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Is Your Practice Running GE, Allscripts, or eCW as Your EMR/EHR?

Healthcare organizations across the country successfully leverage GE, Allscripts, and eCW every day to create, store and utilize electronic healthcare records. These are powerful and complex software solutions that work most effectively when cared for by healthcare IT support professionals. In this article we’ll explore the IT Support services most often used by healthcare organizations and answer these questions:

  1. What is cloud hosting and is it a good idea to put healthcare records in the cloud?
  2. What is Managed IT Support services and are they worth the ongoing investment?
  3. What is data interoperability and how does it help you provide better patient care?
  4. What steps need to be taken to attain and maintain a robust security and compliance posture?

What Are the IT Support Services Most Often Paired with the Use Of GE, Allscripts, or eCW?

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, nearly every office-based physician is now making use of at least basic EHR.

Why?

Because the government introduced an incentive program several years ago encouraging organizations to make the change.

Was that the only reason that healthcare organizations moved to EHR?

Of course not.

Many organizational administrators saw the efficiency and patient care advantages in electronic records and were among the early adopters of the technology.

Now that so many are using EHR and the EHR management software that has been developed, new challenges have arisen surrounding the maintenance and security of those EHR management systems.

Administrators of small practices and large healthcare facilities alike are now exploring the following questions. Fortunately for the leaders of our healthcare organizations, their questions line up with the services most commonly paired with EMR software use.

Cloud Hosting – What is cloud hosting and is it a good idea to put healthcare records in the cloud?

Cloud hosting is a service that allows an organization to make use of a server (either one at their location or at a data center) to store data, run applications, and run virtual computers and servers.

There are three options for cloud hosting.

  • Private Cloud – A server that the client owns.
  • Public Cloud – A server in a data center in which many companies rent space.
  • Hybrid Cloud – A server on-site for some functions combined with server space in a data center for other functions.

What is “hosted” in a cloud hosting scenario?

  • Applications
  • Production Systems
  • Virtual Computers
  • Virtual Servers
  • Databases
  • Backups

What is the advantage of cloud hosting?

  • Scalability
  • Resiliency
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Security

There is a legitimate debate as to whether data can be more easily secured in a server on-premise or in a data center. What’s the right option for your organization? Let’s look at some thoughts.

  1. Private cloud consisting of a server in the organization’s facility can be vulnerable to local disasters such as fire, flood, power surge, criminal act, and human error.
  2. Some public clouds have been hacked.
  3. Many private clouds have been hacked.
  4. Public cloud providers have to meet current security standards and best practices.

In the end, many healthcare organizations opt for a hybrid approach to cloud hosting in order to make the most of the benefits of each cloud scenario and lower the risk presented by each.

Managed IT Support – What are Managed IT Support services and are they worth the ongoing investment?

Managed IT Support services are the individual nuts and bolts of the complete, ongoing IT management, maintenance, and monitoring of an organization’s computers, servers, applications, and cloud assets.

Managed IT Support services are delivered on an all-inclusive monthly subscription format. This provides a predictable monthly payment for simple budgeting and peace of mind.

What services make up Managed IT Support?

The services that make up an individual Managed IT Support package vary according to the needs of an organization. However, some of the most common are:

  • IT Security
  • Compliance Consulting
  • IT Consulting
  • Data Backup & Recovery
  • Business Continuity
  • Computer Repair
  • Help Desk

Is Managed IT Support services worth the ongoing investment?

Managed IT Support is all about proactive care. Keeping the organization’s systems running efficiently is the job of the healthcare IT consultant. Because of the monthly subscription payment system, it is in the best interest of the healthcare IT consulting company to keep the healthcare organization’s network, computers, and cloud assets running flawlessly.

In an organization that cannot tolerate unexpected downtime, the peace of mind combined with the efficiency brought on by IT support best practices makes Managed IT Support services a strong option for IT care investment.

Data Interoperability – What is data interoperability and how does it help you provide better patient care?

Data Interoperability happens when IT professionals configure applications such as GE, Allscripts, or Ecw EHR/EMR management systems to convey information to other systems in a way that the second system can read, understand, and utilize.

There are three levels of Data Interoperability.

  • Technical Interoperability – The ability to send data from one system or application to another system or application.
  • Syntactic Interoperability – The ability to read the data sent from one system or application to another system or application.
  • Semantic Interoperability – The ability for the systems or applications sending and receiving data from each other to send, receive, read, understand, and use the data sent or received.

How does data interoperability help provide better patient care?

When data is stored in systems that don’t “talk” to each other, critical information can be lost or delayed, impeding the diagnosis and care of patients. By connecting these systems and applications in a way that allows them to securely transfer data in a useable form from one system or application to another an organization can ensure that the data they need for patient care is available in the system, they are using at the time.

Security and Compliance – What steps need to be taken to attain and maintain a robust security and compliance posture?

As you likely already know, security and compliance is a challenging and evolving field. Healthcare IT consultants take their task of protecting EMR/EHR management systems, networks, and other IT assets seriously. Unfortunately, IT security is not a “one and done” process. It is an ongoing battle between the good guys and the bad guys. Cybersecurity professionals keep one eye on the current technology and known threats and another eye on how criminals can and will use next-gen technologies to threaten the security of clients’ IT environments.

What are some of the steps healthcare IT consultants take to ensure security and compliance for a healthcare organization?

  • Identify and address weaknesses in your technology systems
  • Configure IT environment to comply with relevant data protection best practices
  • Set up the secure creation, processing, and storage of cloud-based records and data (private or hybrid)
  • Ensure alignment with HIPAA, 201 CMR 17.00, SOX, etc. and demonstrate Meaningful Use
  • Build incident response strategies tailored to the organization
  • Gain control of any incident quickly, remediate, and identify its root causes

Want to read more helpful articles? We’ve got three for you here that we think you’ll like.

Accessing Legacy Patient Records With Epic EMR

Barriers and Benefits in Utilizing Healthcare Cloud

How Social Media Platforms Have Increased the Burden of Compliance to HIPAA Regulations

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