As I get my education game on in the world of EMRs, I consider myself lucky to be striking out in a solo private practice at such a great time in computer history. I’ve learned the two perhaps most important concepts that allow me to run a modern medical practice with electronic records: SaaS (software as a service), and cloud computing.
The first, SaaS, is really very important, as I found out after my practice manager and I tried to buy a system outright and own the software ourselves. This meant buying a server, which turned out to be the wrong one, and investing a lot of money into computer equipment and a local IT consultant company to help run the computer side of the office. If I was doing it all over again, I would have just gone with SaaS and let the experts do what they do best, manage the thing on their end. That includes all the software upgrades, having their own server or set of servers, and all the other wonderful accoutrements to make the process smooth and successful. We thought we’d be saving money in the long run by having our own system, but common sense would dictate that all these things run out of warranty, out of date, and eventually out of service. Who among any of us still has the first computer that they started out on? No one I know, since the technology gets updated so rapidly and repeatedly. After we switched to a SaaS-based company, life got much better and we have been much happier.
Now for cloud computing, I can’t say enough good things about it! Your memory doesn’t get taken up locally. The backup is guaranteed by someone else other than you and is usually redundant on multiple servers in multiple parts of the world. I’m thoroughly convinced that the cloud is the future of all computing. If you have a hard drive crash, there is zero liability for you when your data is web-based. You just get a new computer, log on to the web and login to your account. Google docs is a perfect example of this technology, and indeed I have been moving more and more of my own personal documents up to their cloud. Blue skies, coming my way…
Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com.