The constant introduction and development of new updates, requirements, and innovations in optical technology has some ODs and their staff trying to catch up. Cloud computing has made big leaps and bounds of recent, having proven to cut costs for practices and help employees focus more intently on the core of the practice. Redundant tasks and past IT issues are slowly becoming obsolete, streamlined, and improved through use of the cloud technology.
We know that the subject of technology probably isn’t the strong suit for everyone in your practice, and when it comes to understanding some of the more specific requirements of utilizing cloud-based EHR software in your practice you might have a few questions. We have compiled common questions and terms concerning cloud technology and it’s capabilities within your own practice’s network. Understanding your software and equipment, and how they can benefit each other can help your practice function at a higher level.
Understanding the Details of Cloud-Based EHR Software
Let’s start with some basics. In order to use cloud-based software in your practice you’ll need to have an Internet connection. For some more rural practices, this can sometimes be a bit of an issue, but there are work arounds and options available.
So how fast does your Internet connection need to be? It can all depend on the software, but for ours, we recommend an Internet download speed of 12 megabits (Mbps) per second, and a minimum of at least 8 Mbps. Most providers offer varying speeds for Internet service, so just make sure you’ve got the package that is most optimal for your software. Internet speeds are measured in a few different terms so let’s take a look at some of the terms and differences.
Mbps, MBps, KBps?
- Mbps refers to megabits per second.
- MBps refers to megabytes per second.
- KBps refers to kilobytes per second.
Example: 12 Mbps is equal to 1.5MBps or 1500 KBps. 8 Mbps is equal to 1MBps or 1000 KBps.
These all reference Internet speed and data transfer rate. Knowing the capability of your network, and it’s speed, will help you pair the right software with your current equipment. This helps keep your system running smoothly and guards against overloading the system with too much data.
What happens if there is an Internet outage?
We recommend backing up your network with an inexpensive router and/or on a 4G cellular connection. It's a small, but critical, investment to ensure your practice stays online even if the Internet were to go down suddenly. You always want to be prepared!
What about hardware needs?
The beauty of cloud-based EHR software is that your hardware choices are totally up to you. All you need to do is make sure they have the ability to access an Internet browser. Depending on the software you’ll likely be able to choose between your choice of PC or Mac, and desktops or tablets!
You’re also not going to have to worry about servers in your practice. Your software vendor hosts your data and servers for you, so the hassles of IT management and security are taken off your shoulders.
Have more questions about the cloud? Check out a few of our other posts:
- Would You Rather: EHR Software Edition
- Cloud Computing in Eyecare in 2015
- EHR Software: 5 Reasons Cloud-Based is Better
- What Exactly Does Multi Device, Multi Platform Mean?
While these basic facts on cloud computing can get you started, investing the time to truly understand and fully utilize your cloud technology might prove more worthwhile than buying the software itself! Each practice must decide which model of cloud computing best fits their own custom workflow, and recognize the steps that are needed to ensure a secure and functioning system.