EHR and Health IT Consulting
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EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Ensuring a Smooth Transition to the Cloud - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers

Ensuring a Smooth Transition to the Cloud - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Moving to the cloud is a smart business move for many medical providers these days. The security, convenience, and scalability are attractive attributes for busy practices that don’t want the hassle of attempting to handle all their IT needs in-house. Plus the mandated move to electronic health records (EHR) is causing many enterprises to rethink their entire IT strategy.

While there are many benefits to moving to the cloud, reaping the rewards takes some serious preparation. Following best practices for pre-migration planning is key to ensuring the success of cloud operations. Sure, planning the move sounds simple, but it’s so simple that many firms fail to do it. The result of inadequate preparation is often lost data.

Check the Paper Trail

First, it’s important for medical practices to look closely at the service-level agreements (SLAs) they have with existing vendors. And then look at them again.

Practice groups should make sure the answers to the following questions are clear:

  • What constitutes an outage: Is it lack of access to service or to data?
  • What does the contract cover in terms of storage, data transfers, metadata functions, and copying and deleting files?

Have an Itinerary

It’s important for practitioners to know where data will “live” during the entire process. There should also be a plan spelling out who is responsible for maintaining the data during the migration. For businesses that can’t afford a lot of downtime, it might be a smart option to replicate data rather than doing a straight transfer.

Then, it’s critical to consider every operation the data touches and how those systems will communicate after the move.

Consider Security

Obviously, testing security is key in any case. But when migrating to the cloud it’s important to test it twice. Security should be checked both before porting the data and again after it resides in the cloud. Keep in mind that some aspects of security may need to be reconsidered after the data is refactored for cloud optimization.

Practice groups should also work with their service providers to formulate a porting plan so they can ensure they have a plan for retrieving data.

The upshot: Working with an IT partner that can understand the critical needs of practices’ data integrity and business continuity is key to ensuring a smooth transfer with minimal interruption.

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Keeping Up With Technology: A Must for Medical Practices | Physicians Practice

Keeping Up With Technology: A Must for Medical Practices | Physicians Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting |
Still carrying around that BlackBerry you've had for the last five years? Still using Microsoft 2003 on that XP machine of yours? Still think the "cloud" is a fad? You might be doing yourself and your business a disservice if you answered "yes" to one or more of those questions.

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology is tough. Change can be hard. It's much easier to keep the status quo and ignore all the technological advances happening around you. The problem is, if you don't adapt and keep up with technology, you'll miss out on all the advancements and benefits it has to offer.

That trusty BlackBerry took too long to embrace touch-screen technology and missed out on creating a robust app store. The result is you can't check into your American Airlines flight on your phone, you can't use Hailo to get a cab, you can't access your Google Drive documents, and you can forget about looking up restaurant reviews on Yelp. Basically, even though switching to an Android or iOS device may be inconvenient in the short-run, the long-term benefits are well worth it. You'll have to learn how to use a new tool but that took has far more uses.

Technology in the workplace can mean the difference between a successful business and a failing business. Capable hardware and efficient software will keep your office running in tip-top condition and will allow your employees to focus on their jobs instead of troubleshooting their computers.

Look into Web-based programs that can be accessed remotely and that have export features that allow you to easily extract the data you need. Productivity suites like Google Documents are free and offer a comparable experience to the costly Microsoft Office standard (Google documents are compatible with MS Word). If you have to use Microsoft Office, don't skip on more than one major update. The difference between Word 2007 and Word 2010 is probably greater than you think.

The anxiety in introducing new technology to your office staff lies in the assumption that each employee has a different adoption threshold; some will "get it" and others will struggle. That's not as big of a hurdle as it's been in the past, as technology has become more uniform. Most people have a smartphone of some design, and many have households with smart TVs, multiple computers, and other universal technologies. Like all things, it may take a day or two for your staff to become comfortable with the new work flow, but your bottom line...and talent pool...will appreciate it.

In summary, don't be afraid to try new technology. If there's a hot new device or productivity program, there's probably a reason for it being so popular. Don't turn your practice into a technological ghost-town. Think about what your competition is doing.

In regards to technology, it’s good to be a leader and it’s also good to be a follower ... just make sure you’re one of them versus neither of them.
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