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DOCtalk by Dr. Gregg 8/17/12

August 17, 2012 News No Comments

The Gray Lining of the Cloud

The battle rages of cloud versus local host – within the blogosphere, within the EHR sales pitch wars, and within my own little brain. As it does, I came across (or rather, am suffering from) a side of the cloud I have never heard discussed.

We still locally host our EHR. Since we do, I have to keep my Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) license updated (i.e., paid for). If I don’t, our system isn’t accessible and we are back to digging out pens and paper until I pony up the dineros and await the certificate. Fortunately, I have always gotten our SSL renewed on time — though sometimes just barely — and we have remained live.

But what happens when your cloud service provider doesn’t renew their SSL license? Well, we found out about that this week.

Despite my best current local hosting efforts, not all can be maintained within my little realm. For instance, ePrescribing is beyond my control freak domain. I know this because the parent company who now owns my EHR, and who has full dominance over my ePrescribing connectivity, let their SSL license relative to this capability lapse.

Did I get an e-mail or phone call or any notification that ePrescribing was down? I did not. I found out after repeated attempts to send e-scripts were rejected and after calling the VAR who supports me.

Yesterday, our VAR told us that ePrescribing was down system-wide because of said parent company, but would be back up by the evening.

This morning, guess what? Yup. No ePrescribing. And still no e-mail, call, or fax to notify us of what was going on.

Another call to our VAR led me to the inside scoop: our dear EHR vendor had failed to renew their SSL license pertinent to this ePrescribing component in time before the license expired. In fact, so I was told, their SSL license had lapsed three days earlier.

So here we sit with the old prescription pads, penning away prescriptions just like the old days. I’m still paying for my EHR and the support thereof, but one major tool we use every day – many, many times every day – sits idle because someone “out there,” somewhere in the ethereal cloud world, didn’t pony up on time like I always have to do. Something doesn’t seem right about this, does it?

There is definitely a gray lining to the cloud.

From the trenches…

“Behind every cloud is another cloud.” – Judy Garland

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, directs the Pediatric Office of Today! exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).

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