Cloud-Based EHR Solutions Can Save Healthcare Practices Time and Money
May 16, 2014
Cloud computing is responsible for driving a number of technology trends, and now the cloud is facilitating the popularity of electronic health records (EHR). Cloud-based EHR is steadily gaining traction for its affordability as well as ease of use for small to mid-sized healthcare practices that lack large internal IT departments.
Forrester Research (News - Alert) recently told InformationWeek that the cloud has been exceptionally effective at driving EHR adoption in smaller healthcare organizations. According to Forrester, the cloud makes it affordable for small providers to invest in the necessary applications that make EHR possible. The end result is a cost-effective solution that is easy to operate and maintain, and is also useful in helping practitioners meet regulatory mandates.
"You don't need to buy servers,” said Dr. Caesar Djavaherian of Direct Urgent Care in Berkeley, CA (News - Alert), commenting about cloud-based EHR. “You don't have to worry about regulatory requirements. You don't need a huge staff of IT people to maintain it."
For many healthcare practices, particularly smaller outfits, IT staffing is a perennial problem and finding the right person or small team is a challenge. In additional to technological expertise, healthcare IT staffs must be knowledgeable about regulatory and compliance issues as well as the necessary security and privacy components that are crucial in the medical and healthcare industry. Turning to a cloud provider, particularly one that is experienced in healthcare issues, is often an affordable and preferable alternative.
Eppel Family Medicine in Port Orchard, WA, discovered that a cloud-based solution was the right choice for them. "I have one rep I call,” said Ken Adams, office manager at the practice. “If I have any issues -- it's generally our knowledge base and we need a refresher -- I call one person.”
When combined with the cost savings inherent in using a cloud-based approach without hardware and software purchasing and maintenance expenses, the benefits are clear. For Eppel, that savings amounted to $5,000 to $6,000 during the first year after switching from a Web-based EHR solution to the cloud-based CareCloud offering.
Practices can save money and time on training with cloud-based systems as well. According to Adams, his staff saved around three weeks of training time for CareCloud versus their previous Web-based system.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson