Those who manage community healthcare want to keep their workforce strong to serve their patients effectively. How do cloud-based tools help accomplish this mission? In this guide, we’ll examine the benefits of cloud-based tools for mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedicine.
Cloud-based tools are a popular choice for many businesses. But what is cloud-based software? Why should someone who manages a community paramedic program care about cloud computing? Below, we’ll avoid “technojargon” and use plain language to discuss how cloud-based tools can help your EMS MIH-CP program thrive.
Have you been frustrated with the time wasted troubleshooting a computer program? How about all those calls to the IT department? What about constantly repeating information to the hospital? Cloud-based tools can solve these headaches. If you’re new to the idea of cloud-based systems or have been skeptical of all the hype behind it, this article will help.
The 4 Benefits of Cloud-Based Tools for Mobile Integrated Healthcare-Community Paramedicine
Cloud-based tools have been popular for many years. However, the term “cloud-based” is now more mainstream than ever. So what are cloud-based tools, and, on a practical level, what can they do for you?
When you use a cloud-based system, it means that you’re accessing your tools from the internet instead of hosting them on your in-house servers. So, in essence, you’re paying for the service (Software as a Service, or SaaS, is another common word tied closely with cloud computing) instead of dealing with the hassle of maintaining the software yourself.
Here are the four benefits of cloud computing:
- Reducing maintenance headaches
- Better communication and coordination with the community
- Improving security
- Better data collection and sharing
Below, we explore each of these in more depth.
How Cloud Computing Helps Alleviate Maintenance Headaches
Cloud software is similar, in many ways, to renting a beach house for vacation. Let’s use this analogy to explain why cloud-based computing will benefit mobile integrated healthcare teams.
Let’s imagine you have two weeks for a vacation. You can either rent a cottage for those two weeks, or you can buy the cottage outright – however, you still only have two weeks each year to visit. Is buying really worth it?
When you buy a home, you have to pay for the upkeep; you must continue correcting problems as they arise. And when it comes to updating the house, that’s all coming out of your pocket – not to mention you’ll have to install a security system for all the months you’re unable to visit.
Or you could rent the home, giving you the same service (two weeks of vacation) but for a fraction of the cost and headache.
This is the same basic idea with cloud-based tools and Software as a Service – you receive the service (such as healthcare documentation software), but the company takes care of all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Instead of constantly worrying about the updates, repairs, and maintenance, you can just use your software tools and do the work you were meant to do: solving community health problems.
But how does all this translate to MIH-CP? How do EMS leaders take advantage of the tools? It turns out that cloud-based tools will do more than just maintain the servers and software – they can provide a real benefit in the function of health services.
Cloud-Based Tools for Mobile Integrated Healthcare-Community Paramedicine Systems Offer Easier Collaboration
Staying connected while caring for patients is a big deal. Just like the military needs to strategize, healthcare providers need to maintain open communication to improve the accuracy and quality of their care.
Providers will not see the entire map of their area’s needs without open communication. How can cloud-based systems help with collaboration? Let’s talk about a common term in the tech world, “Interoperable.” This term means the tools can be used and applied to multiple systems. Imagine a wrench that can fit any bolt or fuel that can power any vehicle – these tools are multifunctional.
In the same way, interoperable software can be accessed and implemented by many different providers. For example, with cloud-based software, if a paramedic wants to share authorized information with a physician, all they need to do is share a password/account/secure link. Now, they can access each other from the internet.
In the past, there was no way for a physician the share data in real-time with a separate crew in the field. Unless they were already tied by a common software within the organization, they needed to communicate by word of mouth, shared print documents, or by sending a digital report after the incident.
What’s the issue? None of these methods allow for real-time data updates by either party. With interoperable software, the physician could add the patient’s recent check-up information to their record, or the home health nurse could add information about how the patient was found in their home, including relevant details about their environment.
As you can see, these real-time communications and running records allow for more dynamic and more accurate communication. Not only does this reduce headaches for the providers, but it also improves the quality of care.
Some people have avoided cloud-based software because they are concerned about security. In the next section, we’ll discuss why cloud-based tools are often even more secure than regular software.
Software Security for MIH-CP: Health Information and Outside Threats
Cloud-based systems provide security for a couple of reasons, and before we dive into those details, let’s mention something else – cloud computing is well-accepted in the healthcare field. Cloud-based tools are used by hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare institutions. Community leaders should know cloud-based tools aren’t new and untested – they are tried and true.
Second, the healthcare community should know that privacy laws do not bar health providers from sharing authorized information with other health providers. This article isn’t about privacy laws, and it’s up to each organization to ensure they know the federal and state regulations. However, if a home health nurse is treating a patient, there is no reason that the nurse shouldn’t have access to the patient’s full health picture – indeed, this is necessary for the patient to receive the best care.
Cloud-based software provides security for transmitting health information between authorized providers and protects organizations from outside threats.
Cloud software can protect you in several ways, including:
- First, community health organizations are protected from losing their data. Even if a computer fails, all the information is backed up via an internet connection. So, if a piece of hardware goes down, like a tablet or a computer, the patient information that was input can still be accessed via the internet from another device.
- Second, your information is guarded by cyber threats by the host. Instead of paying an IT department to test and update your system constantly, the cloud company worries about that, ensuring you worry about providing care to patients.
Now let’s talk about the final reason for cloud software for community paramedicine and mobile integrated healthcare: the ease of data collection.
Cloud-Systems and Data Collection for MIH-CP
Sometimes good data collection can seem like a foreign concept to those who are interested in the field of helping people. How can numbers in a computer help provide better care for patients? There are several ways.
Consider a piece of data, like the number of times a single patient visits the ER. If you can easily collect and analyze the changes in this data, you can read how your mobile health program is functioning sufficiently. For example, if you see the patient have a significant reduction in ER visits while enrolled in your program, you know you’re doing something right.
However, this data can also be compiled in charts and graphs, allowing you to communicate positive information with stakeholders in the community health program. For example, when the city commissioners inquire about the program, you can easily demonstrate that the program is succeeding – for instance, by showing that the program is reducing the number of hospital readmissions and improving patients’ lives.
In turn, this positive data will help convert people into partners. When people see that your hard work is paying off, they will want to get on board. Cloud-based systems make collecting, organizing, and sharing this data much easier. Furthermore, those who manage mobile health programs will understand the importance of funding. Cloud-based tools allow for some of the best options for data collection while making it easy for managers to use that data.
Now, let’s go over our final thoughts.
Last Take: The Benefits Cloud-Based Tools for Mobile Integrated Healthcare-Community Paramedicine
The cloud can help your program stay connected to other providers. And the importance of communication in community paramedicine cannot be overstated. Second, cloud-based systems give managers fewer headaches, including less time spent maintaining software and more time doing what you enjoy: building a robust health system for the community.
Finally, cloud-based computing will keep you more secure while giving you the easiest path to collect data and prove that your program is working. Your program will attract more partners, leading to stable funding.
Contact Julota to see how their cloud-based tools can help your community health program achieve its goals and build a foundation for ongoing success.