Is Your EHR Software Holding Your Practice Back?
Legacy electronic health record (EHR) software was engineered to facilitate building comprehensive patient records, primarily collecting clinical data. Electronic patient files compiled during the 1960's, 70's and 80's were definitely more complete, accurate and legible, but not necessarily easier to share. In the early 1990's as the size and price of computer equipment plummeted, more practice managers embraced the digital patient records concept and adoption rates soared.
Today, the majority of physicians use some form of digital patient record management system, but not everyone is happy with their EHR software performance. Which leads to the topic of this post: Is your EHR software holding your practice back?
Legacy EHR Software May Be Slowing You Down
One complaint providers have about their in-house EHR is lack of speed. Diagnosing slow page load times is complicated because myriad issues directly and indirectly cause bottlenecks in the system. Over time, your network may experience issues related to growth. Taking a single-provider practice to one with five or six partners and on-site outpatient services may overwhelm the network, creating hard disc space issues and memory shortages. It you have a dedicated IT team on staff, they may be able to re-provision a legacy server to fix problems temporarily, but the more services and providers you add, the more space you'll need.
Trying to get outdated client-side software to perform exactly like cloud-based solutions is kind of like trying to get the same speed and performance from a scooter as you would from a high-performance touring motorcycle. You can tweak the engine a bit, but to achieve highway speed, you'll have to get something with more horsepower.
Technology & Design Really Do Matter
Modern, cloud-based medical software simply outperforms old technology. Likewise, there are some poorly designed software programs out there that don't facilitate expansion or efficient operational management . A poorly structured design also contributes to slow downs and bottlenecks. Cloud-based EHR software is specifically designed for speed, scalability and portability.
Outdated EHR Software Impacts Financial Stability
It's possible to do almost anything with a client-side server that you can with cloud-based medical software, but not without investing heavily in IT staffing and security protocol. Architecting a rigorous security platform isn't cheap, and it takes a full time dedicated staff to manage security updates and monitor network traffic for vulnerabilities and threats.
Web-based software vendors typically have deeper pockets to build in redundancy due to economies of scale. This factor alone should take care of any bottlenecks associated with large backup files, saving your practice money that could be consumed tweaking the system while relieving unnecessary frustration levels for patients and office personnel.
While every practice will still need one or two tech support team members to make sure fixes and patches are updated and help staff with user issues, contracting with a cloud-based vendor often helps practice administrators reduce labor expenses. Plus, innovative, intuitive software is constantly evolving as new features are added to increase efficiency and productivity in the office. Many EHR vendors offer monthly contracts today that eliminate or sharply reduce the initial investment associated with converting your practice to a hosted EHR.
Collaborating, Communicating and Conditioning
There are so many advantages of having a single database. Instant sharing between partners and external specialists, keeping patients informed with modern, interactive portals, 24/7 access from anywhere there is an internet connection are just three. And, while it is possible to build a client-side EHR network that enables efficient communication across multiple device types, you won't get the same experience that comes with web-based software solutions. Some experts say it is all about “conditioning” staff members to think about the possibilities rather than focusing on potential problems with making a change.
Is Cloud-Based EHR Softwar Right For Your Practice?
There will always be some early adopters that quickly embrace new technology and some who prefer to stick with the status quo until frustration compels them to make a change. Here are a few of the reasons every practice should consider updating their EHR software to a cloud-based, SaaS package.
Improve network speed and performance
Improve internal productivity
Improve patient experiences
Improve collaborative relationships
Improve financial resource allocation
About Stephen O'Connor
As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.