Cloud storage, where patient data is stored remotely and accessed through the Internet, has evolved into an emerging technology trend; and it is picking up steam in terms of physician acceptance.
Medical Group Management Association technology consultant Derek Kosiorek says that many physicians who were leery of using cloud storage are beginning to change their minds. "Things like Google Drive and Dropbox … are making [cloud storage] more acceptable … [and] more easy to use. With that comes acceptance, and any kind of fears of security, fears of data loss, are being alleviated," he said.
In our 2014 Technology Survey, Sponsored by Kareo, 39 percent of respondents said they use cloud storage, and 61 percent said they use software hosted on their own server. That's an increase of 7 percent in cloud users from last year's survey.
Among respondents from independent practices, 47 percent said they utilize cloud storage vs. just 25 percent of practices owned by a hospital or integrated delivery network.
John Squire, president and chief operating officer of Amazing Charts, said most of his clients don't use a cloud solution, even though the company offers both products. "… Eighty to 85 percent are using the on-prem [on-premises software] solution," he says. Since onsite data storage predates cloud storage, Squire feels that it is simply easier for physicians to continue storing and maintaining data on their own servers. However, there are downsides to that solution.
Kosiorek says that cloud storage eliminates many requirements of onsite storage that small practices are really not equipped to handle or fund. "So it's not just the software licensing cost," he says, "It's the cost of maintaining the server, the cost of having the IT people support [the server], it's the cost of maintaining that up-time between their wide-area network at multiple sites."
Full results from the 2014 Technology Survey, Sponsored by Kareo, will be published in the July/August 2014 issue of Physicians Practice and online July 9.