Still Cloudy About EMRs In The Cloud, Hospitals? Be Careful

I’m as fond of a good tech paradigm shift as anyone else, but I have to say the whole discussion of “the cloud” has gotten so vague that it’s doing more harm than good. I think that’s particularly been the case in hospitals, which are already strained to the breaking point adopting EMRs/EHRs along more traditional lines.

Some thoughts from vendors on what the cloud means for hospital EMRs follow. I veer between thinking there’s nothing much new here and that there may be a paradigm shift lurking in the brush here somewhere.

Yes, I know there’s a difference between a browser-accessible application (the current SaaS model) and an application which is truly virtualized and manages data across all servers, storage and platforms (e.g. mobile Web, desktop, iPad, etc.). So I’m not suggesting all of the cloud talk is hooey.

But as long as vendors continue to blur that distinction, I’d be worried, especially as a hospital with an extremely complex platform to manage. If they aren’t sure what they’re delivering, how can they manage the fluid datastream that will someday be your EHR? Check out the examples below and see what you think.

Some Random EMR Cloud Pitches:

1. From Dell: Platform-as-a-Service

Dell’s MSite solution gives hospitals using MEDITECH access to the Health Care Information System (HCIS) software through the cloud. With MSite, Dell hosts MEDITECH applications in a state-of-the-art private cloud and provides technical and applications support, maintenance and disaster recovery at a predictable monthly cost. MSite also allows hospitals to more quickly and cost-effectively upgrade to newer versions of MEDITECH by alleviating upfront investment and ongoing maintenance costs associated with running the platform onsite. Dell’s MSite solution is available today.

2. From 4medica: Cloud-based SaaS

4medica announced today that its Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) version 10.11 has earned certification as an Electronic Health Record (EHR) Module. The cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) iEHR solution satisfies the general and inpatient categories of certification criteria and meets the inpatient clinical quality measures required for hospitals and health systems to attest for Stage 1 meaningful use. With 15 months or less to go, healthcare organizations can rapidly deploy the affordable iEHR within weeks to qualify for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

3. By Medscribbler: Medical record SaaS

Medscribbler Cloud is a true Internet based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for both small independent clinical practices and larger mobile home care businesses. Offering a combination of clinical processor and practice management, Medscribbler Cloud addresses the challenges of limited time and information technology support facing small practices by offering advanced technology that is simple to use and even simpler to deploy. For mobile practices Medscribbler Cloud optimizes network speed and management.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Before creating this post, did you say “To the cloud!”? If you didn’t, then I can’t believe any of it.

    There are lots of different meanings of the word cloud and all of them are going to subsist. One thing is certain, hospitals are going to need to use the cloud. In fact, they’ll likely use the cloud in all its varieties. Just depends on the type of application that they’re installing.

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