager or administrator, you have the impression of how vital a web-based EHR system is. It’s becoming obvious that in order for practitioners to provide top patient care, increase patient engagement, and optimize workflow, the most effective EHR option is needed. But, are cloud-based EHRs really better, and can they help your particular practice?
Cloud-based Electronic Health Record systems offer large and small medical facilities exponentially reduced costs, reliable cost predictability, easy internal and external communication, and database flexibility. In addition, they come with a number of tools and features that optimize the workflow of all medical staff.
To learn more about the beneficial features and advantages of a cloud-based electronic health record system, and to learn what to consider when looking for one, read the information provided below.
Do Cloud-Based EHRs Benefit Your Practice?
Whether your facility is a small general practice or a major hospital, switching to a cloud-based electronic health record system is a beneficial move for you because it offers advantages to both scales of practitioners.
If your facility primarily performs physician practices or if it hosts the top neurosurgeons in the world, cloud-based EHRs have essential features for either scale facility to run at optimal efficiency. These features include, but are not limited to,
- Mobile access
- ONC-ATCB Certified
- Self Service Portal
- Meaningful Use Certified
- Speech-to-text tools
- Compliance Tracking
- Patient scheduling
- Customized dashboards
- Data tracking
- Data analysis
- Insurance eligibility check
Most EHR systems will have the option of being equipped with multiple software useful for all members of staff in any facility, such as medical billing, and revenue cycle management. Whatever your needs, there will be an EHR for you.
It’s crucial that you make sure that your organization is keeping up with daily backups of your data. This is something that you should talk to your IT team about. Do they have the resources/staff necessary to perform regular backups? These backups that are performed regularly should not only include full backups, but there should also be incremental backups performed. Incremental backups are backups that only will backup data that was recently updated since the last full backup.
It can also be a good idea for you to consider investing in a third-party organization that specializes in data storage and data backups so that this information can also be saved off-site. This will ensure that your data will be safe in cases of a natural disaster or some other event happening to your site. Even in these extreme moments, protecting patient data is essential. You just need to be sure that you only work with a reputable organization that has a good reputation for securing any data from any wrongdoers.
Advantages of Cloud-Based EHRs
In order to consider switching to a cloud-based EHR, you want to know if there are any advantages it has over the typical client-server EHR that will make the switch worthwhile. Here are just a few to think about.
Cloud-based record system computing, storage, and networking are all flexible, easily retrievable, and georedundant, meaning that the cloud-based system operates in more than one location so that if one should fail, there are the other sites to fall back on.
Whether your database needs to shrink or expand, the cloud-based EHR can accommodate the changes with minimal workflow interruptions. Since a health record system requires being refreshed routinely between 3-5 years, a system that is moldable and flexible to be whatever size you need instantly saves much time, money, and effort.
Reduction of Operating Costs
The biggest issue with on-premises client-server EHRs is how expensive they are. In addition to the upfront installation cost, managers would have to assemble and pay for a dedicated IT support team for the server, the necessary hardware and software, the process of scaling up the practice, upgrading the database, and routine security measures.
Cloud-based EHRs are operated and maintained by the 3rd party vendors, eliminating all of the aforementioned costs. Instead, they have a static subscription cost and maybe a minimal implementation fee.
Having this system will also reduce operating costs by saving medical staff time from doing tiresome paperwork that can get misplaced or buried. Efficient and effective EHRs are able to make routine tasks more efficient by simplifying the data collection and delivery processes by speeding up data entry and access.
Because the cloud-based system is so flexible, you only pay for the space you need instead of having to choose a plan with more space than you really want. There is no capital investment.
Because the client-servers were on-site and the setup of those servers was the responsibility of the manager, any setbacks and their costs were the manager’s responsibility also. This meant predicting the cost of IT staff, potential overtime, server crashes, virus protection, capacity upgrades, etc. was difficult at best, and impossible at its worst.
Since cloud-based systems are all operated and maintained by the vendors and any setbacks are their responsibility instead of yours, they eliminate the fear of unexpected costs. They also have a set price, allowing you to consistently know how much your EHR costs per month and plan accordingly
Finally, one of the greatest benefits of a cloud-based EHR is the fact that, for once, the vendors who offer and operate the EHR services are up-to-date on healthcare laws and HIPAA requirements. This means that you and your team can perform their daily tasks knowing their records are up to the standards set by HIPAA and can enjoy automatic compliance updates to the system so that the threat of a fine or being forcibly shut down is no longer over your head where your EHR system is concerned.
What to Know About Choosing a Cloud-Based EHR System
Are you excited about the web-based EHR systems yet? Great! Now you just need to know which one you need for your practice.
If you have a facility such as a hospital, primary care, physical therapy or chiropractic office, mental and behavioral health practitioner, medical equipment company, medical billing service company, or a specialty facility, there is a cloud-based electronic health records system for you.
When you are looking for one, determine what you want in terms of
- Integrations you need
- Time and complexity of implementation
- Ease of use
- Compatibility with your team’s workflow
- Customer service and support
- Review ratings
You also need to take into account the number of health providers you have in your practice so that you know what size plan you need from your potential EHR systems, and can more accurately compare the costs.
As you can see, switching to a cloud-based EHR will save you and your staff years of headaches and crippling expenses once everyone gets used to using a web-based system. Consider your needs carefully, and remember to give your facility time to implement the new system and adjust.