Is there a cloud in your future? In all likelihood, it’s already here. “Cloud” computing is a new way of marketing centralized hosting technology, which actually dates back to the 1960s. Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of your computing needs as a service rather than as a suite of products that you have to purchase and maintain, and it’s actually what makes the Internet work. E-mail, Facebook and online banking are all examples of cloud technology: You connect to an application, which then connects to a database somewhere out there in “the cloud,” allowing you to do whatever the application is designed to do. You are not involved in the maintenance of these applications or their databases. You just log into a site, Gmail or Yahoo mail, for example, and use it.
Explore this issue:February 2012
Why couldn’t we do that with an electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) for our patients? This is precisely what cloud technology is designed to do.
Easy, Reliable Access
Think of cloud technology as a utility, similar to electricity or water. You don’t care how the electricity is generated; you simply want quality power to come into your computer or appliance when you turn on the switch. Similarly, you don’t necessarily care where water comes from; you just want clear, clean water when you fill your glass or take a shower. Cloud technology for healthcare records operates in much the same way: For a flat fee, you expect easy and secure access to your patients’ data through a familiar interface and through any device. You need instant access to an EHR, 24/7. Someone else can worry about maintaining the application and the database.