Overcoming Skepticism for Healthcare Cloud-based Solutions

August 29, 2014

Considering the cloud for your medical practice data? Here are four strategies to get your medical practice more familiar with this health IT solution.

Throughout history, we have seen man resist technological advancements before endorsing them. Greek philosopher Plato's allegory of the cave is a testament of this predicament, and of man's "frightening" quest towards facing truth, a quest which many shy away from. However, once you seek truth, you'll want more. The same is the case with health IT, especially cloud-based solutions. Once you get past the initial quandary, you'll realize that it is beneficial for the whole industry including your practice and clients.

You might have numerous questions about the actual benefits associated with shifting to cloud-based systems, questions pertaining to the reliability of these systems, and whether they "go down" or "crash," and most importantly if they're safe because they will contain invaluable patient, practice, and clinical data. Or you might simply be frightened by the prospect of switching all your work flow to computers and whether you'll be able to adapt to this transformation of sorts.

This article will make use of several simple, tried and tested methods in addition to useful and relevant health IT information and techniques to remove the cloud of uncertainty commonly associated with these cloud solutions.

1. Realizing the benefits and costs

First, in regards to learning how to use these systems, know that you weren't born a doctor. However, once you learned to operate surgical tools, it significantly enhanced your skill. Moreover, look at all the devices around you and how they've benefitted your practice. With all your records just a click away, the benefits will be immense. You will learn how to use these solutions, as a huge proportion of the industry is doing so. Over time, the shift to computers will rise so why not learn sooner rather than later.

You need to make a proper cost-benefit analysis of a health IT system for your practice to weigh the pros and cons. If the former outweighs the latter, the technology will be beneficial for your practice. Whether the problem is related to consequently reallocating your staff, the management of data, or anything else, you'll be one step closer to correcting it once you've identified it.

2. Free trials, demos, and tutorials

Most of the latest health IT vendors that supply EHR, practice management, and similar solutions offer free trials before you make the actual purchase. You can use this trial period to test the technology, and to identify their strengths and weaknesses. By addressing many of the fears regarding this technology (such as how to enter and access patient data), you will surely develop a few points in favor of the systems.

Moreover, once you've identified the issues, you can ask your vendor to customize them according to your needs, such as to simplify the patient menu. Additionally, you can access tutorials and demos or contact vendor customer service representatives to address many of your queries.

3. Staff endorsement

One of the biggest problems your practice might be incurring when you make the switch, or are thinking of doing so is that of managing the new system. For this, you need to educate the staff. Demos and tutorials are the best option here too. Once you've given the staff their respective logins, designate responsibilities just as you had done on a non-cloud system. This way, the workload will be manageable and coordination will increase. Consequently, when the workload is divided, all the concerned parties will realize more and more of the benefits of health IT.

4. Security

Finally, the security dilemma is a huge one for every practice. Sharing patient information and the threat of this data getting stolen is one that looms large over the provider's head. Education on the topic will help clear many of the discrepancies associated with this aspect of health IT. There are password-protected logins which mean that only those with logins have access to this information. Furthermore, you can set the levels of access for different individuals, and the right to transfer information to labs, other clinics, and pharmacies is not with a third-party but with you.

Following these steps, guidelines, and recommendations will help address many of your queries regarding health IT. Change is inevitable and it is coming, and now is the perfect time for you to endorse the change and watch your practice flourish.

Daniel Schwartzis a content strategist, digital marketing specialist, and a health IT expert who provides perceptive, engaging, and informative content on industry wide topics including EHR, practice management, interoperability, revenue cycle management, regulation, compliance and security. Follow him on Twitter: @dschwartz20.