Someone once said they never invented a sword that doesn't cut from both sides. Using a cloud service to store EHRs (electronic health records) is no exception.
As I noted last week, the consensus is that medical practices will have little choice but to turn to SaaS as the requirements for reimbursement from Medicare grow more complex. For most health care professionals, the alternative -- hire IT professionals to run their systems -- is beyond their reach.
Even if you're not in health care, what I say here is applicable to just about any business considering putting their business essentials in the cloud.
I don't take back any of what I said last week about using SaaS; I'm just reinforcing that it's not something you should go into blindly.
Crown jewels in the cloud
First off, if all of your patient records are to be in the cloud, this is not an area to buy bandwidth on the cheap. You will need a commercial-grade line.
But the biggest issue around using a service in the cloud is keeping the crown jewels -- in health care, that would be patient records -- off site.
[ For more on cloud computing's impact on IT, see "The dangers of cloud computing," "Cloud options for IT that IT will love," and "Nick Carr: The many ways cloud computing will disrupt IT." ]
And it's not just loss of data or exposure of private or confidential information. Your company also faces a real loss of revenue if you have an integrated system and the service provider who designed the system hasn't taken everything into consideration, says Alex Adamopoulos, executive vice president and COO at Exigen Services, an application outsourcing services provider.
"There will be a cost equation if you don't plan well," Adamopoulos says.
Go beyond word of mouth when choosing a provider
Unfortunately, today most medical practices -- I dare say most businesses -- rely on word of mouth.
Let me tell you about how much you can trust the judgment of your peers.