In part one of this blog post we discussed what cloud-based software systems are, and some of the advantages of using software-as-a-service (SaaS) when it comes to medical practice management software.
In part two we’re going to cover some of the potential risks of cloud-based storage, as well as some tips to make sure you find the software you need.
Disadvantages and Risks of Cloud-Based Systems
While they offer many benefits over facility-based servers, cloud-based systems do have some risks and some disadvantages. Primarily those include:
- Performance: when your servers are not on-site, you may notice a lag in file delivery. As long as you have a good high-speed internet connection, this should be minimal.
- Internet: you need reliable high-speed internet to access the information; this can be a challenge for practices in rural areas with less-reliable internet.
- Data security: strict HIPAA privacy laws govern the exchange of protected health information (PHI), so medical clinics that use cloud-based systems must partner with reliable third-party SaaS companies that understand legal requirements and take data protection seriously. The government holds you liable for any data breaches related to your patient information, even if it was the fault of the third-party software provider.
- Compliance: compliance issues may arise when you house all of your information with a third-party. It’s important to have proper business associate agreements (BAAs) in place and ensure staff are properly trained so no improper information is stored or shared in the cloud.
Best Practices for Implementing Cloud-Based Software Systems
Since they do offer so many advantages, a cloud-based system is likely your best option for medical practice management software, medical billing software, EHR, patient portals, telemedicine, and more. Here are a few tips for evaluating which SaaS is best for you:
- Think big. Many practices start evaluating software because they need to solve a single problem, and they end up with a limited system that might meet that specific need but doesn’t integrate with other programs they have. Think about the bigger picture so you can get a fully integrated suite of solutions that all work together seamlessly for a more efficient practice.
- Get buildable solutions. You may not need an entire suite of practice management solutions today but working with a SaaS company that offers integrated solutions can help you build on easily in the future as your practice grows or your needs change.
- Know your needs. Some software programs include amazing features, but if it doesn’t meet your unique needs it will be a frustrating waste of time and money. Don’t be swayed by bells and whistles or slick sales pitches.
- Address security. Data security is paramount, so partner with a HIPAA-compliant SaaS provider. Software built for other industries and adapted to medicine may not have the right HIPAA security, which can get you in trouble down the road.
- Be careful of legacy systems. Software programs built for location-based servers and reconfigured for the cloud through patches and workarounds can come with a lot of headaches; finding a system that was built specifically for the cloud is usually better.
Learn more about AdvancedMD and our full suite of integrated software solutions built as a cloud-based system to help your practice run more efficiently. Get a demo today.