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A Simple Review of Life in the Cloud in The Healthcare Industry

Cloud computing has become commonplace in medical practices, and we continue to see an uptick of practices year-over-year choosing to move to the Cloud. Gone are the days of maintaining in-house servers, having to schedule upgrades at inconvenient times, and purchasing new hardware. Today’s medical practices are also realizing that using a Cloud service can eliminate many of the IT (repair/replacement or additional storage costs) and business (budget predictability of operational costs) headaches experienced in years past.  

In our world, using a Cloud service allows you to take your Practice Solution/Electronic Medical Records and move it from your local server to a Cloud-based solution. You no longer need an on-base server to store your documents, secure your database, and facilitate your connection to athenaPractice. You log into a website that launches a remote desktop connection which gives you scanning, indexing, billing, portals and hospital connections all in one spot.

Key Considerations For Life in The Cloud

Know the Team

It’s important to know upfront that your Cloud provider has the resources to manage your migration to the Cloud and throughout the life of the relationship. The Cloud team you rely on, in addition to yourself, should include a Project Manager, a local IT contact, a Cloud Migration Technician, and an Interface Technician. These vital resources must work together to ensure a successful transition.

Local IT Involvement

If your practice utilizes a local IT company, their involvement is pivotal at first, then minimal afterward. Moving to a Cloud-based solution requires initial setup of printers, scanners, and other onsite hardware to be able to communicate to the data center. Once it is set, it is typically easy to leave and forget it.

Typical steps to migration may include:

  1. Kickoff meeting to discuss hosting changes and set a target date.
  2. Technical discussion with current IT resources.  
  3. Review of 3rd party applications/interfaces/vendors that may need to be transitioned.
  4. Local setup of scanners/cameras/printers to allow the transition to hosting.
  5. Onsite Cloud Assessment: Test migration to test reporting, printing, scanning, and other applications.
  6. Production Migration (overnight and/or weekend).
  7. Dedicated support bridge morning after migration for any questions/concerns.

Necessary Downtime

Downtime is strictly up to the practice. Determine if migration technicians work only during the work week or can they handle migrations over the weekend. If your practice doesn’t have any weekend or late hours, downtime may be minimal.

Post-Go-Live Date

Be sure your vendor has an entire team dedicated to maintaining and supporting the Cloud solution. This team should have the technicians that work on servers, upgrades, and even a tier group that will answer support calls.

For more information on cloud services, watch our webinar on moving your practice to the cloud.