March 17, 2015|Categories: All Things EMR
Growing up in a small town in Georgia, I was no stranger to community hospitals. I saw firsthand how important they are to the community, and how they operated as the hub of health care. They also happen to be one of the largest employers in the community. So when I read articles predicting the demise of many community hospitals, I envision the larger critical threat that exists to the surrounding towns.
It was that thinking, and my belief in the necessity of community hospitals as a part of the future health care landscape, that led me to start the community hospital-focused company RazorInsights (now part of athenahealth) and create a cloud-based inpatient electronic health record (EHR) for that market. The cloud has proven to be the great equalizer for businesses in many ways, and the community hospital market is no exception.
Of all the notable benefits to using a cloud-based EHR, here are four that have a particular value in helping rural and community hospitals thrive:
- Scalability: Unlike onsite hardware infrastructure, you can easily scale your cloud technology solution to manage an ever-growing collection of patient data. Health care providers generally must keep records for at least six years – considering the volume of patient data that is amassed, the likelihood of this overwhelming any onsite IT infrastructure is inevitable. The leading providers of cloud computing and cloud storage solutions are able to adapt to your EHR data load quickly and store terabytes of patient information in secure, redundant cloud storage.
- Cost Reduction: By adopting cloud-computing solutions, both hospitals and physician practices can experience cost savings. Without the requirements to monitor and maintain an application and data services, small hospitals can eliminate the expense of onsite hardware. And physicians’ medical offices avoid paying for hardware infrastructure and maintenance. Additional savings comes from not needing to pay for installed software, updates or add-ons to existing software programs, and on-site IT personnel.
- Sharing: Cloud collaboration via an EHR enables hospitals, private practitioners, doctors, and clinics to improve patient services by opening the pathway for all providers to easily share information. Each authorized caregiver can access a view of patient longitudinal history, diagnoses and treatments, and referrals can happen in a timely manner, with accurate patient information available to the specialist.
- Mobility: The increasing demand for physicians’ time often means they need convenience and flexibility, especially when reviewing patient records or results In the past, this meant being stuck in the office after hours. All that changes with the access that a cloud solution affords, where patient information can be accessed wherever a provider has a laptop (or appropriate mobile device) and an Internet connection.
This is within grasp of every community hospital, having the best technology available at an affordable price. Our nation’s community hospitals deserve no less, as do the people that they serve.
I’ll close with an anecdote that’s meaningful to me. During our first Christmas season at RazorInsights, one of our community hospital client CEOs called me and said, “This Christmas, I am thankful for many things and RazorInsights is at the top of the list. First, we received stimulus money for using your system, which gave us a tremendous boost towards keeping our doors open this year. Second, we are able to use a state-of-the-art system that we never dreamed we could afford. We are able to care for our patients better than ever.”
Ultimately, that’s the goal for all of us.