The cloud has made an undeniable impact on the way that businesses operate, allowing them to work more efficiently, scale up, and boost customer satisfaction. As such, cloud migration has become the focus for organizations in nearly every industry, including healthcare. Moving to the cloud offers benefits not only for hospitals, insurers, and other large healthcare organizations, but also private medical practices.
Physicians with even the smallest practices can benefit from overhauling their in-office digital environment for one that lives in the cloud. Without the expansive digital resources and IT staff that larger organizations have, private practices may find that cloud migration is the most cost-effective option.
Here are a few of the best reasons to consider moving your medical practice into the cloud:
Implementation is a breeze.
Cloud-based data and applications are accessed via the Internet, which makes it easier for you to deploy new applications. Instead of needing to install your own hardware and software, the provider of your cloud service manages the application on their own servers. This, in turn, results in less time spent on deployment, which ensures you won’t lose out on business or lose access to your data while you are migrating from one system to another.
It’s easier to connect to patient data.
In a busy medical practice, doctors, medical assistants, receptionists, and data entry professionals need to be able to access patient information in a timely manner. Cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) systems make this process much more seamless by allowing staff to access a patient’s lab results, medical history, and prescriptions from any device that is connected to the Internet. This is a major step forward from traditional systems, which require you to store this information in a physical server onsite and connect to it via an online portal. When the data lives in the cloud, you and your staff can access the information whether you’re on your office desktop computer or a tablet in an exam room.
Not only will cloud EHR systems facilitate better connectivity within your medical practice, but they can also improve collaboration with other healthcare providers. Physicians at your office can accept and make patient referrals with ease by safely transferring medical information.
It can adapt to your needs.
Cloud environments aren’t static. As your practice grows, expands its patient network, and takes on more staff, you can rest assured you’ll have a system that can adapt to your needs. With a traditional onsite system, you would need to purchase additional hardware and, sometimes, connect resources from across disparate systems.
Cloud hosting and software-as-a-service (SaaS) are accessible on an on-demand, subscription basis, which ensures you’ll be able to scale up or down at any time. You can make adjustments to your subscription and the specific features you need, so you won’t find yourself stuck with a bloated, one-size-fits-all platform with useless functions you never rely on. Instead of building your practice around the tools provided, you can build your practice using tools that grow along with you.
It’s cost-effective for you and your patients.
When migrating to the cloud, you won’t need to set aside portions of your budget for servers and other networking hardware. Your cloud provider will host your practice’s data on their own servers, located in a secure data center, and charge you for access on a regular (often monthly or quarterly) basis. You also won’t have to spend time searching for and installing upgrades to software, as your provider will automatically provide patches, fixes, and updates as they roll out. This reduces your overall IT financial burden. And when you keep your IT infrastructure costs low, you can pass the savings on to your patients.
It can fulfill your security requirements.
Data security is obviously extremely important for medical practices, which must comply with stringent regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Entrusting patients’ billing information or health records to a third party may be difficult, but the cloud has come a long way in providing the levels of security that your practice will need. This data may even be more secure in the cloud than it would be on a server you keep onsite—especially if you’re a small practice without the time, money, or expertise to ensure its security.
A reputable cloud vendor will provide robust security features to protect your patients’ data. From single-point access to file encryption, these techniques safeguard your most sensitive information from threats.
It’s a more robust digital solution.
In order to provide your patients with reliable, effective care, you need a system that can fully support your practice. Traditional setups no longer provide the best level of stability and consistency for high levels of demand. Migrating your medical practice to a cloud environment will provide the dependability you need to meet your patients’ expectations and ensure they receive the best treatment.
When you agree to a cloud contract, your cloud provider will supply a service level agreement (SLA) that provides guarantees related to the reliability and availability of their services. Some of the biggest vendors, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), provide uptime of 99.99 percent. With service levels this high, you won’t need to worry about losing access to your data and applications that live in the cloud.
Additionally, cloud migration makes your medical practice more robust by providing a failsafe. Providers typically store your data in more than one server, so they can easily move it around, diffusing the risk of corruption or data loss from one faulty server, or a natural disaster that affects a single location.