How cloud-based software is transforming medical practices in uncertain times

How cloud-based software is transforming medical practices in uncertain times

‘Uncertainty is the only certainty there is’. John Allen Paulos

It goes without saying that recent external events such as COVID-19, implementation of POPI Act & consumer’s shift towards digital preferences have had a significant impact on how medical professionals typically operate. For example, what used to be a normal day at any private practice – busy waiting rooms, in-person consultations, a full staff complement & direct contact – is changing. Now, remote working & online access are very much a part of a medical practice’s day-to-day. The increased need for remote work & better security measures has encouraged many medical professionals to shift from paper-based &/or desktop applications to secure cloud-based software. 

If you are still questioning the necessity of migrating to cloud-based software, here are 7 reasons why you should make the move. 

1. Improved security

With the implementation of the POPI Act on 1 July 2021, the case for cloud-based software has been made even stronger. Although medical practices have always prioritised the safety of patient data, the consequences of non-compliance of POPIA, has made cloud-based software the natural choice for securely storing patient & practice information.  

The reason being is that paper-based files can be easily seen, accessed or even misplaced. The case & point has recently been made evident when medical practices in KZN & Gauteng reported patient files lost, stolen &/or destroyed during the recent protests & looting. The fact is that when done right, cloud-based software can improve the security of information. Here’s how: 

  • Encrypted servers mean that confidential information is secure & safely shared when necessary
  • Data stored in the cloud can be restored if devices are lost or stolen or in the event of natural (or manmade) disasters
  • Updates can prevent data from malware attacks or breaches 

In short, cloud-based software isn’t only a hyper-secure way to store & access information, it also provides risk management & monitoring services to protect data & keep it safe. 

 

2. Reduced costs

Lockdown due to COVID-19 resulted in severe cash flow implications for many medical practices who had to find ways to cut costs or resort to more cost effective alternatives. Since cloud-based software operates on a subscription model & on any device, medical practices don’t have to invest in a particular type of hardware or expensive equipment. In some cases, subscriptions are also based on claim volumes, so practices who were seeing less patients paid less for their subscription. Plus, operating in the cloud means you don’t have to bear the additional costs of maintaining on-site servers.

 

3. More storage space 

Cloud-based software negates the need for physical storage space which means you can downsize or use your practice space for income generating services instead. Coupled with the fact that more medical professionals are mobile & not tied to a single location, cloud-based software makes it possible to securely store & access huge volumes of data anytime & from anywhere. 

 

4. Less IT admin

If it wasn’t obvious before, COVID & the recent protests have shown us that it’s not practical to have people physically present in your offices to deal with IT issues.  It is an inconvenience of the past. One of the most underrated advantages of cloud-based software is that your technology partner is responsible for maintaining access & security to your systems. With a remote team of skilled IT professionals on the case, you can focus on your patients & delivering health services instead of dealing with IT problems & on-site IT staff. 

 

5. Easy access to new Telehealth capabilities

In the height of lockdown, medical practices turned to Telehealth as a feasible way to get healthcare to patients who were unable or unwilling to come to the practice’s premises. Patients were also quick to adopt the convenience & flexibility that Telehealth offers. Cloud-based software makes secure Telehealth consults possible, both while physical distancing measures are in place & even when they eventually become a thing of the past. Looking ahead, Telehealth is an efficient way to open access to healthcare whether we are in the middle of a pandemic, violent protests, a natural disaster or everyday life. 

 

6. Smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) & machine learning 

When we incorporate AI & machine learning into healthcare, we realise another level of optimisation, automation & efficiency. One of the necessary components in the use of AI is volumes of data – something that even the average medical practice does regularly. Because cloud-based software allows us to store, search & share huge amounts of data – by integrating AI & other smart technology, we can streamline processes & make the flow of information faster, more reliable, & importantly, more ‘actionable.’ From ‘smart’ templates that make billing easier & more efficient to data analysis & reporting. AI & machine learning are fast becoming must-have capabilities that are powered by cloud computing. 

 

7. Improved collaboration 

Modern healthcare is complex with a single patient requiring services & expertise from multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals. Coupled with the fact that patients aren’t always able to physically be present at your or another healthcare professional’s offices, you need a means to be able to issue scripts, sick notes, referral letters, recommendations, etc. A cloud-based solution can streamline the flow of information among doctors & because the relevant parties can share & transfer data, any treating medical professional will have the most complete, up-to-date picture of a patient’s health. Not only that but cloud-based solutions can also provide access to video conferencing & facilitate quick collaboration between healthcare professionals. 

 

Choosing the right platform

The benefits of cloud-based software are evident but choosing the right technology partner isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Be sure to look for a technology partner with domain expertise & a proven track record of helping medical professionals successfully transition to cloud-based services. For a best practice guide for buying cloud-based medical practice software, click here. Alternatively, click here to have a Business Consultant contact you to show you how cloud-based software can help your practice thrive.

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