EMRlogic Cloud FAQ
- What is “the cloud”? [+]Cloud computing is a recent term for sharing data, storage or software applications from a remote computer. Client-server networks do likewise with two key differences. First, the remote computer (server) is not part of your organization’s local network; it is almost always hosted by a third-party service provider. Second, the internet becomes the medium through which the services are delivered.
The following excerpts are taken from Cloud 101, a white paper by Red Hat Cloud Foundations.
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
- Clouds are a new way of building IT infrastructures from dynamic pools of virtualized resources operated as low-touch IT services and consumed in a modern, web-savvy way.
- Cloud computing includes delivering services from multiple levels of the software stack. The most widely used taxonomy specifies Infrastructure-as-a-Service (e.g. compute and storage), Platform-as-a-Service (e.g. middleware and infrastructure automation), and Software-as-a-Service (applications). These levels may layer on top of each other but can also exist independently.
- Cloud computing can take place either on-premises (private cloud), as a shared, multi-tenant, off-premises resource (public cloud), or some combination of the two (hybrid cloud).
- Community clouds are shared by several organizations and support a specific community that has shared concerns such as security, compliance, jurisdiction or other needs specific to a particular industry. A community cloud may be managed internally or by a third party and hosted internally or externally.
- Clouds take many forms because different customers or even different business units and applications within a single customer have vastly different requirements. One size doesn’t fit all.
- What is EMRlogic Cloud? [+]EMRlogic Cloud is a community cloud offering created for the eye care industry, specifically the optical, optometric and ophthalmologic professional communities. EMRlogic Cloud is owned and operated by EMRlogic Systems, Inc. EMRlogic takes full responsibility for systems management, offering secure access to and back up of all databases, reducing your dependence on local IT staff.
- Who can use EMRlogic Cloud? [+]Any user of EMRlogic’s activEHR may use EMRlogic Cloud. Customers new to activEHR may begin with this hosted solution. Existing customers trading in OD Professional or MD Professional for activEHR may choose to migrate their software from their local server to our EMRlogic Cloud datacenter server.
- What are the benefits of EMRlogic Cloud? [+]
- Reduced cost – you pay incrementally for services, saving your business money.
- Increased storage – your business now has access to more data storage than on your private computer system or network.
- Highly automated – you no longer worry about local IT staff keeping your software up to date.
- Flexibility – cloud computing exceeds traditional computing methodologies.
- Greater mobility – cloud computing systems allow access to information wherever you are, your data when you want it.
- Is EMRlogic Cloud just like any other hosting service? [+]EMRlogic Cloud is different from most other hosting services. Typically, hosting services host software that is not their own. At EMRlogic, we host our own software in our datacenter and take full responsibility for its operation. You have one business relationship.
- What else makes EMRlogic Cloud different? [+]Most hosted software is browser-based software, sometimes referred to as ‘Software-as-a-Service’ or ‘SaaS’. Pure SaaS solutions are still problematic for eye care. Why? Equipment linking. Eye care is well known to use both numeric-data and image-data instruments intensively. Sending and retrieving large images in particular across the country is impractical. Thus the weak link for software solutions that are purely browser-based.
As noted in #1 and #2 above, EMRlogic Cloud is an “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” community cloud. This allows us to offer diagnostic instrument linking without the limitations of the current pure SaaS technologies.
- Will I own my data? [+]Yes. Your data is your data. Your patient files are yours to keep always. EMRlogic will never take ownership of your patient health records.
- Can I move my data to another service? If yes, what does that entail? [+]Yes. As we have always done, EMRlogic will assist clients who wish to move their data.
- What if I decide to switch from EMRlogic Cloud to my own server? What is the process? [+]That’s okay too. You would need to purchase a server that meets the requirements outlined in our EMRlogic IT Guidelines. Though we would help you with your selection, you may also need to engage the services of a local IT professional to service your network. Our hope is to remain in the business relationship serving your needs in the best way possible and with respect to your choices.
- What's the difference between having a server in my office versus on EMRlogic Cloud? [+]See #4 above.
- How reliable is EMRlogic Cloud, e.g. speed and performance? [+]The EMRlogic Cloud Service Level Agreement delineates the details you may expect with respect to Network Quality, Service Quality and Customer Care Quality. Service Quality, for example, includes a 99.99% Service Availability Guarantee.
- I have heard that the Internet performance is variable. Does that mean I can expect random variable performance? [+]There’s no question that Internet performance is variable, depending on your region and the availability of high quality Internet services though local Internet Service Providers (ISP). Some rural areas, for example, may not have adequate Internet reliability to meet the demands of cloud computing. Urban areas that fall within severe weather regions may also be adversely affected from time to time. These are local concerns that you must investigate prior to creating your dependency on any cloud solution.
- How would I determine if a performance issue is EMRlogic Cloud or my Internet provider? [+]Simply put, if the performance problem you are experiencing affects your ability to get on the Internet, it is either a network, hardware or ISP problem. If everything else is working normally but you cannot access activEHR/EMRlogic Cloud then the problem is likely to be either cloud-related or VPN-related. Our Help Desk staff will help you troubleshoot that cause.
(VPN is your Virtual Private Network. It is additional software that protects the privacy and security of the information you send across your network and the Internet. Such software allows you to be HIPAA-compliant for privacy and security of Patient Health Information.)
- What is your uptime guarantee? [+]As noted above, our Service Level Agreement includes a 99.99% Service Availability Guarantee. We can attest that our customers who have relied already for years on our data center have had no troubles in this regard.
- What about instrument linking? Will I need a network in my office in addition to EMRlogic Cloud to support my refracting instruments? [+]For your numeric-data refractive instruments, no. Numeric data is embedded immediately in the exam record and travels easily across your network or the Internet, therefore you will not need a separate server.
- What about Images? I've heard that moving images to the cloud reduces performance. [+]For image-type diagnostic instruments, however, the answer is yes. The critical difference here is the size of the file (or volume of the data) that must travel across the Internet to and from the cloud-based server. We recommend a local server for local storage of images so you may access your patient photos quickly and easily.
- How does EMRlogic Cloud handle software updates? [+]Upgrades are easily handled on EMRlogic Cloud. Since these are our servers, we can update the software quickly. We also have full knowledge and control of what’s happening on these servers, so we can actually provide faster better service through the cloud.
- Does EMRlogic Cloud back up my data? [+]Yes, EMRlogic Cloud services include daily full-image backups plus hourly incrementals.
- What are the costs to use the EMRlogic Cloud hosting services? [+]
- Hosting per site (or office location) = $50 per month (includes monitoring, management and back-ups)
- Hosting per user = $10 per month (includes hosted desktop and unlimited storage)
- Licensing per user = $20 per month (includes email, anti-spam, anti-virus filtering)
- How can I compare the costs of EMRlogic Cloud to having my own in-house server? [+]Comparing costs is an individual matter that requires several specific considerations such as the number of locations and users as well as your current IT resources and commitments. At EMRlogic, we believe in options. We also believe that true costs are not measured simply in terms of the ticket price. Over time subscriptions will eventually cost more.
However, in the short term there’s value in a smaller outlay or in paying from cashflow. These are your considerations to make. In the end, a reliable and sustainable solution is your most cost-effective one. Our goal is to help you with rock-solid technical and software solutions regardless of how you choose to pay.
- Can you give me a few names of customers I can call? [+]Your sales person or account manager will be happy to provide customer references. Please note however that, in order to respect the time of our valuable clients, we restrict references calls to a final check versus an initial inquiry. Thank you in advance for your understanding in this regard.