Securing Your Web-Based EHR System
EHR (Electronic Healthcare Record) systems are virtually crucial for most healthcare providers. Currently, about eight in every ten medical practitioners have adopted the software, thanks to its immense benefits.
The revolutionary software lets you access patient records in an efficient, advanced way. It combines various systems within the healthcare facility and provides instant access to every element of an individual’s medical records.
Other attractive capabilities of EMR software include:
- Multiple records access at the same time
- Prescription cross-checking
- Insights into patient referrals
- Insurance fee schedules
- Enhanced reporting capabilities
- Remote access via a secure internet connection
- Secure access in compliance with HIPAA regulations
Numerous reasons prompt practitioners to switch to advanced EMR systems. It’s indeed an excellent approach to patient care and streamlines data flow. But is your web-based EMR secure? How accessible is your data?
Just because you’ve stored it on the cloud doesn’t mean you don’t need backups.
The Need for an Off-Site Backup
Apart from the requirements of HIPAA regulations, it’s generally a great practice to deploy robust backups for smooth operations.
Your cloud-based data may be affected by cyberattacks and data breaches. If you don’t have suitable backup copies for your critical files, assessing a patient’s condition and providing the appropriate remedy would be difficult.
HIPAA regulations mandate that covered organizations maintain a security incident procedure and contingency plan for any emergency or natural disaster that may threaten EMR safety. While cloud services and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) may be convenient, failing to deploy offline cold storage means that an attack can affect your web-based backups.
EMR Backup Options
When exploring the available backup strategies, you have two options: cloud-based and on-site. Both approaches have good and bad sides, and your choice depends on your needs and nature of operations.
Here’s an in-depth overview of the two available options:
This option keeps your patient medical data in your local data center. It’s common in healthcare facilities that have an IT department whose servers store massive amounts of data. Typically, you’ll keep your data on-site and house it within in-house servers, but you can also accommodate it off-site in different facilities.
Both cases give you physical access to your data, and IT staff will regularly back up every system file and protect the servers’ physical locations from damage or theft.
Benefits of the Client-Server EMR Data Storage
Although the cloud-based EMR approach is gaining traction, it may not be perfect for your practice. Here are the key benefits of a client-server EMR:
- Less lag time or latency when accessing data – Cloud-based EMR relies on the web, so you need high-quality internet access. If you struggle with connectivity issues or low-speed internet access, the cloud-based option isn’t ideal. Instead, go for a client-server EMR that you can access both online and offline.
- Your data is prioritized – With this option, your in-house IT team will prioritize your data. Instead of counting on third parties for data backups, patient files security, system updates, and data management, your team will do the job. Otherwise, you’ll be at the mercy of your SaaS provider if their system crashes.
- More customization options – Your cloud-based SaaS provider uses specific systems and tools to manage your data, and you don’t’ have control over these functionalities. But a client-server EMR is more customizable to fit your staff and practice. Thus, you’ll enjoy greater flexibility with your online data storage and management.
- Accessibility – Most practitioners struggle to access patient data securely from any device or location. Staff can’t access data remotely. If you’re concerned about access to sensitive data, then the client-server EMR should be the preferred choice.
- Instant notifications of errors or security breaches – When your SaaS provider experiences an issue, you’ll likely not be the first person to learn about it. Most of these third parties focus on fixing the problem before notifying you. An in-house IT function will inform you of the events in real-time, and you’ll work on a solution without guessing the fate of your data.
This EMR option stores your crucial data through third-party cloud computing services. As a result, your patient records won’t be on a single physical site but in the cloud. If your practice lacks a functional IT department or has an overloaded team, leveraging a cloud-based EMR will relieve your organization from the data storage burden.
Benefits of a Cloud-Based EMR system
Healthcare providers are turning to cloud-based systems for several reasons. Here are the primary benefits that make this system more appealing:
- Lower implementation costs – Implementation is among the most significant challenges with EMR systems, costing organizations about $23,000 annually. A cloud-based solution doesn’t require any hardware or software deployment, hence reducing the setup costs substantially.
- Cheaper and simpler system management and maintenance – Apart from the lower installation costs, cloud-based storage is more affordable to use in the long run. You’ll pay a standard monthly subscription for data uploads and management, making it the best alternative for small and medium-sized healthcare practices.
- Scalability – Cloud-based servers let you scale your practice’s data usage securely as it grows. You can add new users, locations, or physicians to the system, making it the ideal resource for new or growing healthcare providers who want to match their functionality with larger health organizations.
- Proper utilization of IT resources – Your SaaS provider will oversee your data, hence no direct intervention by your IT team. Established practices will have their staff focuses on other activities, while their smaller counterparts will eliminate the cost of hiring IT experts.
- Improved accessibility – EMR makes it challenging to access crucial files securely from various locations. The client-server EMR grants access to devices with the EMR software, limiting access by staff outside the office. But with the cloud-based option, your teams will access data files remotely, allowing effective collaboration between your teams.
Cloud Based EHR Services & Consulting
With HIPAA regulations requiring organizations to store their patient records digitally, most practitioners have gradually migrated from paper-based data management to the revolutionary Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems.
When making this move, you must pay attention to several considerations. Notably, both the cloud-based and in-house servers have unique benefits, but it all depends on your needs and the system that best serves your current infrastructure and workflow.
The above insights will help you choose what works for you. You can also talk to us for more professional guidance and insights secure into EMR deployment and usage.
With over 35 years in the business of supporting and implementing technology for the SME market, and 6 years previously in Corporate IT and Voice. I have seen a great deal of change. The only common thread is I have always focused on the Business Wise application of Technology. We always try to look 5 years ahead of the current technology to make sure our clients are on the right track to meet current and future needs.