3 Crucial Benefits and Challenges of Cloud-Based EHRs

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud-based EHR can be updated quickly and reduces disaster recovery expenses by eliminating the need for maintaining and building secondary data centers.
  • Cloud-based EHR systems require less in-house IT staff to manage and maintain infrastructure. This can lead to substantial savings in terms of salaries, benefits, and training expenses for IT personnel.
  • One of the biggest challenges faced by cloud-based EHRs is reliability because of fluctuations in the network connection or a complete lack of it. Network connectivity is a must to access EHR software and retrieve patient data.

In a recent market research, the cloud services market is expected to reach $79.3 billion by 2027 due to the rise in acceptance of cloud among healthcare professionals. Healthcare providers are shifting to the cloud due to its several traits such as data storage, interoperability, low costs, and high-powered analytics. That said, cloud-based EHR (Electronic Health Records) is one of the fastest-growing modes of deployment in the healthcare industry due to its ability to reduce costs and offer scalability.

This article offers insights into why cloud-based EHR is a necessity for healthcare organizations and the challenges associated with it.

Cloud-Based Vs On-Premise EHR

Both on-premise and cloud-based EHRs are used for data storage, however, cost sets the two apart from each other. Cloud-based EHR systems are preferred over on-premise because they are less costly than the latter. Since, cloud-based EHRs don’t require capital investment in software, hardware, and network personnel, they’re cheaper to incorporate and operate. Whereas, on-premise EHR comes with all of these expenses, which can be a liability for small clinics and hospitals.

Furthermore, cloud-based EHRs are considered as less reliable as they depend on a connection to third-party servers. However, for practitioners who have a high-speed connection, this has become less of an issue. As far as on-premise servers are concerned, data suggests that on-premise servers face less unplanned downtime compared with cloud-based systems.

Benefits of Cloud-Based EHR

1. Scalability

Scalability in the cloud refers to the ability to either increase or decrease IT resources to meet the changing demands of the cloud-based EHR. Cloud can scale processing power, data storage, and networking quickly, with little or no downtime.

Further, healthcare organizations are experiencing a spike in patients due to chronic diseases, so they’ve to respond quickly to the growing demand. Cloud-based EHR can be updated quickly to match the increased demand for patient data storage. In addition, a scalable cloud system reduces disaster recovery expenses by eliminating the need for maintaining and building secondary data centers.

2. Cost-Effective

Cloud-based EHR systems require less in-house IT staff to manage and maintain infrastructure. This can lead to substantial savings in terms of salaries, benefits, and training expenses for IT personnel. Apart from this, running on-premises servers generates energy and cooling costs, which can be significant for large healthcare facilities. By using cloud infrastructure, organizations reduce their energy consumption and environmental impact, resulting in lower utility costs.

Another way the cloud-based EHR is cost-effective for healthcare organizations is that it eliminates the need for organizations to invest in and maintain expensive hardware, data centers, and server infrastructure. Instead, organizations can leverage the cloud provider’s infrastructure, paying only for the resources they use. This eliminates the upfront capital expenditures and ongoing maintenance costs associated with on-premises solutions.

Furthermore, cloud providers typically offer a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Healthcare organizations can quickly scale their resources up or down based on demand, which prevents over-provisioning and allows for more accurate cost management. This scalability ensures that organizations only pay for the resources they need, thus saving tons of money.

3. Accessibility

Another benefit of using cloud-based EHR is that it allows users to access updated clinical data from multiple locations and platforms. Since clinical data is stored in remote locations and accessed through the web, EHR data can be accessed from tablets, desktop systems, laptops, and smartphones.

For admin staff, clinicians, and multi-site practices this type of data mobility is valuable to enhance productivity and make informed decisions as each staff member and patient is connected through the cloud. Cloud-based systems allow real-time synchronization of patient records. Any updates or changes made by one healthcare professional are immediately reflected in the system, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest information.

Moreover, Cloud-based EHR systems facilitate collaboration among different healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care. Physicians, specialists, nurses, and other team members can access and update patient records in real-time, leading to better-coordinated care. Apart from this, cloud systems implement robust user authentication and authorization mechanisms. Multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and encryption ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive patient information.

Cloud infrastructure typically offers high availability and minimal downtime. This ensures that healthcare professionals can access patient records around the clock, supporting emergencies and improving patient care continuity.

Challenges of Using Cloud-Based EHR

1. Reliability

One of the biggest challenges faced by cloud-based EHR is reliability because of fluctuations in the network connection or a complete lack of it. Network connectivity is a must to access EHR software and retrieve patient data. Practitioners who face constant network issues can switch to an on-premise EHR solution.

Furthermore, unreliable or slow network connection can lead to a lag time in the EHR system and cause outages. These issues can be avoided during the selection process of the mode of deployment.

2. Hidden Costs

Cloud-based EHRs require less investment in hiring IT staff, infrastructure, and operations. But, they work on subscriptions, which can have varying prices. The user may have to pay additional charges for add-ons or extra features and support. Additionally, the bandwidth may have to be adjusted to support large data on the system process. All these aspects give rise to hidden costs.

3. Security

Security is one of the major concerns for cloud-based EHR systems because the cloud as such isn’t HIPAA certified. Every healthcare system is made HIPAA compliant to ensure the privacy and security of ePHI (Protected Health Information). So, EHR developers must ensure that cloud-based EHRs are made HIPAA compliant and follow all healthcare regulations.

EHR software is loaded with multiple features and functionalities that are not only user-friendly but also convenient for remote care. Cloud-based EHR software can be a game changer for clinics and hospitals as it builds seamless data exchange and ensures the security and privacy of patient data.

If you’re looking for an EHR system that offers you exceptional features and compliance, then connect with Arkenea, a leading healthcare software development company that builds and delivers world-class healthcare software.