Cloud EDRs have rapidly become the best choice for many practices since they offer security, accessibility and collaboration at a relatively low monthly cost. Hosted solutions have allowed clinics to eliminate in-house servers and clunky software and have increasing productivity while also enabling doctors to see more patients than before.
Does this mean that they have no disadvantages? Just like every other tool, cloud software has its pros and cons. It is important to know about their drawbacks before implementation so that you can be adequately prepared with proper research and planning.
1. Internet connection
Cloud EDRs require an Internet connection in order to work. It is an advantage because it allows the service provider to deliver updates quickly and eliminates the need for offices to keep manual backups. But it also means that a loss of connectivity can cause serious disruptions to practice workflow. It can leave patients stranded for long hours if employees cannot access their files and medical information.
On the other hand it is quite easy to deal with such situations. Since the EDR can be accessed from any device which has a browser, dentists and staff can usually retrieve the information using the data connection on their mobile devices. You can minimize the risk further by having a secondary Internet connection as a failover option.
2. Responsiveness and customizability
Many people fear that using hosted software would be slower than on-site applications since the latency would introduce delays. However, EDR software and Internet connections have evolved to the point where latency introduces no significant delay and they are just as fast as their on-site counterparts.
Legacy EDR vendors like to say that their software is more customizable than cloud applications. Despite their claims, most cloud EDRs have extensive customization options to suit individual practices. Moreover many vendors have designed their software with input from practicing dentists which actually reduces the need for customization.
3. Provider Liability
Hosted solutions are generally more secure than on-site deployments. Nevertheless, it is important to know whether your practice has any liability in case the provider suffers a security breach. There also needs to be a contractual clause regarding data retrieval in case the service provider goes bankrupt or is unable to offer services for any other reason. It may be better to consult a law firm regarding the SLA to ensure that all contingencies are provided for.
While cloud EDRs do have a few drawbacks, the risks can easily be minimized by having a few precautions in place. The benefits offered by them far outweigh the disadvantages which is why more dentists are implementing them in their clinics everyday.