We’ve seen that patients data privacy and liability are two top concerns for PTs as they relate to the adoption of cloud-based EMR systems. Typically there is concern about information getting “hacked” online. We’re here to tell you there’s no need to worry. Cloud computing can actually make your dreams come true.
Below, Jeremy, Heidi, and Paul share with you their experiences attending seminars and educational sessions. Continued education on the most current trends in digital healthcare will serve to enhance WebPT’s features and keep our members at the forefront of physical therapy technology.
This year has been a busy one at WebPT and as we near the end of 2011, we’re thankful to our members for helping us improve our system. The WebPT elves were hard at work late Friday night implementing new features and enhancements provided to us with the help of over 25 members.
As with any web- or cloud-based system, data security is always a top concern. All of the best systems are highly encrypted. WebPT has a 256 bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. For all of the non-geeks out there, that just means that the data is protected as its transferred between servers.
What many users don’t realize is that they need to do their part to ensure the highest possible level of data security. Improve your password! That’s right. Its a seemingly simple part of logging in to do online banking or check your email. Maybe you don’t even think about it. Is your password too tough to crack?
PC Magazine just release the list of Top 25 Worst Passwords for 2011. If yours made the list, it might be time for a change. Some of the worst examples are “password” or “123456.” We were puzzled to find “monkey” and “iloveyou” on the list. Any password that is “guessable” about you is not safe such as your pet’s name or the names of family members. This isn’t meant to alarm anyone, it’s just precautionary. You never know what a nosy co-worker or low-level hacker may attempt.
While looking at an EMR for your clinic, it can be hard to understand what will work for you and what won’t. To add to it, the messages in the industry seem a bit mixed and muddled.
On any given day, you may read an article outlining all of the reasons why EMR adoption is slow and difficult for a non-technical staff. A number of reasons fault the user and not the software.
The next day, you may read an article that shows 25% of clinicians use a Smartphone and a tablet in their day-to-day documentation and patient management.
We have a hard time believing that the same clinicians who are having trouble moving their documentation to the cloud are the same ones who use iPads and Smartphones on a daily basis. While every clinic needs to asses the right technology for their practice, it is up to the providers to know and understand the needs of the therapist. This is not a new idea. Successful businesses listen to their customers and provide a product that solves their problems. By that same token, it is through asking key questions of your EMR provider about thier philosophy and business that can help you to understand who you’re dealing with.
Top 15 Questions to ask your EMR provider
When reviewing EMR providers, you’ll want to ask key questions to understand the quality of the product and the security of your data:
Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar on Cloud technology last week. If you missed the broadcast, you can view the recorded version here at anytime. I wanted to debrief everyone on the highlights of the webinar and also share some of the questions that were asked by attendees.
Here were some of the most common questions about Cloud technology:
- Where is my data stored?
If any of you have used a server-based system in the past, you know that your data was stored underneath your desk or in a closet/private room at your facility. In a cloud-based system, your data is stored in an maximum-security facility complete with armed guards and retina scanning technology.
- How is my data backed up?
The data is backed up regularly and stored in separate, yet equally secure, geographic locations to protect against natural disasters of any kind. In the cloud, your data is protected against flood, fire, burglary, or any other type of unfortunate event that could more easily happen at your clinic. Physical Therapy of Joplin, a WebPT member, was struck by the deadly tornadoes earlier this year. Because their data was stored in our cloud, they were able to recover all their patient information as soon as Internet access was restored.
- What about hackers?
WebPT uses the same SSL encryption that is standard for all online banking applications that you use on a daily basis. The federal government uses this same type of encryption for all of their data and communications. WebPT also employs specialized staff who are well versed in online security measures and who look at ways to further improve security everyday.
9 Ways to lose your wallet on an EMR
Ever feel like you’re getting milked dry? Here’s a look at 9 expected and unexpected costs of implementing an EMR
1. Software Licenses:
Many providers charge for a software license per users. It is important to note the cost and renewal periods of the license.
Technology has become a crucial component to healthcare documentation and management. Many benefits come from Electronic Record keeping including productivity increases, greater security measures as the burden of IT being lifted off of the shoulders of clinic staff. One of the most beneficial technology innovations in healthcare is the development of cloud-based technology.
With new “cloud” technology, comes a lot of questions and concerns. Is it proven? Is it safe? We see a lot of misinformation around the Cloud because it is still fairly new in the healthcare industry, even though this type of technology has really been around for a decade now. Let’s look at a few of those uneasy misconceptions and see if they prove true.
1) Cloud based systems are less secure than traditional server based software making the cloud a much riskier choice for healthcare applications.
This is a common claim, but it’s entirely untrue. Before we begin to debunk this myth, let’s take a look at a recent study on healthcare data breaches. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released data on security breaches and the root cause of such breaches.
The top causes of violations in data breaches were:
- Physical theft.
- Physical loss.
Both of these major security issues are simply alleviated with a cloud based EMR. Where did hacking and spammer related activities fall? Last on the list, accounting only for 6% of violations.
Cloud-based Systems have a stake in their own security. Using WebPT as an example, we take the burden of data protection off of the shoulders of our members. This added value to our product also comes with great responsibility. When is the last time that a private practice invested significant money and resources in an audit of their hardware or security?
2) What happens if my cloud vendor goes out of business?
This is a claim we see quite often and actually has some merit. Healthcare IT is a booming industry and many businesses are trying to get a piece of the action. Because of this, many companies spring up and then fail. Doing adequate research in your decision making process should make it clear who is here to stay and who is trying to make a quick buck.
We can only speak for ourselves on this one. WebPT is the leading PT cloud-based EMR in the industry. We support well over 1,300 clinics across the US and more than 6,500 users log in to our system every day, storing 5,000,000 documents in our cloud. There are many questions you can ask your provider which we’ll address in another article.
3) Taking your business to the cloud means losing control over your valuable data.
Hosting your data / software in the cloud does reduce time and money, but it does not reduce data control. Many SaaS providers give users rights to manage and control their own data. Recovery of data for any reason should be a request your cloud provider can easily accomplish. Make sure that you read the terms of your agreement and ask the right questions when choosing your provider.
4) Cost savings is the only reason anyone would move to the cloud.
The benefits of using the cloud go far beyond the price point. In the cloud, applications are easily scalable, flexible, and constantly updated. When your server-based system needs an upgrade, it can cost your clinic thousands of dollars and a weekend of time. Other reasons to look at the cloud are for:
- Predictable monthly budget
- Your provider is responsible for audits and security testing
- Your provider is responsible for ensuring hardware is refreshed and state of the art
- This is what your provider does for a living – manage servers and data centers. This is his day job, not yours.
- Getting up in running in hours vs. weeks. Just flip a switch and suddenly you’re using a cloud-based application. If you want to install software on every PC in your building and set up a server in your closet, you may be in for some long days.
- Scalability is another huge factor. For every person you hire and PC you purchase, you now have to standardize that computer and load the software on it. With the cloud, you can simpy scale as needed from any device, anywhere.
5) Cloud technology is new and unproven
Have you ever used Gmail or Yahoo? How about iTunes or an app store? Cloud services are tested as vigorously as any other software application. Microsoft runs their entire business “in the cloud” on a SharePoint application running on hundreds of servers that exist in several data centers. There is not one server on-premise in the Microsoft offices. In fact, according to CIO magazine, 90% of Fortune 500s rely on external hosting providers to house some portion of their data.
Downtime is to be expected with any application you use. The benefit that the cloud has over traditional services is its ability to integrate the latest and greatest technology for redundancy and failover measures. The cloud can be upgraded easily Most cloud providers are able to quote over 99% uptime for their applications. The cloud offers simplicity and security while unlocking powerful capabilities for small business without large budgets.
Working together just got easier
Practices with multiple clinics are realizing the benefits of WebPT in a big way. WebPT’s focus on simplicity, compliance, and ease of use make it truly unique. But the biggest headaches for multiple clinics vanish when clinics take advantage of the elegant built-in features that save time and money while enhancing standardization across clinics.
TOP 10 Benefits to Multi-Clinic Practices
There are real benefits to going electronic. Sure you can get rid of the large file cabinets and storage rooms. Yes, you can search patient files making it faster to find what you are looking for. However, the real beauty of electronic medical records is the ability to quickly and easily share important patient data with referring physicians and other healthcare providers as needed.