Think about the last time you carried a paper chart into a patient room. It’s probably been awhile, hasn’t it? Because of new patient rights standards and regulations,1 health practitioners are implementing fully digital records. In fact, your practice and many others like it may have already moved to electronic medical records systems (EMRs). With these systems come new capabilities for delivering better patient care, improving communication with other caregivers, and managing insurance and billing questions. EMRs are just the tip of the iceberg, and the potential for getting even more use out of your IT infrastructure is growing.
When it comes to providing this improved level of care, electronic medical records give caregivers a better foundation from which to work. Because of the digital format these records provide, physicians can use tablets to quickly access patient health information while talking to that patient. In the same vein, doctors can easily share information with other care providers. For example, a CT scan can be added to a patient’s medical record and be available for review when the patient sees a specialist, wherever that doctor may be located. Prescriptions can be closely tracked and shared with pharmacies–no more having the nurse fax a script the old-fashioned way.
Leveraging the Cloud at Your Practice
Electronic medical records are just a small component of what the cloud offers medical professionals. Like all businesses, new technology can transform how a dentist or doctor’s office works on a day-to-day basis. Here are three solutions we often implement for health care providers, giving them even greater capability and efficiency than ever before.
- Dedicated Cloud Servers – Medical clinics need to store more data than just the aforementioned medical records. Payment information, correspondence with insurance providers, marketing collateral, and more need a place to live as well. By providing a dedicated cloud solution on DiamondIT’s virtual server infrastructure, doctors can focus on patients instead of managing and securing this important data. Nurses and physicians don’t spend time waiting around for data or asking colleagues how a certain system works with the help of faster tools that are easy to use.
- Hosted Exchange – With the privacy regulations and rules about how long records must be kept in the medical field, it makes a great deal of sense for medical practices to host their email in a way that provides maximum control without sacrificing quality or functionality. Exchange, created by Microsoft, can be hosted in the cloud, providing flexibility and accessibility for all users. However, Exchange can also be administered in a way that archives all messages and manages who is able to send and receive different types of files. Hosted Exchange provides a “win/win” scenario for clinics looking for a cost-effective way to have total control over a powerful email system.
- Voice-over Internet Phones (VoIP) – Replacing an old landline system can also provide reduced costs and increased features for clinics. Cloud-based phone systems mean that each employee can have their own extension, voice mailbox, and greeting. From an administration standpoint, incoming and outgoing calls can be recorded. We had installed a VoIP system for a central California orthodontic clinic, and a recorded call proved to be a key piece of evidence during a malpractice claim, exonerating the clinic and saving what could have been a large settlement.
Why the Cloud Works for Healthcare Facilities
Medical practices and physicians are most often drawn to exploring cloud solutions for two main reasons. First, whether building out an entire cloud infrastructure or simply deploying an EMR instance, the costs associated with using a cloud-based solution can offer significant cost savings compared to on-premise and self-managed systems. Second, the primary focus of a medical clinic is to provide patient care, and the tools integrated into the practice, including technology, exist to further that mission. Spending time managing servers and software is a poor use of time when patients and their health needs are waiting. Reducing costs and the friction that comes with managing IT infrastructure is a compelling and attractive proposition. VoIP systems, hosted Exchange, and a dedicated cloud infrastructure are just a few of the amazing ways that healthcare providers can get more value and utility out of their technology. With regulations mandating a more digital approach to providing patient care, it makes sense to explore other ways the cloud can help your practice thrive. Our team has years of experience providing cloud-based solutions to medical professionals across California, and would be glad to help your practice, too!