Healthcare News & Insights

Doctors turning to web-based EHRs

Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system can be a huge undertaking, especially for a smaller physician practice. But those providers are finding a way to reap the benefits of EHRs without as big an investment: 

Using web-based software.

EHR software that’s housed on the vendor’s servers and accessed by the practice through an online connection is becoming more popular, according to a recent report from Kalorama Information. Those web-based EHR systems were the segment of the EHR market that saw the largest growth in sales, the report says.

Those systems are sold mostly to private, office-based physicians and are becoming more popular as those organizations start to catch up in EHR adoption. Overall, sales of EHR systems to physicians grew 22% from 2010 to 2011, which was higher than the growth of EHR sales to hospitals.

Web-based EHRs can benefit smaller practices because they’re typically paid for using a monthly fee, rather than a big up-front purchase. Also, because the system is housed and maintained by the vendor, healthcare organizations don’t need in-house IT expertise for support.

These systems are part of a larger IT strategy called cloud computing that’s become popular over the past few years. Basically, cloud computing services are IT services that are hosted by a vendor and then parceled out to clients who pay subscription fees.

Just under half (48%) of healthcare organizations say they plan to use cloud services as part of their IT infrastructure in the near future, according to a recent survey conducted by Healthcare IT News. That’s in addition to the 33% that are already using the Cloud, leaving just 19% that don’t use cloud computing and don’t plan to do so.

Organizations must be careful about how they select cloud vendors — choosing the wrong provider can lead to problems with data security and reliability, among other things. See our earlier post for advice on choosing a vendor for a cloud-based EHR.

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