Pros and Cons of Storing Digitized Data on the Cloud

April 8th, 2013

Working in the “cloud” is becoming more and more prevalent among large and small companies, and there are certainly benefits to online file storage. But, as with every technological innovation, there are costs involved, too, and not just the dollars and cents variety. While the benefits handily outweigh the drawbacks, here’s a look at the pros and cons of storing your data in the cloud:

 

Cloud computing security conceptPROS

 

24-Hour Accessibility: Storing your files on the internet allows you to access them from any networked computer in the world, any time of day. This is a especially useful for companies with a large virtual workforce or for staff who travel frequently or may be working on multiple devices throughout the day.

 

Storage Cost & Capacity: With online storage, capacity is almost unlimited and the price tag is surprisingly low. It’s often cheaper to store files on the internet than it is to store them locally, especially if your business requires large files that take up considerable space on local servers.  Storage vendors – such as Dropbox and SugarSync – can usually digitally encrypt data stored on their servers so that access to sensitive data is only available to authorized users.

 

Backup & Recovery: Online file storage backs up your files automatically. Backups are simple and fail-safe in the cloud, removing the potential for human error in a manual process. Some effective and affordable services include Mozy, Carbonite and Crashplan.

 

Operating System: Online storage is accessible regardless of your operating system or device. For example, you can access stored files  on any Mac, Windows, iPad,  iPhone or Android device.

 

Maintenance: It’s hard to beat the simplicity of maintaining internet storage, even at large companies. Users are simply given a login, password  and secure  access to  files online.

 

CONS

 

Internet dependence: The single-largest benefit of the Cloud is also its greatest weakness; you can’t access your files or save them online unless you’re connected to the Internet. In the case of spotty wifi or if your connection fails altogether, the Cloud will do you no good.

 

Security Risk: While your files are protected from local disasters, you assume a different kind of risk with online storage. No matter how secure your file – or how secure your storage program – there is always the potential for a breach.

 

Server Outages: As with local servers, there’s an outside chance the server storing your files online will crash, too, bringing your work to a grinding halt. Even with the very best cloud service providers, it’s a risk that comes with the territory.

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4 Signs You Need to Replace Your EMR System

February 26th, 2013

There’s no question that EMRs are the gold standard of medical record keeping. In fact, the benefits of electronic medical records are so evident that the CDC provides financial incentives to hospitals and health professionals who adopt EMRs.

 

docs at computerIt’s no surprise, as EMRs are known to improve productivity, cut down on paperwork, decrease costs and improve patient care. Even so, all EMR programs are not created equal, and yours may not be providing the benefits you anticipated. Here are four reasons to consider replacing your EMR system:

 

  1. Missed Goals: If you don’t see significant gains in efficiency, or if your program is costing more than you’re saving, it’s time to consider a new EMR system.

 

  1. Tech Issues: It’s hard to improve efficiency if your software keeps crashing, is missing important features, or if the user interface is anything but user-friendly.

 

  1. Vendor Stability: Small companies just entering the market may simply hope to cash in on high demand for EMR systems. If they’re not in it for the long haul, they may not have the infrastructure or personnel to support your system or address day-to-day tech issues. If this sounds familiar, find a new vendor you can trust for the long-term.

 

  1. Physician Productivity: Physician productivity is a key component of an effective EMR system. If your doctors find the system cumbersome, they may resort to other methods of record keeping, putting a damper on their productivity and nullifying any benefits the EMR system may provide. Find a program your docs can use with speed and efficiency.

 

The right EMR program will yield considerable benefits, curbing admin and hard costs and freeing you up to do what you do best: provide high-quality patient care.

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Automate Form Approval to Speed up Sluggish Paper Processes

January 28th, 2013

Many companies continue to use paper for their everyday business processes. In a typical scenario, one department creates a PO, prints it out and routes it to another department for review. Assuming the PO meets with approval, the paper form is signed and delivered to a third in-box for sign-off. By the time it’s approved, the PO has traveled from department to department in a tedious process that’s needlessly time consuming and inefficient.

 

KeyboardIn today’s lightning-fast business environment, such inefficiencies bring work to a grinding halt. Automated form approval eliminates lag time by speeding up common business processes. E-versions of paper forms are electronically routed from one department to the next. Approvers can choose to review and sign off on docs manually, or they can approve forms automatically based on built-in, predefined rules and parameters.

 

Companies like Oracle, EMC and OpenText offer Business Process Management (BPM) tools to help businesses automate form approval and other processes. However, simply buying the software won’t solve your paper problem overnight.

 

Unless you’re in the business of Workplace Automation, you may consider hiring a consultant to help you examine your processes from top to bottom to select the right BPM tool for your company. A consultant can also guide you through discovery, identify holes in your processes, help you develop clear metrics on approval parameters or bottlenecks, and create audit trails for your automated forms.

 

Transitioning from paper-based processes to automated forms will maximize your company’s efficiency, mitigate delays in form approval, and relieve approvers of the burden of reviewing and signing forms that meet criteria for approval.

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