Guide to Cloud Based EMR Software

Cloud computing is becoming more prevalent as healthcare is evolving. Their seamless effectiveness is showing quite a reasonable growth rate. According to a recent study report, cloud-based EMR software system accounts for most of the market share and is also the fastest-growing method of deployment in the EMR industry. 

A cloud-based EMR is a scalable, flexible, intuitive, and cost-effective solution. It maintains and manages patient health files in the cloud (off-site) rather than on internal servers located at a medical facility or practice. It provides access to the administrators for data mining to examine work progress in charts and graphs for strengths and weaknesses. Allowing identifying behavior patterns, drug interactions, and potential health risk factors.

Benefits of cloud EMR software

1. Accessibility

One of the significant advantages of using a cloud-based EMR is that it allows users to access updated clinical data from multiple locations. The data can easily be accessed from any remote location through the web on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. This increases productivity and effective decision-making by offering a great mobility option to those who are not always at their desk.

2. Minimal IT cost

Cloud-based EMRs can be implemented and operated at a lower cost since data storage and software deployment are managed off-site. Practices that use cloud computing do not have to invest a huge sum of money in hardware, server space, and on-site network. The installation, maintenance, data migration, and software updates are also significantly less costly. The vendor can carry out all these tasks without the need to deploy an IT team on site.

3. Scalability

Scalability is known as the ability to expand and grow an EMR system. For practices that can anticipate scaling up in the future, this feature is for them. A cloud system is developed with relatively little effort and cost as compared to an on-premises system. New users and workstations can be added by simply adding new user accounts.  

4. Interoperability

The need for cloud computing has risen for the fact that nearly 70% of EMR systems in the United States fail to “communicate” with other software. Meaning, if your software is connected to the Cloud, the data storage method may be incompatible with another software system. This renders virtually inaccessibility to outside sources. The ability for systems to communicate is one of the most essential components of Cloud EMR software.

Disadvantages of Cloud EMR Software

1. Hidden costs

Watch out for cloud-based EMR that works on a subscription basis. Some vendors require users to purchase access to add-ons, features, and support. Or by claiming that the bandwidth needs to be upgraded for a large amount of data to process. The total cost of the entire cloud-based system should be known before purchasing. 

2. Reliability

Cloud-based EMRs rely only on an internet connection for the software to retrieve data. Therefore, practices that do not have access to a reliable high-speed internet connection should not opt for this. Slow or unreliable connection speed can cause cloud-based EMR to experience lag time in system functionality and outages. However, such problems can be avoided during the selection process by ensuring that the vendor clearly explains their product’s bandwidth requirements.  

3. Security

Most often, security is the primary concern when it comes to cloud-based EMR. For patient information confidentiality, data handling, and security practices – it must be HIPAA compliant. Providers must also comply with their obligations to protect personal health information under HIPAA.

Features to Look For in a Cloud EMR Software

When using a cloud-based EMR, it should contain the most basic core delivery functions listed below:

  • Health information and data
  • Result management
  • Order management
  • Decision support
  • Electronic communication and connectivity
  • Patient support
  • Administrative processes and reporting
  • Reporting and population health
  • Patient portal 
  • Multiple device access

Why is a cloud-based system beneficial for practices?

The benefits that come with a cloud-based system are endless.

  • Automatic compliance updates ensure your organization is always following best practices.
  • Security patches, updating code-sets, and renewing encryption certification is solely the responsibility of service vendors.
  • Adding new physicians or staff to the practice is more accessible with cloud-based EMRs. Requiring minimal training and IT involvement.  
  • Although large group practices and hospitals require IT training and support teams, many small and mid-sized practices do not need investment in such needs as the vendors provide support 24/7 with intensive system training. 
  • Tools such as intuitive decision-support and drug libraries help prevent medical errors.

Before purchasing any cloud EMR, keep an eye out for the following added costs:

Out-of-Box Price:

Some vendors differentiate between prescribing and non-prescribing EMR users. Have an absolute clarity about your user base before calculating the baseline figure and monthly fees.

Have a look at the updated pricing for EHR.

  1. Cost of New Hardware:

This concern is not just for on-premises. Implementing EMR for tablets or any other device should not entail an extra cost. It should be added to your budget or total cost.

      2. Support:

Sometimes implementation support, consultancy, customization, data migration, and training do not come under the total actual cost of the EMR. All these requirements ask for additional money. EMR vendors also ask for a monthly or yearly fee for maintenance. 

Read our article on the hidden costs to look out for when choosing an EMR software.

Build Your Practice With a Cloud-Based EMR

Cloud-based EMR is set for rapid development and improvement of healthcare information systems. While the primary benefits are promising, the obstacles attached to it must be overcome to facilitate a seamless and successful implementation. For more information and help, reach out to us for FREE EMR recommendation & consultation

Also check out our buyer’s guide for cloud-based EMR software

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