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Cloud Based EMR / EHR: SAAS for EMR
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Cloud-based EMR / EHR, sometimes referred to as web-based Software as a Service (SAAS) for EMR / medical software applications has become increasingly available and attractive to medical providers, particularly for smaller medical practices.

The quality and quantity of EMR software and web-based medical software by subscription is growing by leaps and bounds: More software developers have been writing medical software for Cloud-based EMR because more practices are ready to take the risk and subscribe.

Why? Both the lower upfront cost of a service plus the relief of someone else taking care of your data security concerns are great arguments for EMR in the Cloud or some other medical SAAS.

Cloud-based EMR is particularly appealing to medical practices that don’t have much of an IT staff and cannot afford a long ramp up time to make a major data and training transition. Even small practices want to take advantage of the government subsidies available for Meaningful Use — and the penalties that await them if they don’t upgrade to EMR. SAAS and CLoud-based EMR will give them a way to do this without breaking the bank.

How these products will stack up against standard client/server based EMR’s will depend on the size and extent of the practice using the software, and the degree of customization the Cloud-based EMR will offer, but you can be sure that the general trend toward EMR in the Cloud will continue to develop as a viable option, at least for the smaller practice.

Questions to ask your medical software vendor:
One facet of cloud-based software to watch for is how the vendor and the product handle data security concerns for your data.

  • Understand who is liable is the data is compromised; liability questions have more than monetary applications, since compromising patient data involves serious HIPAA violations.
  • Ask questions about frequency of backups and distributed processing of your data.
  • Find out how the cloud-based system interacts with mobile devices, and whether you need to provide your own security for their data, or whether they offer a backup option that is also in the cloud.
  • Find out how mobile devices are connected to the cloud-based system, and how that data is encrypted and brought into your cloud-based system. Are mobile devices your problem or are they the responsibility of the vendor? These issues need to be understood before you plug into a cloud-based system, or any other EMR for that matter.

Yet another important set of questions revolves around program customization: how free are you to customize your templates and your workflow and processes? Does the cloud-based system lock you into a uniform method of processing your data (and thus, your patients)?

As time goes on, cloud-based data should become more customizable, but ask the vendor to show you how customization is done. Get comfortable with the dashboard. See how easy — or difficult — customizing options and templates really is.