Like it or not, electronically filed medical records are going to become an industry standard over the next few years. In fact, president Obama issued a mandate that all medical records in the United States should be digitized and managed by an EMR system. Private practices and hospitals are now weighing the benefits and downsides of transitioning to electronic medical records software and computer systems. There are pluses and minuses to these advanced pieces of programming and cloud based technology. They can make practices run more smoothly and allow for efficient collaboration amongst medical professionals, but they also raise particularly thorny privacy issues and security concerns.
The Cost Benefits Of Implementing EMR Software
The business models of most companies that develop these kinds of specialized software are based around netting and maintaining long term customers and clients. To this end, developers offer their EMR software at low introductory costs and charge their clients a set monthly fee per employee that will use the program. These costs can range from $50 to $199 per user depending on the software.
Unlike previous generations of locally installed medical record keeping software, which required expensive technicians to install and very expensive in-house servers to be maintained, most major EMR software developers are pushing their applications into the cloud.
This means that their actual software is hosted on a variety of virtualized machines and private networks that clients and medical practices log into via a computer browser. This enables doctors, dentists, chiropractors and others to discard the costly in-house equipment and instead opt for simple workstations. Since everything is hosted in the cloud, medical records specialists and employees can input their data via a browser, make patient appointments that are instantly shared across the network and access data without having to rely on local hardware at all.
Security Concerns With Implementing Electronic Patient Records
As anyone in the industry knows, maintaining patient medical record security and privacy is no laughing matter. Some practitioners are understandably nervous about moving their patient's sensitive medical data into the cloud, especially when the network is hosted and maintained by a third party EMR vendor.
Developers of electronic medical record software are striving hard to gain their clients' confidence, by ensuring that the latest and most effective standard cloud security protocols are in place. Yet there is a fundamental risk and unease in having your critical patient information hosted by a third party that may have means of accessing the data.
In addition to concerns regarding the people actually retaining your practice's medical data, there are additional security issues in the way of hacking attacks on data centers, the risk of which has been recently demonstrated on a large scale by groups like Anonymous.
If you're beginning to plan for implementing EMR software in your private practice, you should carefully choose your vendor and work with someone that is willing to assign you a transition specialist who can guide you and your employees through your migration to the medical cloud. There are many benefits in the way of reduced operation costs and faster collaboration to be harnessed by using this powerful new software, so long as the attendant security risks are also addressed.