The Advantages of Cloud-based Health IT - Part III: Efficiency

In part one and two of this series, we uncovered how opting for cloud-based health IT solutions is one of the most secure and cost-effective ways to bring meaningful change to your practice. Data is safer in the cloud, and operational expenses are lower with these sorts of platforms.

Cloud-based solutions are also more efficient than competing systems. Using the cloud makes it possible to promote flexibility and mobility within your organization, allowing you to offer care that is modern and convenient.

Here are just a few ways cloud computing can revolutionize your practice:

Improved outcomes
Cloud-based IT platforms help health providers save money in a number of ways, and this possibility revolves around operational efficiency and convenience. Saving precious time throughout a work day allows clinical staff and administrators to do more. Less pressure and reliable access to pertinent information helps medical professionals deliver higher-quality care and be more methodical in their work. For example, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found the adoption of health IT solutions like electronic health record systems helped promote a 17 percent drop in hospital-acquired conditions between 2010 and 2014. Opting for cloud-based solutions further drives the possibility for efficiency.

Clinical staff and administrators have even greater, more reliable access to health records, billing statements and other forms or pieces of information. And even if daily tasks or encounters are slightly more efficient, the time savings can quickly add up. And with the cloud, these individuals aren't tethered to a single computer or work station, maximizing flexibility as well. All told, it becomes easier for medical professionals to do their work in a more effective way.

Mobility
Cloud-based systems help make life easier for your employees. Statista found that in 2015, 84 percent of physicians reported using a smartphone for their work. With cloud computing that offers applications for smartphones and tablets, doctors can quickly pull up a patient's EHR on-the-go and just as reliably document an encounter following an appointment.

In this way, doctors need not shuffle from room to room or stress about long hours at a PC. Your staff can work in-step with their pace and using the cloud, it's possible to safely and reliably access everything they need to be successful. 

Access and convenience
Whether it's reviewing an EHR, researching a new medication or simply sending an email, the ability to integrate mobile computers into everyday life at your practice is the cornerstone of modern convenience. The best IT vendors even offer offline settings so that working through a quick lapse in Wi-Fi connection or during a power outage is possible.

All told, cloud-based systems put the best, most modern tools into your staff's hands wherever they may be. It allows for more flexibility in designing workspaces and makes delivering care a more efficient and dynamic prospect. 

Patient support
Your patients also benefit from cloud-based systems. A secure online interface makes it simpler than ever to schedule an appointment.  Inside an exam room, check-ups are quicker and more effective because the doctor has a patient's health records right at his or her fingertips. And as the patient heads home, and administrator has already sent a review and a bill via email.

The benefits for patients extend far beyond a single encounter. Patient portals powered by the cloud allow for easy collaboration with health professionals in a convenient and private way. Providers can also securely pass along educational materials, bits of advice and other supportive information, giving the patient tools to make better choices.

Cloud-based systems also allow for online prescription management, so a physician can update medication orders and dosages remotely and in a way that is most convenient for your practice, patients and pharmacies.

A scalable model
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of cloud computing solutions is that they can be tailor-made and updated much more easily than software-only or hardware-based platforms. In this way, your IT infrastructure can grow with your organization.

Cloud-based solutions can also be the catalyst that allows for new business. Practice management is more efficient, and you stand out as a modern option for patients looking for a new provider. And should your organization begin to expand, you need not invest in new IT systems. Solutions that use the cloud are scalable in a way that doesn't require new expensive new hardware or painful integration periods. Instead, these solutions grow with your business, minimizing disruptions and promoting high-quality care every step of the way.

Work with a vendor to identify goals for the future. In this way, you can ensure you are not only using cloud-based solutions to grow your business, but at the same time you understand how the same Whether you're adding a few new patients to your practice or integrating an entire new clinic to a larger network, the cloud is an essential tool.systems will be used on a larger scale.

Editor's note: This is the final article in a three part series on cloud-based health IT solutions. Part one discussed the security advantages of a cloud-based system while part two explored the cost benefits.

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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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