Why Cloud-Based Solutions Are the Future of Healthcare

New technology has always been the engine driving advancements in medicine. In the 21st century, computers and smartphones have brought about a digital transformation in just about every aspect of our lives. One of the most significant recent developments in the healthcare industry is healthcare “in the cloud.”

Many healthcare providers and systems have already embraced the concept of cloud computing, but the technology of cloud services is evolving every day. Below, we’ll explain what cloud-based solutions are, and how the cloud can help providers store and protect invaluable healthcare data.

What Are Cloud-Based Healthcare Solutions?

According to Google, cloud computing is defined as “the on-demand availability of computing resources as services over the internet.” There are several types of cloud computing service models, ranging from infrastructure and storage services to software and application support services. What they have in common, however, is the proverbial “cloud” — the off-site storage servers and support staff that allow customers to enjoy the benefits of technology without purchasing dedicated, in-house servers and hiring pricey full-time IT and server maintenance workers.

In the past, healthcare organizations have been relatively slow to adopt new cloud-based technology solutions, but that is starting to change. Over the last decade, federal entities have started offering incentives for providers to shift to value-based care delivery, and cloud-based technology is part of the picture. The medical and financial benefits of investing in new technology has become apparent, and cloud-based healthcare is taking off in a big way.

Now, providers are increasingly turning to cloud-based apps and portals to manage medical records, patient data, revenue cycles, and real-time communication. Some of these data management tools include:

Patient portals:

Patient portals allow patients to interface directly with their health information and, in some cases, their care team. Through the portal, a patient can view lab results, request prescription refills, self-schedule appointments, or even remotely connect with clinicians in a telehealth setting. This level of patient engagement encourages patients to be proactive about their health outside of clinical settings.

Electronic health records (EHRs):

Provider-facing electronic health records are digital versions of patients’ charts and contain the medical and treatment histories of patients. Cloud-based EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information instantly available only to credentialed authorized users.

Practice management software:

Not all the information collected and used in a medical practice is patient care-focused. Practice management software like Benchmark PM can assist staff in capturing patient demographics, scheduling appointments, onboarding patients, claims filing, billing processes, and reporting. This software can also act as a digital receptionist, communicating with and accessible to patients at any time through the practice website.

As more healthcare systems and practices adopt this new technology, they will become more necessary for providing exceptional (or even adequate) patient experiences. Make sure your patients and staff are equipped with top-of-the-line digital tools so they know they are in good hands.

Advantages of Healthcare in the Cloud

Computers and applications have evolved to make our lives easier, information more accessible, and services better. The healthcare industry has made enormous strides and produced incredible results with the help of purpose-built software solutions. But why the cloud?

Increased accessibility:

When data and services live online, they can be accessed from any computer, smartphone, or tablet — and this applies to both providers and patients. Thanks to cloud providers’ dedication to database management and cybersecurity, providers can access electronic medical records and patient files from any secure device anywhere. This means providers can do more in more places, within or outside of a clinical setting or traditional office hours. Likewise, patients with limited access to healthcare professionals or without reliable transportation can receive healthcare services and access their medical information without additional office visits — so long as their provider has the technology available.

Interoperability between platforms:

Many providers use several online tools in their digital health ecosystems, but these tools don’t always “play well together.” Using an interoperable cloud-based platform can allow more than one digital system to connect seamlessly via an application programming interface, or API. APIs can connect multiple data streams to consolidate data storage and streamline reporting processes. With centralized data, providers can see the full picture of a patient’s health without toggling back and forth from platform to platform, allowing for more personalized care and better patient experiences overall.

Analytics and machine learning:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another exciting development in the world of healthcare cloud computing. By consolidating data sets and analytics on trends and changes, artificial intelligence can gradually learn to identify and even predict issues and events to improve your practice’s workflows. Once bottlenecks and trends are identified, automation can help improve the systems in place without further burdening care teams and administrative staff. Standardizing and automating processes — both within patient care plans and administrative systems — can inform decision making and boost productivity for everyone involved.

On the patient-facing side, artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way patients interact with their care at home. AI can continuously learn about patients and adjust analytical algorithms to flag abnormalities in biometric data, alert care teams, and recommend resources. With increased emphasis on remote patient monitoring, proactive health plans, and preventive strategies, AI is a massively helpful tool that can help providers better understand changes in symptoms and their causes, and communicate with patients in a timely manner.

Reduced technology costs:

Most healthcare systems and some private practices have IT staff on their team to help manage their technological networks and issues. These IT staff are technology generalists who can help fix any technological device or account, from phone systems, to printers, to email accounts. However, building and maintaining a secure, HIPAA-compliant on-premises database requires a completely different set of skills. By utilizing cloud technology, businesses let database management service providers code and maintain their online information systems in dedicated data centers for a lower cost.

Benchmark Solutions offers a variety of solutions and services.

Benchmark Solutions has been at the forefront of healthcare technology for decades, so we understand how to navigate change with ease and reap the benefits of adaptability. We’ve built our tools based on our own experiences in the healthcare industry, as well as the feedback and ideas we’ve heard from healthcare professionals like you.

Our comprehensive healthcare solutions suite was created to give the most efficient and effective results to providers and patients of all kinds. We build our systems and services with your practice in mind, able to adapt as your needs evolve.

Benchmark PM provides customizable dashboards so administrative staff can quickly and easily manage patient onboarding and scheduling, insurance eligibility, billing and revenue management, and practice-wide reporting. Integrating Benchmark PM with our other systems allows administrators to automatically share patient information across the entire healthcare ecosystem.

Benchmark EHR is an intuitive, user-friendly, multi-purpose electronic health record system that flexibly supports more than 40 specialties with customizable templates and workflows, saving clinicians time while seamlessly maintaining patient charts, ordering prescriptions, and coding encounters.

Benchmark RCM can reduce practices’ AR to an average of under 30 days and minimize error rates, resulting in a 98% Clean Claims Rate. Our dedicated and experienced revenue cycle management experts handle account and denial management, data entry, and code reviews so medical practices get paid faster and see improved profitability. When paired with Benchmark PM, our revenue cycle management solution can automate, analyze, and enhance many steps of the billing process for further improved efficiency.

If you want to learn more about the next era of healthcare technology, we are here to help.
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