Healthcare practices manage a lot of information daily. They schedule appointments, collect patient data from other organisations, collate information from insurance companies, and the list goes on. With so much to track and store, alongside keeping up with changes in the industry, cloud-enabling or integrating a healthcare practice management solution (PMS) with a cloud service would streamline and enhance operations.
These are four reasons cloud-enabling or integrating a PMS with cloud services would benefit a healthcare practice.
1. Unlock more data storage
As healthcare becomes more sophisticated and new ways of measuring and analysing data become available, the amount of data, and hence the storage requirements to support these, will only ever increase.
Keeping patient data on-premises is a storage liability. New storage capacity needs to be purchased and physically added to servers, file serving systems need to be configured accordingly and often upgraded, and failover and backup systems also need to be made to cope. Sometimes new processes need to be deployed. In smaller practices, the IT systems are sometimes handled by an individual or outsourced to another small business which are themselves points of failure.
Cloud services offer cost-effective, flexible storage options that can grow as you need.
Patient records, high-resolution medical images and videos and all other important documents and data stored in the cloud can be accessed on demand. Cloud services are responsible for the constant availability of data. They have systems in place to monitor and manage server and storage capacity and integrity. They keep the physical hardware maintained and have robust failover and backup systems in place, so there is no risk of data loss.
2. Secure the data
Between January and June 2022, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received the most reports of data breaches from the healthcare industry. And with the high-profile Optus and Medicare breaches earlier this year, data, which was once considered a valuable asset, is a security liability.
Cloud services often come with a base level of cyber security designed to protect their servers from an attack, which they keep up to date with the latest patches and methods. Because their services work with standard web technologies, they offer well-understood, industry-standard ways of adding additional layers of security to services such as encrypted network traffic (data in transit) and encrypted disks (data at rest), which is consistent with healthcare security standards like HIPAA.
Moreover, cloud-based solutions allow for easy scalability as a practice grows, making it easier to manage user accounts and access permissions without worrying about hardware upgrades or other costly investments. By centralising access control, there are multiple layers of protection against hackers or unauthorised use, such as multi-factor authentication and monitored systems that can trigger alarms.
3. Improve care delivery
Healthcare practices routinely collect information from other organisations, such as pathologists and radiologists. Cloud services enable practices to collaborate more effectively by use of web APIs like REST, allowing them to share information and coordinate care across multiple departments or locations. This helps improve the quality of care by ensuring that all providers have access to the same up-to-date patient records.
Cloud services make data accessible when and where it is needed, removing the constraint of having to be in the healthcare practice to gain access to records. That makes some of the non-patient-facing work, such as writing reports and analysing information, doable from home.
Furthermore, cloud services can support practices with tools for innovating and optimising how administrative tasks are managed to remove these burdens from staff. When healthcare practitioners spend less time on repetitive tasks and searching for information, they can focus on providing better patient care.
4. Keep up with changes in healthcare tech
Many practices and organisations have had to innovate alongside new challenges in the healthcare industry. When you integrate cloud services with your practice management software, you can better keep up with changes. Providers can access and leverage the latest technology solutions through these platforms, helping them remain competitive in an ever-evolving industry.
For example, many practices had to shift to telehealth models at the pandemic’s beginning. Practices that already leveraged cloud services could more easily make the shift because they had the technology to share data and set up video appointments.
FST can integrate your practice management software with cloud services
We help organisations move toward a future of connected digital healthcare, making existing systems interoperable and modernising infrastructure to unlock the potential of new technologies.
We can help you identify the relevant opportunities to incorporate modern web services and standards for health information exchange, such as HL7 and FHIR, enabling systems to interoperate with other modern health information exchange technologies from the medical software industry and those already implemented by large healthcare providers such as Government health departments.
Visit our Healthcare Integration Services page to learn more about our capabilities and solutions.