Posted in EHRs

Why cloud-based EHRs are catching on

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Why cloud-based EHRs are catching on

The healthcare sector historically has been slow to adopt emerging technologies – particularly smaller hospitals and private practices that might lack the necessary budget and in-house IT skills.

But initial concerns about the security of patient data and migration challenges have melted over the past two years as providers have recognized the cost savings, clinical, and management benefits of cloud-based EHRs. A recent KLAS Research survey shows that 90 percent of provider organizations already have data hosted off-premises or are considering it, Modern Healthcare reports.

Andrew Wade, practice administrator at Coastal Orthopedics in South Carolina, tells Healthcare IT News Managing Editor Bill Siwicki that the provider’s existing EHR system couldn’t scale to accommodate growth or help position the facility for value-based care or population health management.

“We didn’t feel ready to perform under our previous systems and were concerned about the ability of our EHR and practice management applications being able to keep up with the changes,” Wade says. “One of the reasons the new system caught our eye was that we wanted to be in a position to jump in quickly and effectively as population health management becomes the new top-of-mind issue within our system.”

In the year since its November 2016 migration to the cloud, Coastal Orthopedics has lowered accounts receivable days, reduced workflow inefficiencies, and enabled support staff and clinicians to spend more time on high-value activities and less on data entry and administrative chores.

Idaho-based Lost Rivers Medical Center was using an antiquated EHR from the mid-1990s that was extending the facility’s revenue cycle and making it difficult to meet mandated deadlines for meaningful use. Replacing it with a newer, in-house EHR meant both a capital outlay and hiring someone to manage it.

“One of the things that became apparent was that the only thing harder for me to recruit than a doctor was a full-time IT guy,” Lost Rivers CEO Brad Huerta tells Modern Healthcare. “Finding anybody that could really manage a server farm or do day-to-day operational pieces you need for non-cloud-based EHRs was almost impossible.”

So the Idaho medical center went all-in on the cloud, moving every one of its IT systems to a hosted, off-premises site. The result has been greater financial stability and better integration of the EHR with other IT systems, all without having to add a salary to the payroll.