Posts Tagged healthcare SaaS

Our Head in the Clouds…

We have been talking a lot lately about “cloud computing.” This may sound like some new-fangled idea to suddenly hit the market, but in reality it has been around for quite some time. Let’s take a look at the basics behind cloud computing and why it is so important to the future of healthcare IT.

Cloud computing is basically a way of delivering hosted services via the Internet. Its name comes from the “cloud” image commonly used to represent multiple computers around the world being connected together (i.e. the World Wide Web). These services (or platforms) are hosted on a main server, thus enabling users to log in remotely and avoid installing software on their own computers. The only software needed is a Web browser.

The Internet is everywhere…thanks to Wi-Fi, 3G, and those “can you hear me now” commercials. Cloud computing, as a result, has grown exponentially in recent years. There are lots of cloud computing applications that you probably already use. Some notable applications include Gmail, Amazon.com, Quickbooks Online, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr.com, Blogspot, Google Docs, PayPal, your online bank statements, and more. These platforms or services allow you to access your information from any computer with an Internet connection (without installing the software on your computer).

Banking, entertainment, and personal communications industries have recognized the value of cloud computing. They’ve noticed that individuals and businesses want to be more efficient and more streamlined, and they’ve responded with market-driven solutions. “There’s an app for that,” so to speak.

But in the healthcare IT world, practices have been slow to adopt the cloud technology. The key words are “have been.” Things are changing rapidly, thanks to healthcloud solutions like Case-Connect. The introduction of this new “healthcloud” is being accelerated by increased awareness of benefits, a stronger commitment to improved efficiency, and government initiatives requiring technology upgrades. Electronic Health Records (EHR) and practice management tools are looking to use cloud technologies to get the job done.

We are at the precipice of a new era in healthcare IT. Great things await us as we move forward with new ideas and new technologies. Surgical Data Solutions is poised to stay on the cutting edge as we move forward.

The future is bright and the sun is beginning to shine…through the clouds.

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Online Surgical Scheduling is the Gateway to Cloud Computing

If you have been following this blog for a few weeks, you know that I have been harsh on surgical offices for not embracing change and technology as quickly as they should. To be fair, there is a sector of the healthcare industry that is lagging even further behind, and you probably deal with them every day: hospitals.

Henry Ford changed the world with his innovation. According to Wikipedia (and I have no reason to doubt them), “the assembly line developed by Ford Motor Company between 1908 and 1915 made assembly lines famous. However, the various preconditions for the development at Ford stretched far back into the 19th century.”

Henry Ford didn’t implement the assembly line in one day…it took years to perfect and implement into the industry. The same goes for the digital revolution – it has been an ongoing process for several decades. Thankfully, now is the time to reap the fruits of so much hard work.

For some reason, hospital administrators have not yet seen the value — or rather the necessity — of switching to a digital scheduling system. Hospitals aren’t afraid of technology…if they were, we wouldn’t have CT, EKG, MRI, PACS, or any number of other high-tech acronyms.

For some reason, however, their comfort zone in scheduling is found in fax machines, hard copies, Post-it notes, and file cabinets. They want something tangible in their hands at all times. Fax machines are their scheduling security blanket, in a manner of speaking. It’s not really their fault – that’s how they were raised, and they have yet to be weaned. They’ve never really been held accountable to provide efficient scheduling procedures to partner surgeons…yet.

Until now, the surgical world has gone along for the ride. But times are changing, and we can’t afford to wait for the hospital giants to embrace inevitable (and welcomed) technology. Online surgical scheduling via a cloud computing platform is the perfect way to let hospitals dip their toes in the water, so to speak.

Nicholas Carr outlines the big switch to cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) products in his book: Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google. Carr asserts that conversion to cloud computing won’t come as a big bang, but as a slow swapping out of services over time. By starting with something relatively small (but vitally important) like surgical scheduling, hospitals can experience the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of a SaaS platform.

Bigger changes are certainly coming. Electronic medical record (EMR) services are a hot topic of the healthcare reform debate. At the recent meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Eric Schmidt of Google had a voice of warning for the federal government. He stated that by not utilizing a cloud computing model, “hospitals and doctors would continue using an outdated system of databases in what is becoming an increasingly Web-focused world.” The cloud computing model is primed to lead the medical field into a new dawn of productivity and cost savings.

The online-cloud-SaaS revolution is knocking at the door. Just as the world eventually realized the value of assembly lines, healthcare is beginning to realize the importance of efficiency, privacy, and streamlined processes. Maybe hospitals are not yet ready for the complete assembly line…but it’s time they started getting used to a conveyer belt.

Online surgical scheduling (spelled: Case-Connect) is the perfect way for hospitals to begin their foray into the digital world. They’ll never look back.

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