Cloud-Based EMR Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: June 01, 2023
A Buyer’s Guide to Getting the Cloud EMR for You
Healthcare is an industry built on getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. Medical professionals routinely deal with either too much or too little information but at the end of the day, still, make the right decision. Luckily, with the best fit software, doctors can better navigate the facts provided to them and make sure that their patients get the best care possible.
Better yet, over the years, the industry has come up with multiple cloud-based EMR software specifically for healthcare. These systems can process thousands of patient data. Set up correctly, they can streamline the process in an industry where speed and accuracy literally save lives. Interestingly enough, these programs bring the same question they were originally created to answer – in a world where there is too much or too little information, how do you choose the right one?
Pros and Cons of Living in the Cloud
When you do decide to get an EMR, you immediately face another decision: should you set up shop in the cloud or keep the data in-house? There would be many aspects that would need to be weighed in.
- On-premise systems mean that you would be storing the data in your own servers. This would restrict third-party access to your data but would also hold you responsible for securing and maintaining your own data centers. By keeping your data in the cloud, the records are stored off-site, usually by a third-party vendor. You would still need to keep regular backups on your end, but most of the back-end work is maintained by the vendor.
- Other than data storage, the third party can also manage software deployment and system updates, as compared to server-based systems where company employees or consultants are put in charge. For on-premise, in-house administrators can fully customize the system to any requirements that come up, but these may not be up-to-date or in line with best practices.
- By outsourcing these tasks, you can keep costs down with reduced investment in IT capital.
- Users can then access the data in the cloud on any device, as long as they have a reliable internet connection. To increase security, you can require the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) or security tokens. Your chosen vendor should be able to address and support these. On-premise systems, on the other hand, usually require physical access to their workstations to access the system.
- As long as you can keep an eye on costs and security, you can customize cloud-based EMR to scale based on the scope of your operations.
Features to Look Out For
Generally, EMRs should be able to cater to basic care delivery functions while maintaining the high standards and limited margin of error afforded to medical professionals.
Communicate with Patients
Other than the care provided by doctors and nurses, patients should also have access to information that allows them to continue their treatment at home. Post-treatment, patients with critical or sensitive conditions should benefit from the EMR by maintaining their self-conducted medication.
The use of the electronic medical record would reduce the need for patients to fill out basic information forms over and over for each visit. An effective cloud-based EMR should be able to store that data as well as make them easily accessible when a patient makes a repeat visit. The system should be able to process the data to help with forming an accurate patient history. With patient data available faster, redundant processes are reduced and the paperwork needed on each case is lessened. Less paperwork would also mean that more time is devoted to more productive causes. In turn, these would lead to faster diagnosis and treatment.
Collect Real-Time Information
Health care professionals should be able to provide new lab results quickly and in real-time. If compatible, medical devices can be configured to transmit the information directly to the system. Members of the medical team conducting separate tests can access and update the most recent version of the data in the system. The centralized nature of the application should be especially valuable to large teams and time-sensitive cases.
Access Healthcare Data
At the very least, an EMR should be able to handle health information and data. Based on the scope of your healthcare service, this can include existing conditions, current medication, and other data that can affect the final treatment. Patient demographics should be readily available for decision-making.
By having this data readily available to doctors, they can gain a better understanding of the patient’s condition. In turn, duplicate records and redundant tests can be avoided as these would all be made accessible to healthcare professionals throughout the necessary medical procedures.
Secure Sensitive Data
Banking on an EMR’s communication features, healthcare providers should be able to connect with each other securely and effectively. Ensure that electronic medical records can pass the necessary laws on confidentiality in your location.
Data privacy should also be considered in selecting the right EMR. Unlike other industries, the healthcare profession deals with especially sensitive data that is heavily protected by law. The security of the system must pass both local and federal requirements.
Connect with Providers
Any system would need to be maintained. In the case of Cloud-based EHR software, established system vendors would be primarily in charge of system maintenance. Unless you have an in-house IT team dealing with any hiccups in the system, ensure that you have an established line of communication where you can voice out any security or functional concerns in the system. If your system is down or is experiencing glitches, the vendor should have established procedures for dealing with the problem.
Paperwork is Fine: Why Change Something That Works?
Traditional paperwork and manual filing may function fine for your organization – for now. These manual processes are historically not sustainable when the stakeholders increase and the workload trends upwards. The sheer amount of information might be too much to process, resulting in a deadlock. In a time-sensitive industry like healthcare, this simply would not do.
Before the stress of the workload affects your organization’s critical services, consider getting an EMR that’s fit for you. Conduct your own cost-benefit analysis to be sure whether an out-of-the-box, on-premise system or a customizable cloud-based EMR. Remember to consider the required initial investments for each, as most on-premise systems will require you to make a significant investment in hardware and a one-time perpetual license, while a cloud-based EMR will need a recurring subscription to keep your access to the system and any updates the vendor may make.
By storing the data in an accessible, easily-organized system, doctors can make more informed decisions. Overall, doctors can work more efficiently, patients can get better care, and the organization can spend more time creating sustainable solutions.