6 Attributes of a Preferred EHR Cloud Provider

NetgainHealthcare IT

Your EHR is the lifeblood of your practice. Likely the most critical aspect of your practice’s productivity. Yet, so many practices don’t properly research where their EHR is hosted. We’ve developed a checklist of best practices to help you find the best cloud provider for your EHR.

Forty-four percent of EHR products are web-based or hosted, according to a recent survey by Capterra, a service designed to help businesses find the right software. The survey also reports that 51 percent of the EHR products in their directory are cloud-based.

Chances are your practice’s EHR is in the cloud – or will be soon. So how do you make sure it works best for you? Here are 6 key considerations that lead to a successful EHR cloud strategy:

Service provider longevity
The rapid adoption of the cloud has resulted in an uptick of technology providers offering varying degrees of cloud services. Take the time to understand how long they have been in existence and specifically how long they have been providing cloud services.

Experienced cloud providers will have a deeper understanding of the technology required to offer the levels of performance and availability your practice needs.

Industry specialization
Healthcare IT is a complex industry not only because of the regulatory compliance but also the critical nature of the system’s performance. When you’re choosing an EHR hosting provider, ensure they specialize in healthcare systems and operations. Ask your provider how many EHR software applications they host, how many practices they serve and how many Business Associate Agreements (BAA) they have in place. We also recommend calling references that are using the same EHR, are in the same specialty or are about the same size as your practice.

Service Level Agreement flexibility
Cloud Service Level Agreements (SLAs) vary greatly between public and private cloud providers. Private cloud providers are often able to provide slight variations in their SLAs to cater to the unique needs of your practice. Some of these variations, like support response times or latency allowances, can result in significant performance and availability differences for your EHR.

Private telecom
Telecom may be the single most important piece of your cloud infrastructure. Especially for business-critical applications like your EHR, telecom can make or break user productivity. Consult with your EHR hosting provider about private telecom options for your practice. The improvements in security, performance and availability will be well worth the investment.

Storage options
The transition from paper records to electronic health records has caused exponential growth in electronic data for healthcare practices. The cost of storing this data over time is likely to be the single greatest IT cost for your practice.

Cloud providers can mitigate this cost and enhance EHR performance by offering tiered storage solutions that archive data based on its recovery and availability needs. Check if your cloud provider offers tiered storage as a way to curb storage costs.

Public cloud integration strategy
Even though a public cloud platform is not recommended for EHR, there are instances or applications, like Office 365 or perhaps your lab software, where a public cloud may be a good fit. For most healthcare practices, a cloud strategy that integrates both private and public cloud solutions will likely provide your users with the best experience.

Your EHR is your practice’s lifeblood. If your practice is looking to cut corners in technology, your cloud strategy is not the place to do it. Invest in a cloud solution that promises the levels of availability, flexibility and performance that your practice needs to be successful.