Software as a Service
By Dr. Jonathan Elion, MD, FACC
Providing a rules-based expert system requires that the “knowledge”, or software system, be made available throughout a healthcare organization, a goal that is easily accomplished with the use of a hosted data model.
In the past, uses of the “Software as a Service” approach were met with concerns over security and confidentiality, causing many hospitals to return to or stick with a strategy of owning and maintaining their own software and hardware.
However, technology and security advances have now made this “hosted data center” approach attractive once again. In addition to greater security, this approach also offers economies of scale and reduced operations and maintenance costs. The technology that underlies a hosted data center ensures that all users have continual access, while securing the patient data, and allowing for the aggregation of data which can be used for benchmarking and comparisons with peer groups.
Perhaps the most significant impact of this approach is the elimination of the barrier to entry, as no hardware or software installation is required. New customers can be brought online in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months. For the small hospital, this means access to sophisticated computer systems without the need for a similarly sophisticated IT department. For the large hospital, the burden of managing software licenses and installation is eliminated.
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A web-delivered product can also reduce the risks created by rogue programs and viruses on a hospital’s personal computers. Until recently, most applications required the installation of software onto the desktop, which opened the door to malware and made hospital IT departments wary. Today’s advances have eliminated that need, allowing immediate and secure access to data over the web from a browser, and ensuring that all users are running the most current version. Modern browsers can be set to eliminate the local caching of Protected Health Information (“PHI”), further reducing the risk of errant confidential data.
Are you considering using a hosted data center at your facility?
Dr. Jonathan Elion is a practicing board-certified cardiologist in Providence, R.I., an associate professor of medicine at Brown University, and founder and CEO of ChartWise Medical Systems, Inc.