Eight reasons to embrace cloud technology in healthcare

Eight reasons to embrace cloud technology in healthcare

We’ve done the maths. But saving $600K in ten years is just one good reason to switch to the cloud.

In today’s fast-paced world, healthcare needs to be as efficient and technologically advanced as any other sector. This doesn’t mean adopting the latest technology for the sake of it. It does mean delivering 21st-century healthcare and, by doing it right, reaping substantial, long-term cost savings, and significant workplace and environmental benefits.
Here are eight reasons why cloud technology is essential to healthcare:

1. Interoperability is the future
Interoperability isn’t just a passing trend. Governments worldwide are moving towards legislating information sharing by default and cloud technology ensures real-time information exchange at the point of care. In contrast, non-cloud technologies, including cloud-bridging platforms, introduce multiple risks ranging from data integrity to security and governance issues. Cloud-based EHRs (Electronic Health Records) provide superior interoperability, enabling more coordinated and integrated care.

2. Cloud technology drives operational efficiency
From minimised IT overheads to consolidation of services and identity management, cloud technology reshapes how businesses operate. It offers universal access, strengthens data security, supports single source systems, and much more. Adopting the cloud doesn’t just mean upgrading technology; it enables overhauling and enhancing the operational fabric of your organisation.

3. Unparalleled scalability with cloud solutions
The adaptability of cloud applications is noteworthy. In a landscape that’s continuously evolving, cloud-based solutions can adeptly manage unpredictable usage patterns, support multi-party usage, and adapt to regulatory changes swiftly. With unparalleled scalability, cloud solutions are equipped to handle increasing data volumes, user counts, and evolving stakeholder needs.

4. Cost Analysis: Cloud vs. on-premise
When it comes to the financial aspects of healthcare, cloud solutions offer undeniable benefits. Consider the following costs associated with cloud and on-premise solutions. 

Click here to view the below table in a new window.

5. Adapting to the casualised workforce trend
The post-pandemic period has witnessed a shift towards a more casualised healthcare workforce. The burgeoning telemedicine sector, and changing economic circumstances, have resulted in more flexible work arrangements. Digital platforms are bolstering this change, fostering work-from-anywhere telecommuting and freelance opportunities. Cloud technology stands at the crux of these changing workforce trends, ensuring seamless transitions and facilitating innovative care models for healthcare providers and consumers.

6. Meeting patient expectations in the post-Covid era
The Covid-19 pandemic reshaped many sectors, and healthcare wasn’t exempt. Nowadays, patients anticipate digital solutions such as online appointment bookings, e-prescriptions, and quick access to telemedicine. Beyond the functional solutions, they also expect a personalised touch to their care, and more involvement in decision-making. Digital healthcare, powered by cloud technology, enables safety improvements, real-time access to information, and an enhanced patient experience.

7. Environmental benefits
According to research, cloud computing can decrease carbon emissions by approximately 60%-70%. This not only reflects more sustainable utilisation of resources like water, but also effective management of waste products when decommissioning hardware. As opposed to traditional data centers, cloud data centers are known to be significantly more energy efficient. [1,2] Transition to the cloud means reducing the carbon footprint of your health business.

8. Virtual care: The way forward
With virtual care rising in popularity, especially in Australia, integrated patient data systems are crucial. Cloud-based EHR solutions offer healthcare providers location-agnostic access to patient data, ensuring comprehensive care, whether provided remotely or in-clinic.

In summary, the transition to cloud technology in the healthcare sector isn’t just a tech upgrade; it’s a holistic approach to meeting modern business challenges head-on. Furthermore, the estimated costs savings over a 10-year period for a 10-doctor practice is over $600,000, not to mention the environmental benefits and peace of mind that come with outsourcing operations to a trusted partner.

Whether you’re a startup or an established player, it’s time to harness the power of the cloud.

[1] https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/products-services/the-cloud?energyType=true

[2] https://aws.amazon.com/executive-insights/content/fighting-climate-change-with-the-cloud/

This article was written by MediRecords CEO & Founder Matthew Galetto, and originally published by Health Services Daily and The Medical Republic.

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    MediRecords Feature Release: Email on Demand

    Feature Release: Email on Demand

    Email correspondence to your contacts and patients from any screen in MediRecords with Email on Demand.

    We are excited to announce that Email on Demand is being released very soon, a highly anticipated feature that allows our users to send emails from MediRecords with ease. Users will be able to send emails directly from MediRecords, without having to download files or switch between applications. By integrating our new email solution into MediRecords, users can simplify their communications processes, reduce administrative overhead, and expedite patient care. 

    Email on Demand is accessible from the Universal Communications Bar, which is in the top right-hand corner of the MediRecords platform. This feature allows users to securely send an email to any contact or patient in their database from any MediRecords screen. Whether they are in the Patient Clinical Dashboard, Appointments, or Billing screen, they can use this feature to share key information & attachments with patients and contacts.

    Play Video

    Email on Demand is designed to be easy to use and reduce errors when selecting recipient or patient details. When users are viewing a Patient Record and open Email on Demand, they can tick the checkbox to Select Current Patient, and the Recipient and Regarding fields will be automatically populated with the patient details. Users can also search for any contact or patient in their database from the Recipient field.

    The Send button will become Active when all required fields (Recipient, Subject and Message) have been populated. Before sending an email, a pop up will appear to ask the user to confirm the details are correct. The user can either Cancel or Continue. If the user cancels, the pop up will close and the user can edit the email. If the user continues, the pop up will close, the email will be sent, and the Email screen will reset.

    Email on Demand is a convenient feature that helps to enhance workflows and productivity. Users can use Email on Demand for various purposes, such as:

    • Emailing clinic rosters & updates to internal practice users 
    • Sending attachments to patients such as a Health Summary, Care Plan, prescriptions, medical certificates and education resources.  
    • Sending multiple document attachments to external healthcare professionals, regarding a specific patient. 

    To read more on how to use Email on Demand, please visit the following articles from our  Knowledge Base.

    If you would like to book a demo, please contact our Sales team here.

    Frequently asked questions

    Any document created as a New Letter or Imported into the Correspondence OUT grid will be available to be attached, provided that the letter status is Final. This means Investigation Requests, Invoices, Patient Education, and more, can be sent via email after being uploaded to the Patient’s Correspondence.

    While you won’t be able to receive a direct reply into MediRecords, you can include Reply-to instructions in the body of your email. All emails will come from a clear no-reply email address with an embedded footer that also indicates the inability to receive replies.

    Yes, you can send as many emails as you like, however you will be unable to include multiple recipients on one email at this stage.

    To keep your email safe and secure, the recipient’s email address must be confirmed and saved within a Patient Record or Contact.

    As with most email servers, a failure to deliver can take a long time and is not always immediately apparent. While you won’t be able to see a delivery status within MediRecords, if you’re concerned your email has not reached its destination, please speak to our Support team.

    A sent email will be logged as a Task in the Activities screen, and within the Patient’s Activities tab. This entry will include comprehensive details of the email, including all recipient and patient information, and even whether a file was attached or not, to provide peace of mind that your email went to the right place, and that you didn’t forget to attach that document.

    MediRecords utilises SMTP Port 587, as do many other major industry mail clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail. This is highly secure, encrypted and reliable, with additional layers of security compared to other ports.

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      A clinician’s MediRecords odyssey: unveiling efficient, mobile aged care medicine

      A clinician's MediRecords odyssey: unveiling efficient, mobile aged care medicine

      Here’s the latest in our series on how people use MediRecords. In this Q & A, Dr Gaveen Jayarajan explains why he made the switch to the cloud and MediRecords to power his Doctors in Aged Care mobile medical practice.

      Tell us a bit about your practice.

      I operate the Doctors in Aged Care mobile GP service that visits residents at several Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) throughout metropolitan Melbourne. Our service exclusively does RACF work and is fully mobile and virtual; we see residents in their homes every week. We are committed to excellence in medical care of the elderly using innovative, non-traditional/hybrid approaches to healthcare service delivery.

      Associated with our medical practice, I have built the Doctors in Aged Care (DiAC) Facebook group, which is a community of over 2300 doctors Australia-wide.

      Please contrast MediRecords with the system you used prior to using MediRecords.

      I had used all the common GP clinical and practice management systems working as a GP in medical centres for the previous eight years. Usually clinics would use two different programs, one for clinical use and one for practice management (i.e., appointments/billing/claiming/reporting). When I started working full-time in aged care, I used a popular GP clinical software system which was server-based. This worked okay in a medical centre but was not well suited to mobile work visiting RACFs.

      As a doctor working in a challenging and inefficient setting, I urgently needed a reliable and stable solution. Hence my move to a cloud-based alternative, MediRecords.

      My initial apprehension with using a cloud system was what happens if internet speed and connection were unreliable? To my surprise this was a non-issue. Using mobile broadband devices, which now give NBN-type speeds in some locations, internet speed was not an issue. I could also use my mobile phone as a Hotspot if needed.

      MediRecords is an all-in-one, integrated clinical and practice management system. So, from a single browser window I could access the clinical functions I needed as well as seamlessly view my appointment book, create new appointments, perform billings, view current Medicare claims in progress, and generate reports for total invoices/billings over any time period.

      The third change was no longer having to engage and deal with a third-party IT service provider. Now all of this was handled in the background automatically; updates are   installed remotely with no disruption or major technical issues.

      How does MediRecords enhance your efficiency?

      I use the MediRecords appointment book as a key tool to manage my workload, maximise efficiency and provide proactive rather than reactive care.

      Every time a phone, email or fax request is received to review a patient, the patient’s name is entered into the appointment book for the next weekly visit day (or on the day of request if urgent) with an appointment type depending on the nature of the issue. It could be a “Regular” appointment or classified as for example, “Urgent’’, “Vaccine”, “Wound Review”, “Post-fall Review”, “Health Assessment”, “Phone Consultation”, etc. MediRecords allows multiple appointment types and durations to be created. Every time a patient is seen, a follow-up appointment is also made at an appropriate interval. When done for every patient, I can see with reasonable accuracy what my workload will be like. Unplanned extra patients, or “walk-ins”, can be added to the daily schedule depending on demand that day.

      We further enhance our scheduled care by using the recalls or “Clinical Actions” function. For every new patient we have recalls for core things relating to Medicare item numbers and due dates, e.g., Health Assessments, Residential Medication Management Reviews and Care Plan Contributions.

      Also useful for efficiency is the Tagging feature. I use Tags, along with another existing MediRecords feature of doing multiple patient invoices at once, to reduce the time taken to process daily billings to under five minutes.

      Another recent improvement has come with my API integration of MediRecords with Snapforms. Using Snapforms I created a “New Patient Details Form”. Now when a RACF asks me to take on a new patient, I email them a cloud-based form with a URL link. They complete all new patient details, attach a recent patient health summary or hospital discharge summary and a current medication list. After they hit submit, something magical happens! A new patient file is created in MediRecords with the key demographic data already populated, and a PDF copy of the form and any uploaded health summary or discharge summary and medication lists stored in the Correspondence IN tab in the patient file.

      I use MediRecords on multiple devices including my Surface Laptop, Samsung Galaxy tablet and Samsung Z-Fold 5 mobile phone.

      How does MediRecords enhance patient care?

      MediRecords allows me to operate with the lowest and leanest cost base and make it financially viable and sustainable for the long-term. It enables me to maintain safe and high standards of care that are consistent, repeatable and maximise quality of life for patients.

      What are your tips for people considering changing to MediRecords?

      Have a clear idea and rationale for why you want to move to the cloud.

      It can’t just be about saving money on software subscription costs or on upgrading or buying a new server. Independent GPs working at your practice will not be interested in this. Show them a way forward with a big picture view of how moving to the cloud can change the way they deliver healthcare, creating benefits they are not currently experiencing. Avoid trying to replicate like-for-like every feature of server-based software.

      What are you looking forward to with MediRecords in the future?

      The efficiencies we have been able to achieve by using cloud-based software have been done with an intense focus on optimising processes and managing costs – and without Artificial Intelligence (AI). We look forward to incorporating AI to further drive efficiency and improve patient care standards by automating more administrative processes and providing advanced clinical decision support and insights.

      If you’d like to showcase innovative ways you use MediRecords in healthcare, please reach out to us via sales@medirecords.com.

      Dr Gaveen Jayarajan is an investor and member of the MediRecords Medical Advisory Board.  

      Read more about Doctors in Aged Care on their website.  

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        Critical care: 84% of healthcare workers facing burnout, putting mental health at risk

        84% of healthcare workers
        facing burnout, putting mental health at risk

        On World Mental Health Day, it is timely to remember the importance of supporting the mental health of healthcare workers.

        The latest data from Mental Health Australia’s (MHA) annual survey of the mental well-being of healthcare workers paints a concerning picture.

        The survey found 84% of respondents reported that the pandemic’s demands lead to burnout in 2022.

        The WHO describes burnout as a syndrome caused by unmanaged workplace stress. It includes feeling exhausted, negative about work, and ineffective.

        Burnout is linked to a conceptualised “COVID-19 fourth wave”, alongside psychological trauma, mental illness, and economic strain, according to the US physician, Associate Prof. Victor Tseng.

        Burnout significantly raises the risk of unsafe care by doctors and nurses, studies show.

        In a review of 13 studies involving 20,643 doctors, “physicians with overall burnout had almost three times greater odds of making self-perceived errors,” found a study in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2022. The odds were almost identical for nurses, with burnout likely to providing poor-quality care, a separate study found this year.

        One leading organisation supporting the wellbeing of healthcare professionals is the Black Dog Institute. It established The Essential Network (TEN), which aims to prevent burnout.

        TEN offers practical resources , confidential personalised support and up to five free telehealth sessions.

        “Every Australian has been impacted by COVID-19, but few have felt the brunt of the pandemic more keenly than health professionals,” said Black Dog Institute’s Deputy Director and Chief Psychiatrist, Professor Sam Harvey.

        Mental Health Australia CEO Carolyn Nikoloski said that, for the first time in 20 years, Australia does not have a national mental health and suicide prevention plan. She said: “A national roadmap needs to be developed to address these concerning trends and ensure equitable access to mental health care supports for all people in Australia.”

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          What are the keys to embedding telehealth into your practice?

          What are the keys to embedding telehealth into your practice?

          A new US study has identified reasons that some primary-care practices were better able than others to adapt to the surge in the demand for telemedicine during the pandemic.

          We wanted to know if the Australian experience was the same, so we asked our telehealth partner, Coviu.

          The study of 87 US practices, in the Annals of Family Medicine, found key factors were:

          • Prior experience with virtual health, such as knowing the importance of grouping telehealth visits together; and
          • Triaging rules, that is, clearly or not clearly knowing which patients could be treated virtually and which required an in-person visit 

          Coviu observed during the pandemic that primary-care practices, boosted by the rapid introduction of universal Medicare reimbursements for phone and video telehealth, were quick to adopt phone for telehealth, but were more reluctant to adopt video telehealth, according to CEO Silvia Pfeiffer.

          “This has remained the major approach to telehealth in primary care,“ Dr Pfeiffer said.

          “This trend persists despite the government’s push for the adoption of video and compelling evidence suggesting that, for many visits, video results in better outcomes than phone calls.

          “But for many primary-care services, phone telehealth is completely adequate, and for many patients without connectivity, phone is the only telehealth option.”

          Coviu confirmed that practitioners throughout the Australian healthcare system demonstrated greater adaptability to telehealth when it was already integrated into their practice model, such as in rural settings, or when it was part of their pre-pandemic strategy.

          “The absence of clear and consistent triage guidelines, especially early in the pandemic, contributed to the challenges faced by healthcare providers,” Dr Pfeiffer said.

          “Triage guidelines help determine which patients should receive in-person care, telehealth consultations, or home care, and their absence can lead to uncertainty and increased workload for clinicians.”

          She said when initially adopting telehealth during the pandemic, primary-care practitioners faced significant challenges including “unmet basic requirements, such as the absence of webcams or sufficiently powerful computers for telehealth”.

          “In addition, many GPs lacked adequate training on what could be accomplished through video telehealth.”

          Today, obstacles to wider adoption of telehealth include, “the stigma associated with video consultations, particularly among practitioners accustomed to in-person care”, Dr Pfeiffer said.

          “Slow change management within healthcare organisations hinders progress, with a perception that video visits are inferior to in-person appointments, which does not apply in all instances. For example, mental health advice often leads to better outcomes when delivered via video in the comfort of a person’s own home.

          “Reimbursements are still a challenge as the rules continue to change, causing confusion.

          “Misinformation about privacy and security concerns as well as regulatory requirements also loom, impacting patient trust.

          “Furthermore, inadequate training, both in technical software use and determining the clinical appropriateness of remote consultations, remains a hurdle.”

          Factors Coviu says lead to successful telehealth adoption include:

          1. Digital knowledge within practices that already had digital communication mechanisms set up with their clients.
          2. Practices that strategically integrated telehealth into their workflows and adopted technology to make this seamless
          3. Practices that prepared their staff with training on their virtual-care workflow
          4.  Adoption of triaging rules by clinicians, as proposed by industry experts such as the RACGP, and other industry bodies and federations.

          MediRecords has partnered with Coviu to streamline booking of video consultations with practice clients. Once your Coviu account is connected to MediRecords, any consultation nominated as a telehealth appointment auto-generates a link to the Coviu virtual consultation and your client is sent an invitation via SMS or email.

          MediRecords and Coviu are both Australian developed cloud-hosted health technology companies.

          Read more about Coviu on their website

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