Cloud computing has become the new normal in healthcare IT management. It is no longer an “if” but a “when” for growing healthcare practices. The question now has become “what type of cloud is right for my practice?” The unique needs of each practice require cloud solutions that are crafted to fit the environment, rather than the environment crafted to fit the cloud.
The variations of cloud offerings are plenty, but four service-types dominate the marketplace and alleviate a myriad of practice pains.
Here’s how four practices reaped the benefits of cloud computing through four different cloud offerings.
Private Cloud – Minnesota Eye Consultants, P.A.
Minnesota Eye Consultants is a 30-provider practice and national leader in Ophthalmology. With six locations throughout the Minneapolis Metro, Minnesota Eye Consultants has an IT environment that is both complex and extremely critical to the success of their practice.
For nearly 10 years, Minnesota Eye Consultants provided a secure and reliable experience for their 300+ users, so much so that most of their users don’t even know they’re working in a private cloud every day.
Their whole IT infrastructure, including their EHR, Practice Management and business productivity applications are hosted in Netgain’s private cloud – a dedicated, secure environment.
For Minnesota Eye Consultants, this model offers a balance of control and peace of mind. With all their IT needs being handled by one cloud provider, they find comfort knowing they don’t have to sacrifice security, support or productivity.
Minnesota Eye’s providers connect to their applications anywhere they have an Internet connection. And when support issues arise, users are able to call one number to receive support across their entire hosting environment.
Hybrid Cloud – Home Health Practice
A national organization of privately-owned companies that provides various levels of personal services to individuals with support needs balances cost-effectiveness and performance with a hybrid model of cloud computing. The practice employs approximately 4,000 people and currently provides support to over 4,000 individuals across 14 states. One cloud service provider, Netgain, manages their public and private cloud solutions.
For email and basic office productivity application, the practice uses Office 365. This is a public cloud, subscription-based solution that offers the Microsoft office suite including Outlook through an Internet browser. The practice has found that this shared-resource solution offers the features they need at a price that is right for their organization.
For their applications that require greater performance, reliability and security, the practice implemented a private, on-premise cloud solution – Netgain’s PremiseCloud. This private cloud solution features dedicated resources like storage, compute and processing power to ensure their users are able to access securely from anywhere at any time. This approach is appropriate to specialty workloads that require higher performance, availability, and flexibility than remote cloud solutions might offer.
Public Cloud – Dental Practice
Unlike the home health practice in the hybrid cloud example, the dental practice is a small practice with two providers and five support staff.
The technology needs of the clinic are relatively simple. They have one physical location, a cloud-based EHR and minimal business productivity applications. Because their IT environment is not complex, the practice is an ideal candidate for public cloud solutions.
The clinic uses a public cloud-based EHR that is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. By working with a cloud-based EHR, they eliminate the need for a large, upfront infrastructure investment. This also keeps the support, resource scaling and security requirements as responsibilities of the EHR, not the practice.
Business productivity applications are also run in the public cloud, utilizing Office 365. This also keeps the practice’s responsibility and investment at a minimum.
The practice works with a field service or managed service provider for on-site support of workstations and ancillary devices like printers, scanners and fax machines.
The public cloud is an ideal and economical solution for the dental clinic because their need for flexibility and customization is minimal.
Multi-Cloud – Ophthalmology Practice
A 16-provider, 8-location practice treating a multitude of eye conditions uses Integrity for its ophthalmology-specific, cloud-based EHR software. The cloud-based EHRs are stored on external servers and accessed via the Internet. While all of the subscribing clinics share a pool of resources and storage, the individual clinic and user data is separated by user-access roles.
The Ophthalmology Practice chose a cloud-based EHR because of the quick and simple implementation, lower upfront costs and scalability. Integrity handles the hardware, software and user support.
For the rest of their business applications, storage and disaster recovery needs, the practice uses a private cloud solution. This solution is delivered and managed by Netgain, a healthcare-specific cloud service provider. The private cloud environment allows the practice a level of security, availability and reliability that they weren’t able to get in the public cloud.
Each cloud offering addresses each practice’s unique needs and challenges. When determining which cloud environment is right for your practice, it’s important to evaluate your current IT landscape and 18-24 month roadmap.
Involve an expert that has experience in configuring varying types of clouds. Choosing the right cloud environment can improve your user experience and peace of mind.
Check out our eBook on Choosing the Right Cloud for Your Practice for more insight on differentiating your cloud options.