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How Cloud-Based Veterinary EMRs Can Help You Lower Hardware Dependency and Costs

By February 14, 2024No Comments

Veterinary practices today rely heavily on practice management and electronic medical record (EMR) systems to manage patient care, medical records, billing, inventory, and more. Traditionally, these systems were hosted on local servers within the practice, requiring investments in hardware, servers, backup systems, and IT infrastructure. However, these local server-based systems also come with drawbacks, such as high maintenance costs, limited scalability, security risks, and data loss. Cloud-based veterinary EMRs emerge as an alternative solution that can help veterinary practices minimize these challenges.

Cloud-based veterinary EMRs refer to veterinary software applications that run on remote, web-based platforms rather than in-house servers within a veterinary premise. This allows the data to be stored and accessed securely over the internet via a web browser or mobile application. Shifting to cloud-based EMR systems enables practices to reduce dependency on on-site hardware and minimize the typical drawbacks associated with maintaining localized servers. Practices can leverage the cloud to lower IT costs while improving efficiency, security, and flexibility.

What is an Electronic medical record (EMR) System?

Electronic medical record (EMR) systems are technology solutions that manage patient medical data, including health history, exam notes, treatment plans, medical imaging, lab results, billing, and more. They aim to improve practice efficiency, compliance, patient care, and medical record keeping. Cloud-based EMRs for veterinary practices simply mean that the EMR software, servers, and data storage exist remotely in a vendor’s secure data center instead of on a local in-house server. This removes the need for practices to invest in on-site server hardware and maintenance.

There are compelling reasons for veterinary practices to consider switching from locally hosted systems like Avimark, Cornerstone, and ImproMed to modern cloud-based systems such as EzyVet, Digitail, and Shepherd. Chief among these reasons is the ability of cloud-based EMRs to significantly reduce a veterinary practice’s hardware costs and dependency on physical on-site IT infrastructure. Let us explore these benefits in depth, including reduced server and hardware costs, improved data security, increased reliability and access, simplified scalability, and streamlined IT management.

1. Reduced Server and Hardware Costs

As we have already seen above, one of the biggest advantages of cloud-based EMRs is the reduction in expenses related to on-site servers and IT infrastructure. With a locally hosted server, veterinary practices must budget for the initial server and backup system purchase, ongoing maintenance and repairs, software updates, and replacements every 3-5 years as technology advances. These costs are eliminated with a cloud-based system since it is hosted offsite by the EMR vendor.

Practices no longer need to maintain on-site servers, bearing all the associated costs. Without large upfront capital investments in hardware, upgrades are also easier since the EMR vendor maintains the infrastructure as part of the subscription. This saves thousands of dollars over time and converts the costs into more manageable monthly software subscription fees.

2. Improved Data Security and Backup

Another major benefit is advanced data security and automated backups that come with cloud-based EMR platforms. Local servers, especially in small veterinary practices, carry the risk of failures leading to permanent data loss. Cloud-based EMR vendors invest heavily in data security to protect patient health information (PHI).

Features like daily automated backups, redundancy replication across multiple data centers, robust disaster recovery plans, and advanced encryption provide a level of protection unmatched by on-premise servers. Adhering to veterinary industry regulations is also much easier via the cloud. This removes a huge operational burden from small veterinary practices related to managing and securing data. It is important to choose a provider that takes this seriously. There are a number of providers that don’t. So just because your new PIMs system is cloud based, doesn’t mean that its protected. I would start with some of our favorite cloud systems that take security seriously. Digitail, Shepherd & Instinct. 

3. Increased Access and Reliability

Cloud-based systems offer 24/7 access and near 100% uptime reliability levels that local hardware cannot match. Vets can access patient data from any device, anywhere, at any time. This supports remote work options, access during power outages, and uninterrupted operations even during local internet failures via cached data modes.

Smooth operational efficiency is no longer hampered by servers going down. With a reputable cloud EMR vendor, platform reliability reaches as high as 99.99%. This keeps staff productive and eliminates downtime-related revenue losses during outages.

4. Simplified Scalability

Scaling up storage, backups, or computing capability with a cloud-based EMR is quick and headache-free. Local servers often limit storage expansion, and integrating hardware from multiple vendors gets exponentially tricky. Cloud platforms handle all capacity and integration complexities on the back end.

As veterinary practices grow, they can easily subscribe to higher tiers and add-on storage from their EMR vendor without disruptive migrations. The cloud handles scaling seamlessly.

5. Simplified IT management and maintenance

With cloud-hosted systems, EMR vendors shoulder complete responsibility for server and software maintenance, including system updates, backups, security patches, and uptime monitoring. Veterinary practices no longer need to invest budgets, personnel, or time towards managing on-site sever infrastructure. Without local servers on the premises, there is also less risk of disruptions to EMR system availability from natural disasters, power outages or hardware failures etc.

This overall reduction in IT maintenance overhead frees up technical teams at the veterinary hospitals, who would have otherwise had their hands full managing servers. The simplified, outsourced IT model allows in-house IT staff to allocate time to more strategic technical projects that further the core patient care objectives of the veterinary practice.

6. Increased flexibility and mobility

Cloud-based EMRs enable veterinary practices to access patient medical records and data from anywhere at any time. Doctors and staff can review patient history, update records, prescribe medication, and more, whether they are at another clinic location, at home, or on the go using devices like laptops, tablets, or smartphones. This provides tremendous location-independent flexibility to care teams.

Vets can also leverage mobile devices like tablets during medical rounds to pull up X-rays, lab tests, or treatment plans to consult and share with pet owners on the spot. Record updates can occur in real time. This supports continuity of care across clinic visits. The mobility further aids remote/tele-veterinary medicine services to extend care reach. Simply put, the flexibility unlocked by cloud EMR access allows for providing uninterrupted care unconditionally of time or location barriers.

This also includes some security challenges. With a lot of cloud based PIMs not taking cyber security seriously. One of the big issues we see time and time again is Client Based Blackmail scams. Because your system is accessible from anywhere in the world, scammers will gain access your account, log in, download all your client info, including invoices. They then will blackmail you to pay them to not extort your clients. Meanwhile they are emailing your clients on your behalf asking them to pay invoices they’ve already paid. Of course the funds all go to their bank accounts. With you left to pick up the pieces if you can.

Thus its really important to make sure your cloud based PIMs has controls in place to prevent this from happening. Simple things like 2FA or 2 form factor authentication.

Final Thoughts

As we have explored, shifting away from on-premise servers to cloud-hosted veterinary EMR platforms offers tremendous advantages. Practices that make the migration eliminate substantial hardware costs and IT infrastructure burdens. Automated backups, improved security protections and advanced disaster recovery capabilities provide peace of mind around patient data integrity.

The anytime, anywhere data access unlocks new flexibility for veterinarians in caring for pets. Enhanced mobility supports continuity of care across locations and deeper patient engagement. Adding storage, support, and new capabilities happens seamlessly as practices grow over time.

As a practice owner, choosing cloud platforms greatly simplifies EMR management. The benefits directly translate into budget savings and operational efficiencies – resources better allocated towards enriching care delivery and powering the next innovations in animal health. By transitioning their technology foundations to the cloud, veterinary practices can focus more on clients’ wellness and less on servers.

Transform Your Veterinary Practice with Lucca Veterinary Data Security

Are you ready to elevate your veterinary practice into the future? With Lucca Veterinary Data Security, transitioning from outdated legacy systems to secure, cloud-based solutions is not just a step forward—it’s a leap towards unparalleled efficiency, security, and growth. Say goodbye to the constraints of Avimark, Cornerstone, and Impromed, and embrace the innovation of cloud technology with platforms like Digitail, Shepherd, Rhapsody, and EzyVet.

Experience the freedom of accessing patient records from anywhere, anytime, with any device. Automate and streamline your workflows to save time and reduce manual errors. Secure your patient data with robust encryption and backup systems, ensuring compliance and peace of mind. Plus, with our scalable solutions, your practice can grow without limits, adapting swiftly to the evolving needs of your clients and patients.

Join the ranks of veterinary practices that are thriving in the digital age. Contact Lucca Veterinary Data Security today to discover how we can tailor our IT services to your specific needs, ensuring a smooth, secure transition to the cloud. Elevate your practice’s efficiency, security, and client satisfaction with just one call.

Call us today at 720-316-8344

Don’t let outdated technology hold you back. Reach out to Lucca Veterinary Data Security now and unlock the full potential of your veterinary practice.

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