SaaS/Cloud Computing

Recently I was asked if SaaS/Cloud computing is appropriate for small practice EHR hosting.

I responded: “SaaS in general is good. However, most SaaS is neither private nor secure. Current regulatory and compliance mandates require that you find a cloud hosting firm which will indemnify you against privacy breeches caused by security issues in the SaaS hosting facility. Also, SaaS is only as good as the internet connections of the client sites.   We’ve had a great deal of experience with ‘last mile’ issues.”

Continue reading “Should Small to Medium-Sized Practices Use Cloud-Based EHR?”

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Robert.rowley

The announcement of Salesforce.com investing and coordinating development efforts with Practice Fusion has brought talk of “cloud computing” to the fore. Salesforce has been known as a leader in cloud computing, and moving healthcare IT to that “cloud” has raised questions by a number of observers. What, exactly, is “cloud computing?” Is it appropriate for health IT? What are the security issues and risks?

“Cloud computing” is a term described as a style of computing in which on-demand resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a type of cloud computing, where users do not need to install or maintain any software themselves – simple Internet access and a browser are all that is needed.  Users do not need to have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the “cloud” that supports them – the Internet site (e.g. Practice Fusion) provides a unified dashboard to the user, and works out the technical issues of presenting that data in the background. Continue reading “Is “Cloud Computing” Right for Health IT?”

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We’ve been keeping tabs on Practice Fusion since the early days and THCB regulars will have noticed several comments and an article from CMO Robert Rowley. CEO Ryan Howard’s been hinting for a while that they were going to be getting into bed with a major software player, that shared their SaaS approach, and today they announced an investment from Salesforce.com, who we also know has been sniffing around health care too. This will include Practice Fusion becoming part of the Force.com (kind of an app store for the Salesforce.com ecosystem, although my guess is that few physicians are going there right now to look for records (not sure they’re going to Wal-mart either, though)

Practice Fusion is claiming that 19,000 users are already on its system which includes basic practice management, as well as a pretty complex EMR workflow. Coming soon will be a greater ability to share information with patients and other physicians over the platform—which allows it to spread via viral marketing. i.e. I’m referring you this patient, click here to get their data and sign up for this free EMR too. It’s not yet CCHIT certified, but Howard is aiming to be eligible for “meaningful use” money when the criteria are finally established. Continue reading “Practice Fusion gets investment from Salesforce.com”

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In a February 13, 2009 blog post I introduced the idea of Clinical Groupware as a low cost, modular, and cloud computing alternative to traditional electronic health record technology for physicians and medical practices. Central to the concept of Clinical Groupware is IT support for care coordination and continuity, achieved through shared access to personal care plans and point-of-care decision supports. In this post I’d like to put a few more ideas on the table, specifically with respect to the market niche that Clinical Groupware may ultimately fill, including comments by several individuals whose opinions or work may be crucial to the success of Clinical Groupware over the next 1-3 years.  (Anything farther out than that is simply dreaming.)  Consider this an interim report on an emerging story with an indefinite timeline.

Interest in this topic has been, of course, heightened by the recently passed federal AARA/HITECH, provisions of which will provide incentive payments to physicians of as much as $44,000 over a five year period commencing in 2011, provided that the physicians can demonstrate the “meaningful use” of “certified EHR technology.” It’s always more exciting when there’s real money in the mix. Will Clinical Groupware qualify as “certified EHR technology?”  Many physicians and developers are hoping it will. Here’s why. Continue reading “Clinical Groupware: When Not-As-Good Is Actually Better”

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