The Advantages of Cloud-based Health IT - Part II: Cost

Cloud-based electronic health record systems, practice management software and other IT solutions are essential for your practice because they promote security and privacy. But by the same token, opting for cloud computing also represents a wise investment for your organization because it is more cost-effective and easier to maintain.

By selecting a cloud-based system that is simple and easy to operate, you can make an initial adoption and integration period as smooth as possible. That means your business sees a quicker return on investment. From there, improved efficiency and greater capabilities further drive a chance for savings.

Here's a few of the financial benefits of adopting cloud-based health IT solutions:

Initial cost
When it comes to cloud computing, software or hardware-based solutions simply can't compete in terms of upfront costs. There are inflated expenses related to setting up or installing new technology, and real disruptions to your practice's daily output are also a risk. Capterra found that many organizations already end up spending tens of thousands of dollars more than they expected when trying to get a new EHR platform up and running. Opting for a more complicated platform could exacerbate the problem.

Cloud-based systems are different. The integration process is simple and straightforward, and because the best platforms are designed to work on many different computer operating systems, unforeseen delays or errors are less likely. You need not overhaul your existing technology landscape; cloud-based health IT platforms conform to your current solutions.

At the same time, the best vendors operate platforms that are intuitive and easy to use, and they offer training programs and support that make the integration process smoother. In this way, not only are initial costs lower with cloud-based systems, but also it's possible to keep expensive lapses in production to a minimum.

Efficient upkeep
The cost savings associated with cloud-based systems really come to light beyond the adoption period. Healthcare Informatics found providers are often shocked to learn a hardware- or software-based platform becomes less reliable and more difficult to use over time. Herb Taylor, IT director at the East Georgia Healthcare Center Inc., explained this problem prompted a change in EHR solutions for his organization.

"Computing and processing speed started getting slow," Taylor said. "So we could either spend a bunch of money on hardware upgrades or evaluate cloud-based options."

When providers store software locally, it often requires manual upgrades and monitoring. And like your home PC, newer versions of an operating system may not be as compatible with your organization's existing computing power, running more slowly and dealing with new errors. Cloud-based platforms don't face the same problems that local systems do, and for that reason, your practice stands to save money. 

You can reduce your reliance on IT support and even make personnel changes. You may end up spending less capital on upgrading and maintaining digital platforms and also benefit from fewer unforeseen expenses down the line. 

Realizing greater capabilities
Cloud-based systems represent an investment that carries a relatively low upfront cost and more reasonable upkeep. But because cloud-based tools can make your practice more powerful, you can achieve other savings many years after adoption.

For example, if patients and partners can securely access practice management software, collection rates may improve. It becomes easier to pay outstanding bills remotely, and your administrative staff can better track reimbursements. In fact, by using the best medical billing software, providers can increase revenue by an average of 5 percent in just two months.

Cloud-based systems can improve your practice's financial situation in many additional ways by making daily tasks more simple and reliable.

Editor's note: This is part two in a three part series on cloud-based health IT solutions. Stay tuned for our final piece where we discuss flexibility and access.

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Kevin McCarthy's picture

Kevin McCarthy

Industry News Editor

An avid traveler and news junkie, Kevin covers a range of topics from healthcare technology to policy and regulations. As a former journalism student, he enjoys finding stories relevant to small practices and is passionate about keeping them informed. Before joining NueMD, Kevin worked for Turner Broadcasting as a Programming Intern where he conducted legal research and contributed to editorial content development. He received his bachelor's degree in Communication from Kennesaw State University and currently serves as the Industry News Editor at NueMD.

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