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Cloud-Based Clinical Communication Platforms vs. Mobile EHR Texting Modules

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Clinicians are turning to cloud-based clinical communication platforms instead of mobile EHR texting modules in order to improve their clinical communication workflows and accelerate patient care.

Ever since their widespread adoption around the mid-2000s, modern electronic health record systems, or EHRs, allow clinicians to exchange patient information electronically. EHR systems serve as a convenient platform for documentation by providing quick, accurate, up-to-date and complete information about a patient at the point of care.

In an effort to improve upon the accessibility and usability of EHRs, mobile EHR texting modules were developed to allow clinicians to view patients’ medical information on their mobile devices.

However, as clinicians have tried to implement mobile EHR texting modules into their communication workflows, they have found them hard to use and lacking important functionality.

Compared to Mobile EHR Texting Modules, Cloud-Based Clinical Communication Platforms Offer:

  • Greater usability and functionality to support real-time, role-based messaging
  • Better integration with non-EHR information sources such as nurse call and patient monitoring systems
  • Scalable architecture and cloud-based service

Cloud-based clinical communication platforms are a better option for increasing clinician efficiency and improving clinical and financial outcomes.

The Disadvantages of Mobile EHR Texting Modules

The problems with mobile EHR texting modules extend beyond simple user interface issues. Mobile EHR texting modules do not provide the features necessary for real-time communication.

Functionality

Due to outdated functionality, mobile EHR texting modules often lack:

  • Role and team-based messaging
  • Advanced messaging capabilities, such as message screening, forwarding, etc.
  • Native real-time scheduling or integration with scheduling apps
  • VoIP calling integrated within a messaging app
  • Alert (nurse call, patient monitoring) inputs beyond the functionality of the base EHR

Since these functionalities are still critical to care, healthcare organizations that use mobile EHR texting modules as a communication platform must purchase additional third-party software to have access to these features. This is both costly for the organization and cumbersome for the clinicians using the technology.

Healthcare organizations will also have to implement even more apps if they want to connect their entire care teams. These can include apps for:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Admins
  • Patients

With mobile EHR texting modules, even the smallest feature can take years or more to develop. Clinical communication is just one of the many product modules that EHR companies offer.  Improving upon these modules is not their top priority. This carries over into product support as well.

On-Premise Servers

Server management on site is costly to operate and not as reliable as cloud-based platforms with superior redundancy and unlimited scalability. On-premise servers often cause clinicians to lose capability whenever there is downtime. Unplanned downtime from network issues, application malfunctions, and hardware failures can all cause a mobile EHR texting module to stop working.

It is also common for EHR companies to have quarterly updates, taking critical communication functions offline for hours. With downtime costing healthcare organizations an average of $531,000 per hour (source: vertiv.com) this can be very costly for healthcare providers.

Total Cost of Ownership of Mobile EHR Texting Modules

The total cost of ownership for mobile EHR texting modules stacks up quickly considering the price to acquire, maintain, and update the on-site servers required to keep these systems operational. This becomes more challenging as healthcare organizations grow. Mobile EHR texting modules are not easily scalable, requiring additional servers for each new facility to keep things secure. That means that extending critical communication to other facilities, including new acquisitions and affiliated community partners is slow and complex. Licenses are too costly for most affiliated physician groups’ staff, therefore, these groups do not utilize a consistent mobile messaging tool.

It is logical for many healthcare organizations to simply install the mobile texting module that is included with their EHR solution. However, they can achieve better long-term cost efficiency and communication consistency with an advanced clinical communications platform that integrates with the EHR.

The Advantages of Cloud-Based Clinical Communication Platforms

In today’s digital world, healthcare providers are given another option for clinical communication. Cloud-based clinical communication platforms, also known as clinical communication and collaboration platforms, accelerate patient care and optimize clinical communication workflows.

Reliability

Part of what makes these platforms so powerful is their cloud-based service. No longer tied to on-site servers, cloud-based clinical communication platforms are not impacted by planned or unplanned EHR downtime. That means that doctors and nurses can continue clinical communication no matter what happens within their facilities. Additionally, they can communicate outside of their facilities, as is the case with COVID-19 drive-through testing areas.

Without having to buy and maintain on-site servers, providers reduce hardware and IT costs and time by utilizing a cloud-hosted platform. This also makes it easier to scale the service of cloud-based clinical communication platforms, making them the best choice for organizations looking to grow with reliable communication.

Not only do cloud-based platforms make communication more reliable, but also more efficient.

Unified Mobile Communication Platform

Cloud-based clinical communication platforms offer a single, unified mobile app and device for multiple communication channels, including:

  • Secure text messaging
  • VoIP calling
  • Critical results
  • Alerts
  • Nurse-call

No matter the channel, users can get real-time notifications of messages and schedule changes. This information can be shared directly with team members, as well as with patients, all on the same cloud-based clinical communication platform.

Deployment

Being cloud based means that these communication platforms can be deployed in-person or remotely, which helps speed implementations. Virtual implementation is also helpful during pandemics.

Beyond their current functionality, cloud-based clinical communication platforms offer quicker and more consistent updates than mobile EHR texting modules. This puts them years ahead in terms of what features they offer. Cloud-based clinical communication platforms integrate with the EHR, allowing providers to send patient-centric messages, and critical results, such as radiology and lab reports.

Mobile EHR Texting Modules vs. Cloud-Based Clinical Communication Platforms

Mobile EHR Texting ModulesCloud-Based Clinical Communication Platforms
FunctionalityLimited features, mainly dependent on the base EHRLarge feature set and robust role-based and team communication
Total Cost of OwnershipBuying and maintaining servers creates a cost burdenMinimal ongoing costs outside of initial investments
ScalabilitySlow and costly to scaleSimple and easy scalability, offering unlimited growth potential
CompatibilityLimited operating systems   and device typesSupported on Android, iOS, all shared and BYOD device types
UptimeServer issues and updates frequently cause communication to go offlineCloud-based service enables superior uptime

Improving Clinical Communications

Healthcare providers can achieve lower costs, improved workflows and enhanced clinical communications by choosing cloud-based clinical communication platforms over mobile EHR texting modules.

That is why healthcare leaders everywhere are relying on cloud-based clinical communication platforms to complement EHRs in order to increase clinician efficiency and accelerate patient care.

Request a demo and learn how the Halo Platform can streamline clinical communication workflows.