Healthcare News & Insights

Cloud-based EHRs: 3 keys to choosing a vendor

As providers make the switch to electronic health records, many organizations are considering cloud-based EHR systems. Here are some key points to keep in mind when choosing a cloud computing vendor. 

Cloud-based systems can be a good option for many providers, especially those without an IT staff that can handle the implementation and maintenance of an in-house system.

When the cloud is used, software and data resides on the vendor’s network, so the vendor is responsible for technical support, upgrades and other issues. The healthcare provider simply pays a subscription fee to use the system, avoiding big initial investments for new hardware and software.

In addition to the benefits, however, cloud computing can come with risks. Some providers are concerned about cloud services’ reliability, as well as the security implications of keeping sensitive medical data on another organization’s network.

For providers that decide a cloud-based EHR system is right for them, here are some important factors to consider when choosing a cloud vendor:

  1. Security — The EHR system will hold a lot of sensitive medical data and other information, so it’s important to make sure the vendor takes the proper security measures. Find out what encryption and other technical controls are used, what the vendor’s security policies are, how background checks for employees are performed, and what incident response plans are in place.
  2. Stability — It’s important to choose a vendor that will stick around. Experts recommend looking at how long the vendor’s been in business, whether it’s profitable, whether its customer base is growing, and other factors to gauge the company’s staying power.
  3. Reliability — If an EHR system goes down, that means doctors may not have access to the information they need to care for patients. Even if it’s for a short amount of time, that can be a serious problem. Therefore, when looking at cloud-based EHRs, healthcare organizations should pay close attention to what up-time guarantees are offered in service agreements and check with vendor references about how reliable the systems are.

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