In part one of our two-part Senior Care Cloud series, we discussed some of the key cloud basics to get the most out of cloud and your EMR adoption: What is the cloud? How do you get started? What is your cloud strategy, and how do you select the right technology?

In part two of my discussion with Sandra Yu, our CDW cloud expert, we talk Wi-Fi, management and implications for EMR migration.

The Reality of Cloud Costs

GINNA: Is cloud more expensive than an on-premises option? Are there any examples of circumstances where cloud is more cost-efficient or cheaper?

SANDRA: That’s a good question. Every customer’s a little bit different in terms of their footprint and the investments they’ve made, what the IT staff is comfortable with, and workload financial ROI. But I think things like Office 365 from a productivity perspective are kind of no-brainers in the sense that they free up the on-premise data center for more mission-critical applications. That and email are certainly applications a lot of healthcare providers and senior care don’t necessarily want to keep investing staff time to update and patch and deal with the security that is required to keep them on-premise.

I think some other areas where costing makes sense are backup and disaster recovery. Specifically around disaster recovery, that notion goes back to the analogy of homeownership. So, in this analogy I am a homeowner, but I don’t have a secondary home built out that’s replicated with all the comforts of my primary home in case something goes wrong with my primary home. What I do have is an insurance policy in the event of an emergency. That concept could be translated to our customers around disaster recovery. Why build out a secondary data center that is replicated to your primary data center with a large capital expenditure, and for something that you hope never to use? So disaster recovery as a service could be thought of as an “insurance policy” to ultimately create a warm, active site in the event of an emergency.

Adoption to the Rescue: Wi-Fi, EMR Migration and Easing Management

GINNA: The number of residents continues to go up, but the number of caregivers and staff continues to stay static or decrease. When it comes to IT, resources are still limited. Are there cloud solutions that are affordable for someone who is very limited in their IT spend? How do they get started, and where should they focus their investments?

SANDRA:

Oh, absolutely. I think in those cases, certainly from a backup and a disaster recovery perspective, you think of what it would take to create that from a traditional on-premise server data center perspective. Cloud definitely would be great for those environments, just because it’s more scalable and certainly much more cost-effective than the traditional perspective.

I would start by looking at the easiest things to move. First and foremost, Wi-Fi is a key technology that you want to make sure fully supports resident and staff access — from casual use by seniors and their families to resident tracking applications and EMR, as well as medical carts or tablets the nursing staff might be using. Second, I would recommend focusing on office productivity as well as backup and disaster recovery. Email seems like such a mundane application, but especially with EMR deployment, senior care providers shouldn’t be worrying about keeping email exchanges up. Having a partner there to help you develop your strategy will answer some of the key questions necessary to begin on the road to cloud.

GINNA: How does the cloud help you make the move to an EMR successful and efficient?

SANDRA: Many of the EMRs in senior care today are already cloud-based — PointClickCare, MatrixCare and eClinicalWorks, for example. So, the adoption is easy and there is no IT infrastructure or time investment needed. In addition, having a main production mission-critical “in the cloud” eases the concerns about moving Tier II/III type applications into the cloud.

What questions do you have about the cloud and how it could benefit your senior care community? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @CDW_Healthcare or connect with us on our LinkedIn Showcase Page.

And to learn more about cloud technology solutions that can help your staff and improve your community operations, check out our Senior Care Capabilities Brochure. If you’re looking for more personalized direction, click here to learn about how we partner with senior living and long-term care organizations like yours.

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