Software As A Service (SaaS) or cloud computing has permeated every aspect of daily life for most people. From banking to retail, document collaboration to accounting software, SaaS user growth is steadily increasing and the dental and healthcare industries are no exception. Entrenched vendors with legacy client/server models may have the biggest market share at present but cloud EHR vendors are seeing the fastest growth.
A recent survey of healthcare organizations has shown that 35% of providers have already moved to the cloud for at least some of their business needs. Additionally, 22% of providers have implemented cloud-based EHRs or practice management software for their clinic (State of the Cloud Report, 2013). Several innovative ideas by cloud vendors has spurred increased adoption among practitioners in spite of initial concerns regarding security, privacy of patient data and customer support.
1. HIPAA compliance and security
When cloud EHRs first launched, many doctors were skeptical as the data would be hosted on servers outside their offices. Without clearly outlined security policies, many providers were rightly reluctant to trust cloud vendors. However, the majority of cloud EHRs now host data on HIPAA compliant servers and also transmit patient information over encrypted channels.
2. Mobile Devices
With the increasing popularity of mobile devices such as the iPad and other Android devices, a few EHR service providers have adapted their software to suit smaller screens as well. Some firms like Dovetail are even working to bring their system to wearable devices such as Google Glass.
Legacy EHR vendors built their order entry modules on top of existing practice management or billing software. Hence most software functioned in silos and exporting and sharing data was extremely difficult. Cloud EHRs on the other hand embraced interoperability and offered many sharing and collaboration options for providers. EDR software such as Dovetail are built around extensibility and can be easily updated to integrate with other software management systems.
Traditionally EHR software and even the first generation of cloud-based EHRs suffered from cramped UIs and complex navigation flows. But cloud EHR providers iterated quickly in response to vocal feedback from their users. Now many EHR software products feature clean and intuitive UIs, easy-to-use navigation controls and simplified workflows. Dovetail EDR takes it one step further and consulted practicing dentists while designing the application. This ensures that the software functions well under real-world clinical conditions and not just test data.