History of cloud-based EHRs

Cloud computing is a relatively recent development. Although the concept of cloud computing, as a way to connect multiple users who could access the same programs, was introduced in the 1960s, true cloud computing began around the turn of the 21st century. Cloud-based, or web-based, electronic health records (EHRs) have likewise only been implemented for use by the independent physician within the past few years.

As recently as 2015, researchers who published their findings in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health stated that “Even though cloud computing in healthcare is of growing interest only few successful implementations yet exist” and that “many issues of data safety and security are still to be solved.” The researchers recognized that the use of the cloud in the medical field promises “advantages in dynamic resources like computing power or storage capacities, ubiquitous access to resources at anytime from any place, and high flexibility and scalability of resources.”

Today, those concerns of data safety and security in cloud-based EHRs have been addressed. HIPAA regulations have been adjusted to include in its privacy regulations the security of patients’ electronic protected health information (ePHI). Consequently, this type of data must be heavily safeguarded. Fortunately, cloud-based servers are initiating careful and tactical efforts (such as conducting risk analyses, encrypting data, etc.) in order to assure that a patient’s ePHI is kept safe and private.

In addition, because cloud-based systems are operated by external software-as-a-service (SAAS) providers, independent physicians utilizing these systems can be assured that they are always operating on up-to-date servers. This is because automatic updates exist within cloud-based EHR systems. Users then are likely to always be utilizing the most current version of the system allowing for the ease and capability of staying in compliance with federal security guidelines.

Current cloud-based EHRs, including solutions offered by Elation Health, provide savings on installation and maintenance both for the system and the IT department, automatic updates that allow for security compliance, seamless features that make it easy for practices to expand, and wide access for all users.