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Choosing the best hosting provider for your practice’s electronic health records (EHR) should never be taken lightly. A host can help organizations that may not have the time or experience to install, manage and update software systems, improve workflows and patient care.
However, a recent study conducted by Stanford Medicine found that only 18% of primary-care-physicians are “very satisfied” with their current EHR system. This shows not all service providers are created equal, and it’s important to not choose a host simply because they cost the least.
If you’re in the market for a full-service hosting provider, here are some qualities you should look for to ensure you receive the best service and security for your data:
An EHR system is meant to make internal processes more efficient and improve the experience of both provider and patient, but many practices are still underwhelmed with the technology. Healthcare IT News noted that multiple studies found systems were not living up to their potential, mostly because of gaps in user understanding and uninvolved hosting providers.
While the technology can enhance cost savings and improved efficiency, such findings highlight that it’s also important for a service provider to know how to optimize the EHR platform for each individual practice.
When choosing a provider, ensure they have experience hosting the particular system and interfaces with third-party products you may need. Whether this means self-check-in kiosks or automated patient notifications, familiarity with these applications means the host has perfected them and knows how to handle any bumps in the road.
An EHR should securely protect patient data while making it easily accessible to authorized users. However, this isn’t the only function of a full-service provider. There are many other features an experienced EHR host should offer:
- Multi-device support: Physicians should be able to access the system on a desktop, laptop or tablet in the office or on the go.
- Interfacing: Documents, lab orders and patient information should be interfaced seamlessly into the EHR. No additional software or cumbersome uploading processes needed to connect the system with third-party organizations like specialists, labs, hospitals, HIEs, registries and more.
- Cloud connection: When connections are handled securely via the cloud, there’s no need to set up and maintain VPN connections for providers. This effectively streamlines the secure sharing of patient data.
- Integrated services: Connecting existing systems and additional third-party services to your EHR system can enhance its functionality.
- Freedom: A hosting provider should never hold your data hostage. While they keep your patient and practice information secure, you need to be able to take it back if you choose to leave without any problems.
It’s always important to ask if a hosting provider offers these features in addition to having experience with the core functionality of the system.
Time and time again, physicians find themselves stuck with an EHR they don’t fully know how to use. Medical Economics highlighted this as one of the top problems facing healthcare professionals today. When a team doesn’t understand how to operate the interface and it disjoints communications, it contributes to physician burnout and an underutilized system.
An EHR provider may offer tape backup service, system monitoring and e-mail services, but do they truly provide the support needed to ensure your practice is optimizing the system? When a sudden issue occurs, it can seriously disrupt the flow of the office and quality of patient care. It’s of the utmost importance that a provider not only secure data if one of these events occurs, but that they are available to help fix the issue and help healthcare organizations prevent it from happening again.
From training staff during deployment to offering troubleshooting support for individual applications, a full-service host should offer personalized help throughout the partnership instead of leaving things up to the customer.
There are several rules an EHR system must follow to be HIPAA compliant. Above all else, patient information should be secure from any unauthorized users. The U.S. The Department of Health & Human Services recommends a few ways a provider can ensure security in line with HIPAA requirements. This includes requiring strict passwords, PIN numbers and/or two-factor authentication for accounts.
Data encryption is another security measure a full-service host should offer. This allows only authorized users to read and understand the data. An EHR host should help physicians understand how to best use these security and compliance measures and continuously innovate to enhance data protection in their system.
EHR hosting with Tangible Solutions
With over 20 years of working with electronic health records, Tangible Solutions has extensive experience with EHR hosting and has many interfaces with third-party products and solutions. Our hosting capabilities involve hardware, software and continuous support to ensure you are optimizing your practice’s abilities.
Contact out team today to learn more about utilizing a full-service hosting provider.