What Does The Cloud Offer Dental Practices?

The cloud may be popular, but that’s not reason enough to migrate your dental practice data to a cloud solution. What are the real benefits that the cloud can deliver?

The cloud can play an important role for both providers and patients in dental organizations. It has replaced traditional dental operations with digital alternatives that help to lower costs and increase automaton, as well as allow for data integration and analysis, resulting in higher efficiency.

What Type of Cloud Solution Is Best Suited for Dental Care?

With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions specifically designed for the dental industry, many barriers to entry have all but disappeared with the help and pioneering efforts of other major Line Of Business (LOB) applications in the march to the cloud.

The best examples of this are the SaaS-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions.

Traditionally, manufacturing companies use ERP solutions to allow organizations to facilitate better planning/scheduling, the timely delivery of materials, and better communication between their teams and departments (isn’t this how information should move within your office?). The cloud has only improved on and enhanced this capability, allowing business to develop a hybrid environment in which part of their ERP strategy is cloud-based, allowing for great reliability and redundant data to ensure efficient failover in the case of a disaster.

Similarly, traditional hard copy medical records and locally stored EMRs aren’t meeting patient expectations of today’s pace and peoples’ busy lives. Patients want to access to up to date records with ease, have the billing be prompt, and know everything is accurate and secure. The cloud provides for a totally ambulatory EMR that integrates seamlessly with all aspects of the business, from decreasing the practice’s revenue cycle and providing management with insights into the patient care, to insights into the big picture of the management of your patient population. Using technology of this type, the staff can focus on their actual assigned work – the taking care of their patients.

Advantages of cloud-enabling your Dental Practice include:

  • Easy scalability and adjustment as demand for dental services increase or decrease (the capital vs. expense argument).
  • Access to data without the need to store information on a computer (this alone will minimize your HIPAA risk and exposure) while securely allowing access from a computer or a mobile device.
  • Secure remote access to applications and data – extending to where and how you work (or not work)
  • Access from mobile devices via the Internet
  • Access to a much larger ecosystem of information and a wide range of services.

Cloud services allow staff to access vast amounts of data (patient or population history) to produce the appropriate treatment plans. Patients can also access these services to learn about their medical issues and collaborate with their dental care team.

Sophisticated analytic capabilities can be used along with business intelligence solutions to improve both patient-specific assessment and management. Intelligent Business Process Management Suites (iBPMSs) and Case Management Frameworks (CMFs) provide dental staff with the capabilities they need to mitigate mistakes and minimize patient adverse events (PAEs) before they happen.

What Does The Cloud Offer Dental Organizations In Security?

With traditional dental tech, the dental organization is responsible for security. With cloud services, the responsibility is shared between the cloud provider, the dental practice, and the IT service provider.

With the cloud, security systems and tools are integrated with the cloud-based services they provide. Cloud Line of Business systems come with controls for access and authentication, firewalls, encryption services, monitoring, and intrusion detection. Plus, CSPs offer government-certified services through initiatives like FedRAMP, FISMA, and FIPS.

Cloud-based dental IT systems allow for broad interoperability and integration of other systems such as imaging systems and applications like EHR/EMR solutions. They offer the ability to share information easily and securely; patients expect this as this is the norm in other healthcare branches.

What Does The Cloud Do For Dentists?

Cloud services facilitate personal health maintenance, improve diagnoses, obtain better case outcomes, and optimize dental delivery. Dental practices are increasingly relying on cloud-based practice management/medical records, and the all-important medical image archiving solutions. They offer cost-effective benefits and the ability to offload tasks from staff so that they can support other operational and support systems.

Cloud services also give you flexibility in working when and where you or staff wants to. Meaning, if your biller needs to work at home because they need to take care of a sick child, they can. Or, if you get an emergency record request after hours, you can easily handle it. Since the services are in the cloud, all that is required is an Internet connection, staff training, and an understanding of HIPAA and how the cloud has an impact on it.

Cloud services, by storing data offsite in secure, maintained data centers, allow dental organizations to take advantage of storage services at a fraction of the cost of housing them internally. This results in reduced capital expenses and reduced staffing needs as well.

What Does The Cloud Mean For Patients?

All of that’s not to mention that the cloud promotes patient compliance. Patients are now sharing vital information with their providers to help them when making decisions and dealing with differential diagnoses. The increase in the cloud has led to the replacement of health systems with new capabilities that allow patients to play a greater role in their dental care. The cloud is at the center of this change – it supports the collaboration and information sharing that consumers demand today.

To fully benefit from the cloud, dental practices should develop a strategy that complements its business goals. Cloud solutions for dental practices will continue to provide new and improved patient care capabilities as more advances are accomplished.

Like this article? Check out How to Use the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to Get Access From Anywhere, or What Is Small Business Saturday? (November 24th, 2018) to learn more.

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