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Customer Experience and Design

Why are Cloud Technologies Leaping to the Top?

Providers are increasing their reliance on cloud technology to better address organizational hiccups and bottlenecks. Why? Because cloud technology allows resources to be accessed on demand, which results in a more effective and efficient work force, stronger operations and better customer care. It is a low-cost option that blows the competition out of the water.

Cloud-based EHRs
With the meaningful use mandate and new legislation, many organizations are “improving” operations by implementing new EHR systems. These systems are costly but provide great value to organizations and patients. However, cloud- based EHRs are leaps and bounds above the traditional pre-packaged EHRs, because cloud-based EHRs aggregate the data from multiple, disparate, internal and external sources into a single record or view. This type of EHR is secure and accessible from anywhere, but more importantly – it puts the burden (and possibly liability) of security and maintenance on the vendor instead of the organization.

Healthcare, believe it or not, is becoming a “social” business that connects, interacts and collaborates internally and externally to accomplish its goals (i.e. proper diagnosis, high outcomes and low costs). To better connect and communicate the industry must rely on cloud technology to overcome the “information gap” – that is the gap between the “consumer” or patient and the information they need.

To date there are numerous “widgets” that will accurately capture the number of calories you burn in a day or steps you took. There are also plenty of devices that will record the necessary indicators for serious health risks. However, there are few (if any options) for a consumer who is not chronically-ill to get relevant health-related information and make more informed decisions about their healthcare choices. Cloud-based EHRs could incorporate patient-centered BI solutions to inform and educate patients. Basically, the suggestion here is that a “patient Watson” could be in the future and could positively impact outcomes more than any other factor.

Healthcare providers stand to benefit from implementing cloud technology by enabling providers to receive real-time information on patients from afar. This translates into better care, because providers may be able to immediately respond to changes in conditions that require emergency medical attention. By integrating cloud-based technologies throughout a healthcare system, the way healthcare is performed is immediately altered. Important data that impacts care becomes more readily available and patient status becomes constantly traceable. With this addition to the healthcare industry, communication and care becomes more timely, efficient and affordable over time – all without adding to the already high administration costs.

Coordinated care is a struggle for most organizations, but cloud technology minimizes the limitations of care given by numerous care givers and across multiple facilities. We know that having a one stop repository for data minimizes unnecessary or duplicative tests. We also know that portals to facilitate coordinated care are a must and clinical decision making tools that operate off of EHRs can improve disease and medication management as well as preventative care. And finally, possibly the most important attribute, is cloud technology’s flexibility and adaptability. As the federal government refines and changes regulatory mandates, cloud technology will be best suited for providers who don’t want to be bothered with updating and changing hardware.

The Future
The lure to the cloud is rightfully gaining momentum. From a solution perspective it trumps the competition. Therefore, the future of cloud technology in the in healthcare industry will be its ability to provide the right cloud at the right time. Secure clouds will undoubtedly be important, but providing semi-secure “community” clouds that encourage communication will be equally important. At the same time, connecting and incorporating automation features and intelligence for customers, in addition to providers and payors, will be the distinguishing attribute of cloud technology.

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