As I described in my last column (“Cloud Computing May Be a Simple Solution for Your EHR Needs“), there are significant advantages to implementing “cloud” technologies in health care. In general, the term “cloud computing” refers to a computer model that allows users on-demand access to an application and its data through a third-party provider using the Internet. There are several types of models available. Software as a service, which is a method of providing the electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) as a service, is probably the most appealing. The advantages of this model include the following:
Explore this issue:April 2012
- Users have unlimited access to the software using any device connected to the Internet;
- The user is not chained to one stationary computer;
- Data can be shared with other systems;
- All users access the same version of the software;
- Maintenance and upgrades to newer versions are easier;
- Health care data security are improved;
- The system has its own IT support; and
- Investment in application or database management is unnecessary.
These advantages should result in significant cost savings, freeing up resources for implementation and user support. According to the results of a survey conducted by CDW Healthcare, 88 percent of health care organizations that have implemented cloud technologies have saved, on average, 20 percent of their health care costs.
—Rodney Lusk, MD
There are also significant risks that each health care organization must face when transitioning to cloud-based hosting. Turning over data, security, availability and control to a third party means that your company has absolutely no control over where its data actually lives. Trust in your cloud vendor takes on a whole different meaning. Security and privacy, core issues in the health care market, have to be bulletproof.