Electronic health records (EHRs) can improve the efficiency of an independent practice, enabling physicians and patients to access relevant medical information seamlessly. The independent physician is able to use EHRs to coordinate care for the patient as well as provide a communication tool for secure messages between the patient and physician. EHRs can be cloud-based or server-based. What are the advantages of cloud-based EHRs?
Essentially, the advantages for independent practices are focused on cost and convenience. The “financial outlay” for cloud-based EHRs is “is less than those associated with traditional EHR systems and their servers,” according to an article in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC). The article explains that “Initial outlay and systems set-up costs for a traditional system installation and implementation can include a number of expenditures for maintenance, software, updates, and licensing fees.”
Additionally, regular maintenance and management from a local IT department is needed. In contrast, cloud-based EHR systems are already established by a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, meaning the expense of money and time diminishes dramatically.
Security issues around the patient data are also minimized with a cloud-based EHR solution. As the server is created and managed by the provider, this means that the vendor is more likely to meet HIPAA patient information confidentiality standards. This makes future expansions of a practice an easy task rather than a complete overhaul of the system.
The convenience of a cloud-based system manifests itself in the independent physician’s ability to access patient data from virtually anywhere. AJMC further explains that the physician has the “capability of logging on with any device and anywhere an Internet connection is provided. Collaboration, interoperability, and data-sharing are made easier, ensuring greater continuity of care.”
Technology changes rapidly; however, since cloud-based systems are operated by external SaaS providers, practices utilizing these systems can be assured that they are always operating on up-to-date servers. There is no need for installing updates manually, as is the case with server-based systems.
Cloud-based EHRs offer a range of advantages for independent physicians who would rather focus on patient care instead of having to worry about hardware and software issues.