In the past few years, cloud based EHR systems have caused a lot of debate. Your health information is almost always stored electronically now — whether you know it or not. Have you ever gotten a prescription filled at a pharmacy? Been to a hospital in the last 15 to 20 years? Guess what: Those records are all stored electronically. Increasingly, primary care providers are using electronic health records (EHRs) also. Because research has shown that the use of EHRs can improve the quality, safety and coordination of healthcare, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in 2009 to promote the adoption and meaningful use of this technology. The federal government budgeted no less than $27 billion in incentives for eligible healthcare providers and professionals to go electronic.
Although, trusting a cloud-based electronic health records system with sensitive health data can seem a little unnerving, EHR systems are only credentialed after a thorough investigation by industry experts and regulatory agencies like the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The same data security requirements exist whether the data is housed on premises or in a virtual cloud-based server.
Sure, we’ve seen the headlines, too. We know that medical records stored electronically can be hacked. But paper records in a file cabinet somewhere can be physically lost or stolen much more easily — and, as such, may disappear from a patient’s history. With the right controls in place, a digital file will have traceability, which means you will know when someone copies, prints or even looks at it.
Most importantly, even if electronic records are hacked, the originals remain, providing continual care for the patient. I believe in cloud-based computing solutions and have an affinity towards them. As with any system, a robust security protocol and plan must be in place and clear ownership within both a practice and an EHR vendor. If the public transit system in San Francisco can be hacked, along with numerous government agencies, then any system can be breached. The important part is staying on top of the latest security trends and advancements and strategically integrating them into your business processes.
At Smart Legal Solutions, we use multiple levels of cloud-based encryption and secure servers that make it a lot harder for EHRs to fall into the wrong hands. It’s faster, less expensive, and there are steps we can take to protect you. Want to know what those are. Reach out to me today and let’s talk about EHRs.