6 Advantages of Cloud-Based EHR Systems for Optometrists
- Optometrists need user-friendly, cost-effective, scalable solutions for electronic health records and data sharing.
- The leaner, more turnkey solutions provided by top cloud-based EHR systems are better suited to optometry practices than traditional on-site EHR-system hosting.
Electronic health records have been around in some form for decades, but only in relatively recent years have the systems designed to manage them become sophisticated enough to offer bolstered productivity, improved patient-provider interactions, and streamlined workflows. It’s no wonder, then, that optometrists everywhere have begun implementing them in their businesses.
There are two main types of EHR system: on-site and cloud-based. The first is, as the name implies, hosted on the business’ premises on a dedicated server managed by the vendor on behalf of the business or customer. The second relies on the internet for hosting and storage of system software and data on off-site remote servers that’s accessed through the web.
Owing to their distinct needs, optometry practices benefit most from using cloud-based EHR systems.
The sections that follow detail the six major advantages for optometrists of using cloud-based EHR systems.
1. Faster, Easier Implementation
With the optometry market set to grow 4% in 2022, optometrists need new digital systems up and running quickly. Here, cloud-based EHR systems have the clear advantage over their on-site counterparts. Because they are internet-based, there’s no hardware or software to install, saving hours of preliminary work and potential installation problems.
“The ease of deploying a cloud EHR solution is also a bonus for smaller organizations who may not have well-staffed IT teams to manage a full-fledged on premise EHR implementation,” writes Kate Monica in an article for EHRIntelligence. “Simple go-lives can mitigate the stress of a new EHR implementation and help to buoy provider satisfaction.”
2. Seamless Upgrades
When your optometry practice uses a cloud-based EHR system, you can forget about periodic, lengthy updates and data backups, efforts that can disrupt business and greatly increase patient wait times.
Unlike on-site-hosted EHR systems, cloud-based EHR systems are capable of conducting scheduled, automated updates and backups, often during off hours, so there’s no interruption in patient care.
Cloud-based EHR systems automatically update security patches and upgrade to new software versions. An optometrist’s business will always be operating on the latest available system version, ensuring accuracy and security for their patients.
3. Increased Scalability
With a cloud-based EHR system, a growing optometry practice can expand without the usual technology-related kinks. Cloud-based systems allow optometrists to easily add new patients, staff, service lines, providers, and/or locations anywhere there’s an internet connection, from any connected device. And with virtually unlimited numbers of off-site servers to host data, the sky’s the limit when it comes to capacity.
What’s more, with a cloud-based system, additional user accounts and workstations can be added any time — without the reconfiguration of an internal network that on-site EHR systems require.
As an optometrist’s practice grows, so, too, can their cloud-based EHR system.
4. Lower Costs
Price plays no small part in choosing an EHR system. Particularly in the case of independent or new optometry practices, financial bounceback from the implementation of an on-site EHR system system can be a struggle.
“A lot of these [on-site] systems, you have to buy the hardware, the software,” Steve Kelley, CEO of Ellenville Regional Hospital in Ellenville, N.Y., told EHRIntelligence. “You have to install all that stuff — millions of dollars — and you have to install all these licenses, which are typically paid for up-front.
In this area, too, cloud-based optometry EHR systems lead the pack. Because they store data and deploy software off-site, cloud-based EHR systems frequently cost far less in initial outlay than on-site EHR systems, which require pricey hardware, server space, and dedicated technology personnel. Going with a web-based alternative helps an optometry practice save money and focus on increasing its bottom line.
5. Better Interoperability
Fast, easy, and secure data-sharing capabilities are a necessity in today’s healthcare landscape “due to increasing interest in patient engagement, care coordination, [and] telehealth,” writes Jennifer Bresnick in a HealthIT Analytics article. The cloud is innately better suited to secure, seamless data sharing than on-premise EHRs because its usability is far superior.
Ease of use leads to better data exchange, which leads to improved patient/customer outcomes.
“Physicians need to share clinical data with labs, referring physicians, and payers and doing this manually can be difficult and time-consuming,” writes Julie Clements in an article for MOS Medical Transcription Services. “Cloud-based interoperability allows all parties to connect and share healthcare information efficiently and securely to improve the patient experience.”
6. Improved Security
Digital security is top of mind for businesses these days, and rightly so. In 2021, the number of data breaches was the highest yet. Because optometrists routinely handle medical records, their businesses require an extra layer of HIPAA-compliant security.
For the most secure storage of an optometry practice’s data, a web-based EHR system is the way forward. Generally speaking, cloud-based EHR systems trump on-site EHRs with regard to security.
“Cloud services can offer better security and privacy for health data and health systems,” reads a white paper by the Cloud Working Group (formerly the Cloud Standards Customer Council).
“Cloud service provider data centers are typically highly secure and well protected against outsider and insider threats using administrative, physical and technical methods implemented and maintained by expert professional staff. Cloud services can offer sophisticated security controls, including data encryption and fine-grained access controls and access logging.”
A Final Word
RevolutionEHR has all the above-enumerated advantages and more. Designed specifically for optometrists, RevolutionEHR offers a single, secure, cloud-based software platform to increase your practice’s efficiency — anytime, anywhere, from any connected device.
See what RevolutionEHR can do for you and your patients. Request a free demo today.