What Are the Advantages to Cloud-Based EHR?
by Leigh-Ann Renz, 9.7.16
What’s Your IT Background?
Have you ever owned + operated a server? Do you understand ins and outs of security and compliance on a server? Are you comfortable with performing maintenance and backup on a server? While it’s tempting to think that hosting an EHR yourself will be easier or cheaper, unless you can answer a resounding “yes” to each of those questions, doing so will probably cost you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
Even if you can answer “yes” to those criteria, keep in mind that performing those tasks, no matter how familiar they are, is going to take time and attention away from your clients and managing your practice.
More Secure From Hacking
Do you have a secure place to house a server? A cloud-based server is almost always going to be more secure than one stored on-site. This is particularly true for Protected Health Information (PHI) covered by HIPAA, as the cloud-based servers host data across all industries and are less easily identifiable than actual agencies.
More Secure From Natural Disaster
A huge advantage to cloud-based servers is 1) they aren’t located where your office is; and 2) they are usually backed up to multiple locations. This means that – were your practice to be affected by a natural disaster (tornado, hurricane, flooding, etc) - there won’t be exposed paper records; and the data would be safe.
Most cloud-based data vendors house your information in multiple locations nationwide, so that if one of the server areas is hit by a natural disaster, the other(s) aren’t. The chances of a natural disaster striking two server locations in two completely different parts of the country are highly unlikely.
Not having to process backups, whether you’re comfortable with them or not, can save a lot of time and stress. Cloud-based servers typically offer automated backups, to multiple locations, included in the cost.
What happens if the program has an update? Your mental health EHR wants to share new functionality that might be extremely beneficial to you, but if you’re hosting the server, it can be incredibly difficult to receive the new information – and perhaps even create issues if you’re using an outdated version of the program.
If you have issues on a cloud-based server, the accountability is with the provider: a quality vendor will offer Support and fix the problem, efficiently + affordably getting you back to business. When you host the system yourself, you’re accountable for any hiccups that arise. This can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming.