The terms “cloud-based,” “cloud software,” cloud-computing, in the cloud, and a bevy of other “cloud” related phrases have slowly permeated everyday language. In fact, many businesses have been using cloud-based platforms like MediTouch® for years, and only fairly recently have the industry giants, like Apple® and Amazon®, adopted the cloud-based language and software. But what does all this
terminology really mean? Essentially, all of the “cloud terminology” means the same thing – the software and associated files are stored on an off-site data server hosted by the software provider or another third-party, making all software and files accessible anywhere there is an internet connection; these days that’s just about everywhere.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems essentially fall into two categories: client-server or cloud-based. A cloud-based EHR system stores a practice’s data on external servers that can be accessed through any internet connection. On the other hand, client-based systems store data in-house, meaning a data server, hardware and software must be purchased, maintained, and stored directly in the physician’s practice. As a rule of thumb, anything “cloud” related applies to web-based software and file storage; the two terms are essentially interchangeable. While client-based EHRs used to be the norm, many practices are now converting to, or opting for cloud-based EHR offerings due to the many cloud-based EHR advantages.
Now that you have a better understanding of this cloudy terminology, you’re probably wondering what the advantage is to being “in the cloud?” While the terminology may be a bit convoluted, the utility, application, and overall advantages of cloud-based platforms and data storage are currently unparalleled.
Advantages of EHR Platform in The Cloud
The advantages of EMR software in the cloud are abundant. Not only are the benefits cost-based, but ease of use, convenience and better efficiency are also among the many advantages of EHR software in the cloud. Many of these advantages simply aren’t present in traditional EHR software systems.
- Implementation – Cloud-based EHR vendors, like MediTouch®, run and operate on the web, and can be accessed anywhere there is an available internet connection. This means there are no expensive data servers or other hardware to purchase and maintain. So the initial EHR implementation costs are kept to a minimum and physicians are able to use their systems sooner; with MediTouch EHR® you can begin charting the first day you log in.
- Cost Savings – While the initial implementation costs are kept at a minimum with cloud-based EHRs, the savings don’t stop after the system is installed. Instead of paying exorbitant maintenance costs to your vendor, licensing fees, and additional bills, for most cloud-based EHRs you merely pay a small monthly fee, like a utility bill, called Software as a Service (SaaS).
- Reduced IT Requirements – With no on-site data servers to purchase and maintain, and no IT consultants to pay, there are instant IT reductions from a client-based EHR. In addition, all files and software reside in the cloud, and any installation, migration, or updates are completed by the SaaS provider, with MediTouch® all are included as part of your subscription.
- Accessibility and Collaboration – With cloud-based systems, all data is stored on the web, so information can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection; allowing healthcare personnel and their patients to access records outside of the office. With a client-server system, data is only accessible in the office; so any access must be tethered to in-house hardware or routed through remote access software – think of an EHR crawling along at the speed of a remote application like WebEx® or Go-To-Meeting®.
- Safety and Security – Digital records are safer than their paper predecessors. Web-based, cloud EHRs are better than their client-server counterparts. Cloud-based systems must be HIPAA compliant with top-level data encryption, and in the event of a fire or catastrophic disaster, web-based data is stored in data centers at multiple locations with bank-level security; ensuring its safety and security. During the Hurricane Katrina floods, many practices with client-server systems suffered permanent, unrecoverable data loss due to their in-office system’s servers – with client-server systems, your patient data is only a disaster away from destruction. MediTouch EHR’s® cloud-based system is certified by the Drummond Group®, and accredited by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a group that audits compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- Scalability – Without the IT woes associated with client-server EHRs, practices large and small can easily use an Electronic Health Record. And, with a cloud-based EHR, adding more physicians or locations is simple, since there is no additional hardware to deal with. Thanks to web-based EHRs, like MediTouch®, small practices can now grow without massive expenses.
Lose the Tether and Join the Cloud
Most people already allow much of their sensitive data to be stored in the cloud, many without even knowing it; so the cloud is really nothing new or foreign. By alleviating cumbersome and costly client-server EHR systems, physicians are able to save money, time, and space. In addition, web-based, cloud EHRs provide better data accessibility and security. Cloud-based EHR systems seem like the obvious choice for any practice. Schedule a Demo Today and See What the Cloud Can Do for You