It takes quite a bit of time, effort and plenty of research to purchase an EDR that’s right for your practice. First you need to pinpoint your business requirements. Then you make lists – one for the features that you have to have in an EDR and others that would be nice to have. Finally you have to look at the hundreds of different software and systems out there in the marketplace before selecting one.
However clinics often overlook an important aspect of this process – how do you cope when the EDR stops working? Naturally users are interested in functionality, features and how an EDR works before purchase. But like all complex systems, EDRs can also fail.
We’re not just talking about catastrophic failure like the software becomes obsolete and you can’t use it anymore. It’s also the normal downtime that happens with technology. It could be something anticipated like scheduled maintenance. Or something completely unexpected like a cyberattack.
Have you given a thought as to how your employees can cope if your EDR is out of commission for a few hours in the middle of a busy day? Practices rely on their EDRs to the extent that staff may be unable to perform even basic tasks like checking prescriptions.
The Challenges of EDR Downtime
Suppose your EDR stops working and tech support estimates that it will take a few hours to get back to normal. Imagine the chaos that ensues. The receptionist can’t check in patients since there is no way to confirm appointments or check medical history. The hygienist can’t start on procedures for the current patient because they don’t know what exactly needs to be done! The doctor can’t answer patient questions about their status or discuss treatment alternatives because the EDR is not working.
The Cloud can Reduce EDR Downtime
The technology industry is very fast paced. Innovation happens everyday and the progress made over the course of a single year is astounding. It takes some time for new technologies to reach the healthcare industry. But they can revolutionize the way we work when they arrive.
Take EDRs as an example. The first generation EDRs used the standard software model. You bought a license from the vendor and installed the software on a certain number of workstations. Whenever the vendor had a new feature, each and every computer had to be updated manually to the latest version. You had to backup your data every day or risk losing it if something happens. There were a lot of constraints with this model.
Today’s EDRs are incorporating cloud technology into every application, turning them into services that can be delivered over the cloud. It relieves your team from having to troubleshoot IT and focus on patients instead. No more massive servers or computers in the back room. No more backing up data manually each night.
Cloud based EDRs can reduce the effects of downtime on your practice. For instance, all your data is backed up online to dedicated servers in real time. If your computer crashes or otherwise stops working, simply log onto the EDR from another device – even a tablet or phone. All the data is available at your fingertips! Nothing is outdated, incorrect or inaccessible.
In fact, with a hosted EDR service, the only backup you really need is an alternate data connection. Since most phones have them anyway, your practice can function with just mobile phones until the problem is resolved. So the next time something happens to your systems in the office, patients don’t have to wait more than a few minutes for your staff to log onto new machines. And then, its back to work as usual!