When accessing a patient’s medical record, it is critical for the independent physician to be able to rely on the security and availability of the patient data. Electronic health records (EHRs) or, electronic medical records (EMRs) as some prefer to call them, can provide that convenience and security. The question for a small and independent practice is whether to use a cloud-based EHR or a server-based EHR.
Cloud-based EHR systems, or cloud-based EMR systems, offer many advantages. The small and independent practice will enjoy savings on installation and maintenance both for the system and the IT department. The independent physician can be assured of automatic updates that allow for security compliance. Cloud-based EHR systems, or cloud-based EMR systems, also offer seamless features that make it easy for practices to expand and provide wide access for all users within the practice.
With a cloud-based EHR, data is stored on external servers and can be accessed with any device that has an internet connection. Tight security is integrated into the cloud-based system, to protect the patient’s electronic protected health information (ePHI). Many describe the security of cloud-based servers as “achieving HIPAA compliance with bank-level security and high-level encryption methods.”
Cloud-based EHR systems, or cloud-based EMR systems, solve many of the issues that practices may be worried about when choosing to adopt an EHR system. In server-based EHR systems, thousands of dollars may be spent on installing and implementing a server, hardware, and software. Regular maintenance and management from a local IT department is also needed. However, cloud-based systems are already established by a software-as-a-service (SAAS) provider, meaning the expense of money and time diminishes dramatically.
Today’s cloud-based EHR systems are “much more affordable and easier to install and maintain” for the independent physician. The costs of the cloud-based system are “much more attractive to smaller and independent medical practices not only because of lower upfront costs but due to a lack of IT staff and expertise in smaller practices.”