SaaS Gives Clinics and Hospital Increased Capabilities

By Justin Wampach

The Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model has been steadily growing as high-speed Internet access becomes a standard and as the healthcare industry looks for ways to streamline its operations. The shift from boxed software to Web-based software allows clinics and hospitals to perform essential daily tasks, like scheduling, faster and easier with increased flexibility.

Although some software lends itself to a box because it requires the horsepower of a personal computer, the majority of software programs such as accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and physician call scheduling can provide better capabilities through SaaS programs accessed over the Internet.

Web-based software and cloud computing are fast becoming the standard way of doing business across most industries today. Anticipating these technological shifts, vendors – some over a decade ago – began developing programs to give the healthcare industry the software they needed as a service using a standard Web browser. Instead of loading the software on to a personal computer and saving the information there, this new service securely stores all the information in a database on remote servers.

Rapid Clinic Adoption: Many clinics quickly adopted this new SaaS delivery model. Some of the reasons they shared for choosing this type of application include:

  • Instant access from any computer with Internet access anytime, anywhere
  • The ability to create, maintain, and publish a call schedule electronically from any location
  • Eliminates the worries and time spent backing up data
  • Automatically installed upgrades and patches

A broad range of clinics moved to SaaS packages, but they would send electronic schedules to hospitals only for them to be printed and placed it in a three-ring binder. That led to the development of an on-call management product to meet the unique needs of hospitals.

Hospitals Save Time: Hospital SaaS software gives hospital telecom centers and emergency departments the ability to easily and more effectively manage on-call information. This new technology allows hospitals to interact with each specialty’s on-call schedule within the entire medical community. SaaS-based on-call management systems selectively merges and aggregates all of the schedules together to create a virtual “daily on-call roster” that is accessible from a secure location on the Internet.

Hospitals particularly appreciate when clinics update and maintain their own calendars themselves. This not only saves hospitals time but also ensures the schedules are accurate and current. There are several key results hospitals that have experienced with the SaaS on-call management process:

  • Improved patient care with better access to accurate on-call information.
  • Increased physician satisfaction, particularly by eliminating the wrong doctors being called in the middle of the night.
  • Ensured compliance of federal EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) regulation that requires the maintenance of accurate on-call information and an on-call log.

IT Made Easy: For both clinics and hospitals, SaaS gives them more control while reducing their overall risk. They no longer need to make large up-front monetary investments for the software and rely on IT staff to manage it. This allows organizations of all sizes to make buying decisions faster and know that they always have the technology they need to create, publish, and maintain the schedules necessary to deliver quality patient care.

Justin Wampach is president of Adjuvant, LLC, which develops and markets solutions for critical scheduling challenges in healthcare environments. They provide online tools and technology to help ensure availability of the right provider, in the right place, at the right time. Adjuvant specializes in on-call software and on call management.

[From the June/July 2011 issue of AnswerStat magazine]