White Paper: The SaaSy Approach to Delivering Electronic Health Records

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1 This white paper explains how Amazing Charts in Cloud can transform your practice without forcing you to sacrifice productivity or take on the costs of hosting your own EHR. White Paper: The SaaSy Approach to Delivering Electronic Health Records

2 P a g e 1 Contents Executive Summary EHR Choices: Not So Good, OK, Great Self-hosted EHRs Web-based EHRs A Better Way: Amazing Charts in the Cloud ACitC Solves Your EHR Problems.... 8

3 P a g e 2 Executive Summary Today, every medical practice must consider moving in the direction of installing electronic health records (EHR/EHRs). Not only is there up to $63,750 in Meaningful Use incentives to claim, the entire industry like it or not is being pushed in the direction of EHR use by policymakers, payers and even the White House. In the past, medical practices didn t have many choices when installing an EHR. In the early 2000s, practices had to host the EHR on their premises, using their own hardware and networking gear. But this approach requires constant upkeep from expensive IT consultants. Web-based solutions came on the scene a few years later. These allow practices to avoid installing software, but may be harder to use due to inherent limitations of the browser. Fortunately, there s a new alternative which combines the ease-of-use of in-office software and the rapid installation of web-based software. Amazing Charts in the Cloud (ACitC) offers the best of both worlds it s hosted offsite and without headache, but in a rich graphical user interface environment that allows for all the controls and ease-of-use you get from everyday programs installed on your local computer. In this paper, we ll explain how ACitC can transform a practice without forcing you to sacrifice productivity or take on the costs and hassles of hosting your own EHR. EHR Choices: Not So Good, OK, Great On the surface, many EHR models sound similar, but they re actually quite different when you dig just a little bit under the surface. To help you sort things out, here s a summary of what s involved in installing and using the main models of EHR software. Self-hosted EHRs One method for bringing an EHR into your practice is to install it inside of your practice. This approach gives you the greatest level of control over how your software is set up,

4 P a g e 3 what security controls are put in place and more. That said, buying and hosting your own software comes with some challenges: Price: Though estimates vary, there s no question that buying and hosting your own EHR can be a significant investment. While Meaningful Use EHR incentives can defray these expenses, they usually do not cover the long-term costs of an EHR installation. Coping with the expense of installing and maintaining in-house EHR software can be very challenging. In fact, the total first-year cost of electronic health record implementation for a five-physician practice is an estimated $233,297, with an average per-physician cost of $46,659, according to a recent study published in Health Affairs. 1 Technical demands: Installing the software requires a high degree of technical skill, but few small or medium-sized practices have an IT guru on staff. Bringing on IT consultants is pricey and once they ve gone, some vendors may leave you on your own when it comes to handling technical problems. This situation can get ugly fast if your EHR stops working and you don t have someone available to fix it quickly. Hardware costs: To run the software properly, you may need to buy powerful server computers, which can cost thousands of dollars. What s more, in some cases you might even need to upgrade the desktop or laptop computers physicians use if you want to get optimal performance from your EHR. Security and maintenance: When your EHR is hosted on your site, you re solely responsible for making sure that patient data isn t compromised by hackers from outside the practice. This involves constant management and maintenance of security tools like firewalls, which protect programs from intruders. There s also the issue of backing up your data: where will you store backups, and how can you be sure that that location is 1

5 P a g e 4 safe from physical destruction and hacking? Not only that, it s critical that your data protection methods meet HIPAA standards; will you know how to accomplish this? Training: Whether you pay a vendor to provide EHR training or train your staff in house, most practices find that it takes weeks to get staffers and clinicians oriented. Worse, productivity can remain at lowered levels for months. Generally speaking, then, it s clear that installing an EHR on-site is not the best choice for all practices. So what about Web-based models? Won t they solve these problems? In the next section, we ll tell you more. Web-based EHRs Web-based EHRs (an approach known to vendors as SaaS, or Software as a Service) offer a few advantages over installing software in-house. In particular, they re usually less expensive to buy or license than on-site software is. SaaS models also spare you a lot of technical trouble, since you never need to install or maintain the system. What s more, because your staff accesses the software via a browser, you don t have to worry about maintaining versions of the client software for users for their desktops. However, Web-based software does pose some challenges as well: Security: With Web-based EHRs, you usually share a server with hundreds of other practices; each instance of the software runs side by the others. If that server is hacked, due to lax security practices by the vendor or the other practices, every practice may be affected. Your data may be less secure than you d like. A May 2011 online survey conducted among 2,720 U.S. adults for Xerox Corporation by Harris Interactive found that nearly 80 percent of respondents who have concerns about digital medical records

6 P a g e 5 indicated stolen personal information by a computer hacker to be their number one worry, followed by the threat of lost, damaged or corrupted records at 64 percent and the misuse of information at 62 percent. 2 Data ownership: Not having data on site can be convenient, as the vendor performs the necessary backups and protects the data from disasters. But what happens if you decide not to use the Web-based vendor anymore? Who owns the data, and how will you get it back if there s a dispute? You may have this covered in a contract, but if a dispute arises it could get nasty. Also, bear in mind that some vendors presently sell or have plans to sell aggregated patient data to pharmaceutical companies or advertisers. Is that something you re prepared to accept? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (2003) allows anonymous sharing of patient medical data with related healthcare businesses. This includes organizations that possess medical information selling it anonymously to resellers. Marc Rodwin, a Professor of Law at Suffolk University, discloses in JAMA that IMS Health, the largest reseller of patient medical data, had revenues of more than $2 billion in Usability: Accessing software through a Web browser may be convenient in some ways, but the browser has limitations of its own. Software designed for a browser may be awkward to use, as it needs to comply with browser restrictions, requiring you to click extra times to get to what you need. The session may be punctuated by long waits for the next screen refresh

7 P a g e 6 All told, Web-based software may be easier to implement, but it still has some weaknesses that should give medical practices pause. A Better Way: Amazing Charts in the Cloud If you re ready for an EHR that avoids all of these problems, Amazing Charts in the Cloud offers a great option. We ve developed a new form of hosted software call it SaaSy that doesn t require you to install your own EHR onsite, use a browser or worry about your practice security being breached along with hundreds of others. The SasSy approach solves a number of important problems medical practices face when bringing an EHR on board: Not browser based: As we ve noted, cramming full EHR functionality into a browser may result in some compromises in usability and who has time to do deal with awkward workarounds? ACitC offers a better option by delivering exact same awardwinning graphical user interfaces that users enjoy with the on-premises version. Smooth launch: To run ACitC, you just double-click on an icon; it appears to load just like the other programs you have on your local hard drive (think Microsoft Word). The software connects with our servers via a secure tunnel which protects the privacy of the data as it travels. Take it on the road: Some EHRs make it very tricky to access their product using tablets, laptops or phones. Doctors can access the streaming EHR easily from the road; they can log in from home, on a laptop, on a tablet or any other device which will run a remote desktop client. Patient data is protected: Some Web-based vendors mix all of the practice data into one big database which can be used for data mining, but we don t. And unlike most Webbased EHRs, which as we ve noted may stack hundreds of practices onto a server, ACitC

8 P a g e 7 runs on what s known as a virtual server, an isolated virtual database and computer which is completely yours. East and West Coast infrastructure: Ultra-modern SAS 70 Type-II Data Center facilities are at the heart of the ACitC offering. Other solutions require thousands in upfront costs to replicate your hardware and software environment offsite, but ACitC offers top-of-the-line data center access at no added cost, which ensures maximum uptime, compliance and peace of mind. Encrypted redundant backups with disaster recovery: Traditional methods of backups work well, but at an added cost to you. With ACitC the entire virtual machine, including the database and imported items, are securely encrypted and backed up both locally and offsite to a second data center. This process is completely automated and free of human intervention. In the case of a catastrophic incident, your practice can be fully operational within hours, not days. Figure 1: Summary Comparison of Three Types of EHRs Installed Onsite Web-based ACitC Cost Higher Moderate Modest Security Challenging Questionable Solid Data protection/ Complex Uncertain Total Backup

9 P a g e 8 ACitC Solves Your EHR Problems As you can see, Amazing Charts in the Cloud is a SaaSy solution that solves the problems that worry doctors most in their daily practice. ACitC is highly secure, safe, simple to use, and easy to access on the go. We know you don t want to become a computer geek to run your practice, and with ACitC, you won t have to. Our software is made by a doctor, for doctors, and we know you ll find it to be simple to use and easy to manage. To learn more about how the SaaSy approach can make your EHR launch a breeze, get in touch at (866) and we ll be glad to tell you more. ###

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