Optimizing Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) means maximizing availability, performance and security - and that's where load balancers comes in.
EHR is prevalent in North America. In the US, if you encounter a health emergency while on vacation or a business trip, you no longer have to carry your pill bottles or produce hard-to-remember drug names to the doctor you see in the new city.
Chances are that after asking a few generic questions, the doctor would already have access to all the information he needs, including your prescription, right on his mobile, or computer screen - thanks to EHR systems that help coordinate care among multiple healthcare providers, giving them access to a patient’s most recent health data.
What is an EHR?
Simply put, an EHR is the paper chart of a patient presented in a digital format, holding information related to a patient's medical history including medications, allergies, diagnoses, treatment plans, immunization dates, radiology images, and test results from laboratories. Built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office, EHR systems cover a broader view of patient care, thereby performing a vital role in the health IT infrastructure.
These systems are able to:
- contain a patient’s end-to-end medical history
- allow providers access to evidence-based tools that can be used to make meaningful decisions about patient care
- automate and streamline provider workflow in a healthcare setting
The top five benefits of EHR:
- Offering healthcare providers with the ability to easily share and access medical records through network-connected, enterprise-wide record management platforms
- Minimizing the chances of data replication or inaccuracies since there is only a single medical record
- Generating timely appointment reminders and additional warnings to prevent mistakes and keep care on the right path
- Better care in emergencies by providing all test results and notes over time for evidence-based patient recommendations
- Increasing the scale of medical research and advancement, as data-based health information can be sourced and used for a much larger pool of resources during medical research and testing
EHR market overview
Currently, around 500 vendors are offering some type of EHR product. As more and more healthcare providers around the world are now moving away from paper-based health records to EHRs to make real-time, patient-centered information available instantly and securely to authorized users, more patients are now receiving better-coordinated, higher quality care.
In the US, although the transition was not overnight, the use of EHR has become much more widespread since the passage of the HITECH Act signed into law in February 2009, with adoption rates increasing three to nine-fold depending on the practice setting. As a result, the global EHR market is projected to grow from an estimated $ 30 billion in 2020 to $ 40 billion by 2025.
EHR and telehealth
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, just like virtual conversations, virtual consultations have gained a lot of momentum. And most EHR vendors and organizations have stepped up to make telehealth a mainstream option, collaborating to develop detailed COVID-19 dashboards, and enhancing EHR data access by way of analytics. Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council said that EHR vendor Epic Systems helped over 200 of its clients implement a telehealth system in less than a month.
As integrating telehealth with EHRs gains importance, various healthcare IT providers are offering their assistance in building a proper setup to facilitate this shift remotely – triggering a rise in virtual EHR implementation. Looking at the success of telehealth since the beginning of COVID-19, all evidence suggests it’s only the start of a big transition in how doctors and patients engage hereafter.
EHR: ensuring high availability (and more) with a load balancer
Implementing a load balancing solution in front of an EHR system:
- ensures reliable access to critical systems for physicians and caregivers
- helps increase the IT staff’s efficiency
- can introduce a complementary layer of security
- supports health centers in provision of an “always available” application environment.
Deploying a load balancer makes critical EHR applications stable and highly available - ultimately improving the quality of patient care. By dynamically interrogating key server elements such as the number of concurrent connections and CPU/memory utilization, intelligent load balancing algorithms mean that load balancers distribute and direct users to the best performing, accessible servers, thus avoiding server bottlenecks and application failure. This ensures EHR applications are available and always running at optimum performance, ensuring instant access to data for clinicians and patients.
In the event of a server failure, application inaccessibility, or scheduled maintenance, a load balancer can take that server offline, while automatically rerouting users to other healthy and functioning servers. By managing the traffic to EHR systems, a load balancer helps avoid system outages and downtime - essential for every healthcare setup delivering 24/7 patient care.
Moreover, installing advanced load balancers provide SSL acceleration, thereby dramatically increasing the performance of EHR applications, while decreasing the time and costs involved, and further enhancing the overall user experience.
A trusted vendor in healthcare IT
We work closely with health IT vendors and healthcare providers to design bespoke and flexible products so customers end up with future-proofed solutions, specific to their requirements.
Our integrated application delivery services work together to help healthcare organizations to deliver highly-available applications to both providers and patients. Our load balancers support health centers with a unified infrastructure that automatically directs optimized, encrypted traffic to the closest or best-performing server in your data center while reducing browser-related performance issues.
Our solutions can scale to meet your network demands (including future growth) without disrupting application availability - while making sure your EHR applications are always available, secure, and running at top speed.