The complexity of our health care system has grown over the years making it more difficult for practitioners to stay informed about their patients health histories. Electronic Medical Records will help solve this problem. This method reduces the amount of paperwork involved in the process; while at the same time increasing access to these records by making them available electronically. EMR/EHR systems enable the practitioner to view a patient’s complete health event summary, historical reports and previous treatment records. This has resulted in an enormous gain in productivity in practices staffed with multiple physicians. The advantages are also evident in regard to patients with multiple aliments and in emergency medical situations.
With the adoption of EMR/EHR there is still plenty of room to increase operational efficiency, cost savings and productivity gains. Electronic Medical Records are gaining in popularity because of the paperless approach. At the same time this creates an effective demand for HIPAA compliant data storage centers to host such records in secure facilities. Secure facilities are a must due to the highly sensitive nature of the data being hosted combined with the fact that strict security procedures and practices must be maintained.
EMR can be handled in a variety of ways; some of the common methodologies are:
1. The Electronic Medical Records are hosted in the office environment; which is the traditional approach that has been in practice for many years, even before the latest push by Congress for EMR.
2. Colocation servers are installed in data centers while existing server infrastructure is utilized efficiently to save on operational costs. This service is often referred to as “server colocation” or “colocation hosting.” This is a step in the right direction towards veering away from the traditional mindset. Colocation utilizes the latest and greatest data center infrastructures which can significantly help reduce costs associated with similar legacy environments.
3. Managed Server Hosting is the latest idea that is designed to take advantage of the human capital available at the data centers for cross subsidization. This greatly helps practitioners’ focus their efforts on their patients and practices rather than worrying about their day-to-day server hassles. For many, this could be the better option when deciding to implement an EMR Solution.
Managed Server Hosting can yield expected results with reduced risk and cost. This service is also referred to as a “Managed Server” or as “Managed Dedicated Server Hosting”. However, there is another service that is intermediary to Managed Server Hosting and Colocation Servers ; namely Dedicated Servers, often referred to as “Dedicated Server Hosting ”. This is similar to a Managed Service as far as hosting goes, but lacks some bells and whistles such as managed backups and security.
4. Selecting a new breed of Service Providers who specialize in not only hosting the EMR applications, but managing it as well could be the ultimate solution that provides maximum gains and peace of mind. These service providers are referred to as “ASPs” or “Application Service Providers”. Not only do they maintain and host your equipment, they also manage your software.
If you have already adopted EMR or a similar solution, or are considering investing in protecting your critical data, Managed Server Hosting could be the best option to save you time, money and hassle. Implementing Electronic Medical Records can be very easy with Managed Server Hosting for various reasons. Once you secure a suitable EMR solution and begin hosting your EMR with your service provider, your EMR strategy is largely complete, assuming that you choose the right Service Provider. You do not need to think about how to manage your data, how to safeguard that data, how to prepare for natural disasters, or the ongoing IT Management costs.
Managed Server Hosting promises to deliver most of this and helps make your EMR strategy scalable, yet affordable, by reducing the operational and ongoing infrastructure costs as well as IT management and maintenance costs. It saves you valuable time that can instead be invested in the operation of core EMR applications, rather than focusing on the hosting aspect.
When adopting an EMR strategy, the following four components must be carefully considered and thought through before making critical decisions:
EMR standards –
Privacy and Security policies must be maintained in order to protect the patient’s privacy and safeguard critical data. There are new laws and regulations in place ensuring such standards are implemented accordingly. In fact, security is the most critical aspect since a data breach could mean hefty fines being levied in accordance with the Healthcare reform Act and the HITECH Act, which amended the HIPAA laws.
Infrastructure can dictate how well the EMR strategy is built for effectiveness, sustainability and robustness. Emergencies happen around the clock, illnesses do not wait for downtime, and therefore ensuring 24x7x365 availability is crucial.
In addition to physical infrastructure security, access to the Infrastructure should be closely monitored. Ensuring unique identifiers for each patient, in addition to each physician, nurse, or individual who may require access to such records should be tightly administered. This is a proactive step to thwart off unwanted security breaches.
The most elaborate Electronic Medical Records systems should contain historic data and records of past treatments and prescriptions, in addition to current treatment solutions, all of which should be available to every practitioner in order to save time and streamline the process of cross checking for critical and life threatening errors. This is in no way a full proof system, as it is still in early development, and records should be double-checked for human error.
Change Management –
There should be a skilled workforce for maintaining the records in the EMR system. It should be updated in a timely manner, as well as accessible to both physicians and patients.
The EMR components are shown in the figure below.
All of the above listed components should be considered before implementing an EMR Solution with Managed Hosting. Various health care providers grant access to their health information systems to their affiliated physicians, which only control one part of patient care. For truly synchronized care, physicians and their patients must be associated with those seeking information before such access is granted. Health care providers play a crucial role in assisting the physicians by hastening the use of health information technology, improving patient safety, and reducing the health care costs incurred.
Managed Hosting has been proven to yield enhanced results with EMR, which significantly helps health care providers to focus on their core business. It is the comprehensive solution that simplifies EMR implementation and management, allowing you to put a spotlight on the mission of improving patient care. Over the next few years, EMR Software implementation is expected to grow considerably, partially due to the Federal stimulus money earmarked for the provision of electronic medical records systems nationwide.
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