You got into the healthcare field to change patients' lives, not to organize data or respond to cyberattacks. Yet in our digitized world, storing patient data – and protecting that data from cyber threats – is a time-consuming reality. Switching to a cloud-based solution can transform your electronic health records (EHR) and practice management (PM) systems.
What is the Cloud?
Before we dive into what makes the cloud so great, we should probably explain what it is. Simply put, the cloud is an alternative way to store digital records that is fast, affordable, and user-friendly.
You most likely are already storing your data somewhere, whether on a cloud-based program, a local solution, or in filing cabinets in your office. As you can imagine, digitizing health records and practice management data is more efficient and streamlined than storing it physically.
But even within the digital world, there are a couple of EHR/EMR and PM solutions. The first is to have a locally owned server. With this option, your practice partners with a local IT company to store patient and practice data on a hard drive.
The other solution is to outsource data storage to a cloud-based company like Nextech. With this option, the cloud provider stores, organizes, and protects your data.
5 Reasons to Switch to a Cloud-based Solution
Many healthcare practices have already switched to a cloud-based solution–and for good reason(s). After talking to hundreds of practices that made the switch, here’s the top five reasons a cloud-based EHR and PM system improves medical practices.
Enhanced Data Management
Your team needs to access patient information as fast as possible. With a cloud-based solution, they can enter, organize, and find that information faster, leading to a smoother administrative process.
With this enhanced data management, healthcare practices have seen results such as:
At the end of the day, the cloud is better for your bottom line. With other healthcare management systems, you need to invest in expensive hardware and wrack up IT costs to keep the system running.
The cloud eliminates the need for expensive hardware and extra IT support because it stores all your information on its own system, not on yours. It can also decrease how much you spend on payment processing and patient communication technologies.
If you were hiring an in-person security guard, would you want to hire your cousin looking for a side hustle or a professional who used to work for the secret service? Switching to the cloud provides secret-service-level protection for your data. Creating your own local system is similar to hiring that cousin.
With a local EHR or PM system, it’s up to your practice, and possibly an IT company you hire, to keep your data safe. The cloud takes the burden of keeping data secure off your hands and makes it harder for people to access and replicate your data.
Take on More Patients
Let’s face it: taking on a new patient is a time-consuming process. It involves entering the patient information into an EHR, getting any needed information from a primary care physician or other specialists, and negotiating with a patient’s insurance company.
With a cloud-based solution, you can enter new patient data quicker and receive information from third parties more efficiently. This allows you to not only take on more patients but to devote more attention to making the patient experience the best it can be.
Bye, Bye Cybercrime
Healthcare companies are a favorite target for cyber and ransomware attacks. A cloud-based solution offers better security measures than other data storage methods, meaning your chances of being a victim of a cyberattack decrease dramatically after you switch.
Misconceptions About the Cloud
After reading the reasons to switch to the cloud, you might be asking, “Is this too good to be true?”
Luckily, this is one of those rare cases where the answer is no. The cloud isn’t too good to be true, but there are some misconceptions about it, such as these three popular myths.
Myth: The cloud is less secure than storing your data on a hardware-based solution.
Reality: You wouldn’t stick a million dollars underneath your bed, just to keep it nearby, when it could be stored in a secure bank. Switching to a cloud-based system is similar–it lets you store highly valuable data in a secure “bank” instead of in your healthcare practice’s hardware.
Myth: Because you don’t own the cloud, it can be trickier to work with your data.
Reality: While you might be scared to switch from your system to one you don’t technically own, you can rest assured that most cloud-providers have teams devoted to making their system as user-friendly as possible.
Myth: Cloud-based EHR and PM systems are slower.
Reality: There is a nugget of truth to this myth. Cloud-based solutions depend on an internet connection and can run slower than locally-hosted EHR and PM systems. But in recent years, many cloud-based companies have made the process of accessing and storing data quicker. Most healthcare practices can take on more clients while scaling back their hours because of the speed of cloud-based programs.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Cloud
Before we wrap up, let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions about switching to the cloud.
How is the Cloud Used in Healthcare?
Many healthcare companies are switching to the cloud because it’s easier to store and access data and it decreases the amount of administrative time spent entering and updating health records.
Which Cloud is Best for Healthcare?
There is not one best cloud system for all healthcare practices. Instead, different companies address different needs–and different specializations. For example, if your practice specializes in dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, or plastic surgery, Nextech could be a good option.
Why is Healthcare Moving to the Cloud?
A primary reason healthcare is moving to the cloud is increased security. Healthcare companies are often the targets of cyberattacks and local systems don’t always have the capabilities to keep hackers out while cloud companies offer world-class security.
Ready to Switch?
With benefits like a streamlined administrative process, being able to take on more patients, and better cybersecurity, the cloud could transform the day-to-day operations of your medical office. But before you switch, it’s best to do your research on the pros and cons of different cloud-based solutions. If you’d like to get a jumpstart on that research, feel free to download Nextech’s whitepaper on how a cloud-based EHR and practice management system can improve your security.