[If you’ve already read Part 1, jump to the next section below.] The year is 2013, and although we don’t have the technological advancements of say, The Jetsons, we certainly have come a long way. In the last decade, smartphones became omnipresent, Google became a verb, and social networking changed the way we interact with one another. Never before have we had access to so much information—literally—at our fingertips. And although there’s no question that we as a society take full advantage of the newest and neatest technological advances to make our personal lives easier, we don’t always do the same when it comes to our professional ones.

Want an example? When was the last time you hand-wrote three pages of anything in your personal life? I’m guessing—unless it was a sentimental letter in which you chose handwriting to make it more personal—it’s probably been awhile. When was the last time you hand wrote three pages worth of paper charts? Today? This morning? Every day, every hour, every patient visit? Unless your intention is sentimentality here, too, that doesn’t make much sense—especially when you consider that there has been just as much advancement in the world of electronic medical record (EMR) systems as other techy tools. And that’s not going to stop.

Over three consecutive posts, we’re going to share with you what the experts are saying about the future of electronic medical record management. Here is Part 2 (click here to read Part 1):

Server-Based, Schmerver-Based: It’s Time to Jump on the Cloud

Today, there are two types of EMR delivery methods: server-based and cloud-based. But that won’t always be the case. In an article about the future of healthcare technology, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum writes that cloud-based EMRs soon will be the “only logical choice.” In fact, he predicts that server-based ones “will go the way of the eight-track cassette and VHS tape: rapid and permanent extinction.” Additionally, Albert Santalo, CEO of CareCloud, a cloud-based EHR for physicians, referred to server-based systems as the “walking dead” in a 2012 Forbes article. He went on to call his company’s attempt to garner more of the market “a fight among dinosaurs.”

So why are cloud-based systems far outshining server-based ones? According to Microsoft, there are seven reasons why cloud computing will benefit your business, namely:

1. Improve employee productivity.

Cloud-based systems offer the flexibility for users to document and access data anywhere, anytime, which means they can get things done regardless of whether they’re physically at the office.

2. Reduce upfront costs.

With cloud-based systems, there’s no need to buy expensive bulky hardware or servers—or pay to maintain them. Instead, a “cloud-based subscription model allows small businesses to easily increase or decrease their use of cloud services according to their needs.”

3. Boost collaboration.

Providers can work together on the same files, communicating directly within the application, which makes it easier to work together and share ideas.

4. Increase business resiliency.

According to Microsoft, “numerous studies have shown that more than 50% of small businesses will go out of business within a year of a major data loss.” But you don’t have to worry about that if you’re storing your data in the cloud. If you lose your laptop or—knock on wood—your office, you can be back to work whenever you’re ready to be.

5. Make life easier.

Getting started with a cloud-based system is a breeze. Because there’s no need to install new hardware, upload new software, or train a whole new IT staff, you’re up and running with your new system in a snap.

6. Ensure accessibility.

Bouncing between more than one clinic? No worries. With a cloud-based system, users can access their information anywhere, anytime, from any Internet-enabled device. That means you can log in from your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet—regardless of whether it’s a Mac or PC.

7. Secure your data.

There’s nothing more important than your patient data—so keeping it all in one place in a server under your desk makes about as much as sense as keeping it under your mattress. Instead, let the experts keep your data secure in a top-tier data storage center, complete with backup fail-safes and redundancies. This way, even in the case of a national disaster, your data will stay safe and sound.

8. Keep you compliant.

As we discussed above, with all the recent changes in Medicare reporting regulations and HIPAA privacy requirements—not to mention the upcoming ICD-10 implementation—you need an agile system that can keep up. With a cloud-based EMR, you’ll receive automatic updates quickly, securely, and automatically, so you always have the latest in compliance tools at your fingertips. Server-based systems can’t touch any of that.

Check back here tomorrow for Part 3. And as always, leave us your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.