The healthcare software as a service (SaaS) industry has grown 20% every year since 2011, and is expected to reach $51.9 billion by 2024. According to Gartner Forecasts, worldwide public cloud revenue is expected to grow 6.3% this year and to continue growing for years to come[1] It is safe to say, in both the public and private cloud markets, that cloud adoption and SaaS isn’t just growing, it is mainstream. Still, many medical practices are unsure whether it is the best fit for their business strategy and IT systems. This post outlines the primary benefits of moving to the cloud.

About Cloud Computing/SaaS

“The cloud” refers to servers accessed over the Internet, and the software databases that run on those servers. When you use cloud computing, you no longer need to manage physical servers yourself or buy, maintain and upgrade servers in your office. This allows your team to access information they need from nearly any device, anywhere with an internet connection. Software as a service (SaaS) is the largest market segment in the cloud market.[2] SaaS is cloud-based software that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. SaaS software, servers, and databases are maintained by the IT SaaS provider and paid for via monthly subscription.

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We suggest migrating to the cloud because…

It is Cost Effective

The drivers to consider cloud migration vary between organizations. The most common catalyst is the fact that it is a more seamless and less costly alternative to replacing old, poorly performing hardware. When you move to the cloud, you reduce the need for on-site IT intervention and support to maintain your servers. Your onsite team will still be responsible for local workstation, printer, and scanner set up. However, you do not need to rely on them to maintain your server or software programs, which lowers your overall costs over time. Additionally, when you move to the cloud, you don’t need to spend money on upgrading software, which will keep your IT infrastructure costs low.

It is Secure

Dedicated SaaS offers an unparalleled level of attention to detail when it comes to data security. Reputable IT SaaS providers are in-tune with the stringent regulations your practice must comply with, including HIPAA. Data in the cloud may be more secure than hardware on an on-site server because it is regularly monitored by experts who have access to network information which is updated on a continuous basis. This information may include alerts about new viruses, internet scams and other vulnerabilities. Reputable cloud vendors provide robust security features to protect your patient’s data such as single-point access and file encryption. Additionally, they will regularly review backups of your data. In our experience, we have found that onsite IT teams and local IT consultants don’t always have the time or system-specific expertise to ensure your data is fully secure and backed up. In one case, we analyzed a server environment in which the practice thought its data was backed up regularly by an outside service. Because we had system-specific expertise, we took a deeper look at their data logs and found that the practice had not had a full back up in 3 months. If the practice’s server had gone down during that time, it would have suffered catastrophic data loss and significant expense and lost opportunity while restoring the data.

It Grants your Practice Peace of Mind

When you work with a cloud provider, you enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your sensitive data and the systems that drive your practice’s workflow are protected from disaster, always up-to-date, and consistently secure and backed up. If you have an onsite server, what would happen if a disaster struck today? How much downtime would you experience before your employees would be working again with up-to-date data? The dynamics change when you migrate to the cloud. Since your data is stored in the cloud, a local disaster will not harm your network infrastructure in the cloud. Cloud vendors ensure there is always data redundancy, which means that your data is always held in more than one place at a time. This is done for backup and recovery purposes so that if one iteration of the data is compromised, you have a backup version of the data. Additionally, if a server that hosts your cloud data is impacted, it is backed up on multiple cloud servers so that your network data is always accessible. Beyond physical security, you also enjoy the peace of mind of knowing the hardware where your data is stored is professionally maintained and your system is current.

It is Custom to your Needs

A reputable cloud vendor is not only motivated to ensure that your system is up and running, it is motivated to ensure the system is functioning well for your practice’s specific needs. For example, your practice may have a warranty with your hardware vendor promising to respond to any server issues within a certain amount of time. However, while your hardware vendor is motivated to repair the service and bring it up and running, it has no obligation to bring it to the functional status for your practice. Because of this, practices are often left scrambling to restore their data backups and re-install their EHRs on their own or with third-party resources. In a cloud-hosting environment, your SaaS provider will take a holistic view and ensure all of your data and systems are up, running, and functioning well for your needs. It is in a SaaS provider’s best interest  to remedy any issues immediately to ensure customer satisfaction remains high.

It is Accessible and Mobile

Your practice is busy, and it is increasingly important that your providers and staff be able to access patient data in a timely manner. Cloud-based EHRs enable you to have anywhere access to the data you need, when you need it. This means that you can use any device with an internet connection to access your EHR, regardless of your location. There is no longer a need to store the information on a physical server in your office and connect it to an onsite portal. The cloud enables on-the-go access as healthcare becomes increasingly virtual. 

Bottom Line: 

Migrating to the cloud brings a level of peace of mind that an on-site server and other hardware simply cannot deliver. Relying on a cloud hosting provider means your medical practice is free to focus on delivering outstanding service and care to your patients. When you choose cloud migration, you enjoy freedom from worry about the risks associated with downtime, data security, the costs associated with system upkeep, and potential legal liabilities. Cloud migration is the cost effective, secure, compliant, worry free, and modern choice to enable your team to provide outstanding services and care, anywhere.