5 reasons a cloud-based records system is better for business

By Jamie Frew on Jun 16, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

Get Carepatron Free

Understanding the concept of cloud storage

Cloud-based technology allows your data to be stored by a remote server (instead of a personal hard drive) where it is said to be “on the cloud”. Managing the storage of medical and client data is an integral aspect of working as a healthcare professional, so understanding how the different forms of storage work will allow you to optimize your treatment of records. Electronic health records (EHRs) are systems that contain the entire medical history pertaining to an individual. Using EHRs is very commonplace for healthcare practices, and over 89% of all hospitals were reported to have implemented EHRs in 2020. Storing patient data on cloud-based EHR systems ensures that your information is always accessible, whilst also guaranteeing patient privacy. If you are looking for a more secure and accessible way to manage your data, cloud-based EHR systems are the perfect solution for both small and large practices.  

Click here to view on YouTube

Is it safe to store protected health data in the cloud?

Changing the way that you store your patient data can be daunting for both small and large healthcare practices and will understandably raise privacy concerns. As well as medical records, EHRs contain other kinds of private information, including medical billing and clinical documentation. Health records stored electronically are typically processed through rigorous protection features to guarantee that the data is safe. In saying this, the actual level of security protecting your data is entirely dependent upon the vendor. As such, it is your responsibility to research the vendor and ensure their privacy features are up to scratch. Some of the things you want to look out for include:

  1. Encryption: The medical information that you are storing on the cloud needs to be encrypted before and after it is transferred. It is your responsibility to encrypt the data when it is on your hard drive and research the type of encryption offered by the vendor. Medical information is protected by law, so it should never be stored without encryption. Only a very few people should be authorized to decrypt the data, so even if unauthorized persons gain access, the content won’t be in a readable format.
  2. How much data are you storing? Typically, you will be charged based on the amount of data that you need to store. Different vendors have different capabilities, so make sure the vendor you select can handle the amount of data you are moving to the cloud.
  3. Security standards: The measures that a vendor takes to guarantee data security will vary, so it is up to you to ensure they are up to scratch. Time spent researching and comparing security policies is time spent well!

5 Advantages of a cloud-based EHR for your business

The decisions you need to make when it comes to managing your practice’s EHR can be overwhelming. However, constant increases in the number of healthcare businesses using cloud-based EHR systems have demonstrated that this type of software has significant benefits. SaaS applications that are integrated with EHR allow you to organize and manage data, invoices, appointments, and billing processes on a single secure platform, with many businesses developing software for healthcare practices to support you with these features. Regardless, there are various advantages including:

  1. Simple implementation: Implementing EHR systems into your healthcare practice is remarkably easy, and requires only a computer and internet connection. The other EHR system is known as client-server, and it requires a server, hardware, and software to be installed into your healthcare practice. 
  2. IT requirements: One of the most daunting aspects of implementing EHR systems is learning how to effectively use the technology. This is especially difficult for people who consider themselves novices when it comes to all things technology. A client-server EHR system requires a full team of IT experts to manage the installation of software into your system. With cloud-based EHR systems, the SaaS provider manages everything internally, including frequent software updates. This way, you don’t have to worry about learning about those complicated aspects and can focus on managing your practice!
  3. Reduced costs: Because they don’t require the installation of any new software or hardware, cloud-based EHR systems are fortunately very affordable. You will also save costs in regard to licensing fees, updates, and maintenance. SaaS providers typically charge businesses a monthly fee, so choosing a cloud-based EHR system is definitely the smartest option financially. 
  4. Accessibility: EHRs contain pertinent medical information that needs to be accessed by healthcare providers on a fairly frequent basis. Cloud-based technology allows anyone that is an authorized user to access medical information from anywhere, as long as they have a computer and internet connection.
  5. Scalability: A concern of many small healthcare practices is how they can grow their business quickly and without massive expenditure. Cloud-based systems offer the perfect solution for this; practices can begin with limited features to suit their business needs, and then branch out further as their practice grows.

Guidance on HIPAA & cloud computing

Many private practices looking to implement a cloud-based EHR system are questioning how they can guarantee HIPAA compliance when working with a CSP (cloud service provider). The CSP is a separate company from your healthcare practice, so understanding what their responsibilities are in managing your data can be confusing. As I’m sure you know, HIPAA regulates different aspects of managing confidential information, including limitations on use, safeguarding inappropriate use, and detailing individual rights to access their personal information. Any covered entity, including a healthcare provider or company that processes billing or invoices, must comply with the relevant HIPAA areas. The covered entity and the CSP must enter into a HIPAA-compliant BAA (business associate agreement). This step is critical, and if a healthcare provider uses a CPS to manage and store their data before entering into a BAA, it is considered a breach of HIPAA guidelines. 

If there is a known or suspected breach of security, CSPs have to inform the healthcare provider, allowing you both to take appropriate steps to rectify the breach and protect your clients. Ultimately, however, the exact security measures that the CSP employs do not necessarily have to be regulated, so it is a good idea to run further security checks to ensure that it is a suitable option for your business.

Once you have decided on the right CSP for your healthcare business, it would be wise to conduct EHR training. This will ensure that your employees are fully informed about their responsibilities when it comes to using a cloud-based EHR, and are able to utilize the software as efficiently as possible.   

Final thoughts

Using a cloud-based EHR system has significant benefits for your healthcare practice. We understand that guaranteeing patient privacy is a key concern for all businesses, and hopefully, this guide has informed you of the things to look out for when selecting a cloud-based server. The best cloud-based EHR systems are integrated with various other features designed to optimize your practice and deliver the best quality healthcare possible. Carepatron offers the perfect solution for you! A secure, HIPAA-compliant platform integrated with appointment scheduling, medical billing, and clinical documentation software, it is an affordable option guaranteed to make administrative tasks unbelievably easy!

Health management record

Further Reading:

Join 10,000+ teams using Carepatron to be more productive

One app for all your healthcare work