Businesses are implementing cloud computing in their operations for its cost and collaboration benefits. Cloud computing involves accessing and storing your business data and applications over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. This service comes from providers that host storage and applications on their own servers.
This innovative platform is slowly gaining traction in the healthcare industry. A recent report by Gartner found that IT officers in hospitals and private practices are more confident in using cloud solutions than they were a few years ago. This is because more and more providers are providing secure and compliant services.
A survey by Datica found that over 34 percent of healthcare organizations are developing applications on the cloud to manage their clients’ health information better. Over 64 percent of them expect to deploy these programs within two years.
Why are these healthcare practices switching to the cloud?
- Takes Fewer Resources to Run
A lot of hospitals, clinics, and private practices still store their patient data on-site. This means you have to buy and store complex servers to keep your healthcare business’s sensitive information. This takes up a significant amount of office space. Plus, you have to hire an IT or management information systems specialist to update it and keep it running properly.
You don’t have to deal with these expenses when using a cloud storage system. With cloud storage, you keep and access your files on your provider’s server. This eliminates the need to reserve space for racks of computers and hard drives in your office. And because providers maintain and update their hardware themselves, you don’t have to worry about hiring an IT specialist to keep your storage system in good shape.
- Comprehensive Collaboration
Documents, like patient records and invoices, often have to be edited by more than one person. If you’re using a digital document for this, it may go through a lot of revisions via messy email threads. This is open to human error, and the slightest mistake could lead to problems like overcharging or undercharging patients, misdiagnosis, and wrong prescriptions.
Cloud-based document and form editors often have collaboration features, which let multiple users edit and comment on a single file in real-time. This allows you to have a single source of truth for all records in your system. These apps also track each change, so you can review them and omit unnecessary deletions or alterations to the document.
- Easy Access
When you need to make crucial changes to patient records and other important files, you need to be in your clinic to access them from your on-premises server. This can be a pain to deal with if you’ve already made your way home or you’re in a meeting. This won’t be a problem with cloud applications. This is because you can access them from any device with internet. You just need authentication from your provider.
- Better Security and Compliance
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides strict regulations to protect the healthcare information of patients. Its rules state that documents must be secured behind access control instruments like PIN codes and passwords. They must also be encrypted, which means that documents and other data should be unrecognizable or unreadable to users who don’t have a decryption key.
Your storage system should have auditing features that let you track every change, and which of your users made them. Depending on your state, you may have to retain your patient documents for at least six years.
Cloud storage providers, like Google Cloud and medical billing companies, offer server-side and client-side encryption. They also offer password security and auditing capabilities. Plus, you or your provider can also program your cloud storage app to automatically delete files after X number of years. This way, you can save on storage space while being compliant with your state and industry regulations.
With an on-premise system, you have to buy and manually install software upgrades. Plus, if you’re expanding your practice, you have to do the same for your new computers and servers. This costs a lot of time and money to do. With a cloud provider, you only pay for the resources you use.
You can start with a basic plan if your clinic is just starting out, and add new features like extra storage space, application licenses for new users, and even entirely new applications as your company grows. And because every cloud app is accessed through the internet, your chosen upgrades get implemented as soon as your payment goes through.
It’s your duty to ensure the safety and organization of your patients’ data. Manual methods are a waste of time, space, and effort. And if you’re digitizing your business processes, choose cloud-based solutions. They’re cost-effective, secure, and easy to access and operate. This way, you’ll spend more time providing quality healthcare instead of fiddling with lost or disorganized documents.