Imagine enterprise software that’s easy to install and access — exactly what cloud-based applications are about. Instead of purchasing servers and software and hiring IT experts to install and support them, you subscribe to a software service and pay a monthly fee. This model is similar to your cell phone or internet connection.
There are many convenience factors to having your billing function “in the cloud,” and we’ll get to those, but let’s first look at the all-important security and regulation advantages.
In addition to medical practitioners, administrative, physical, technical, organizational, and documentation safeguards must meet 49 HIPAA compliance rules. A typical in-house, server-based program addresses 9 of them. In contrast, a cloud-based billing application meets 32 of them.
Another tough nut for small and mid-sized medical practices to crack is data security. Ideally, you should have nightly backup and redundant systems to ensure your patient data is never hacked or lost in a hard-drive crash. While that level of data security is expensive in reality, cloud-based applications have high levels of security built in.
Let’s look at the convenience factors:
- Any authorized user in your practice can access the billing information they need using any device with web access
- Billers can work remotely whether it’s for a day or a permanent, remote position.
- No physical software installation means no need for additional servers, administrators, maintenance costs, and system updates
- Scaling your practice is as simple as sending an email to add a seat.
- Keeping up with changes to Medicare and other payer regulations is vastly simplified through automatic upgrades to the cloud application.
- The right cloud security will ensure that all patient health information is protected.
It may sound strange to talk about your patient data being “in the cloud,” but such applications have so many advantages and so few drawbacks. Large corporations (and many savvy smaller ones) moved to this software model years ago. It’s time for medical practices to follow suit.