EHR Cloud Read-Only: Cost-Effective Emergency Access to Patient Records

An interview with Eric Humes, CEO and Founder of Keystone Technologies

This is the first installment of our two-part series on “EHR Cloud Read-Only.” In this series, we’ll dive into the ever-changing world of healthcare technology, exploring the trends and transformative decisions that have propelled the industry toward cloud adoption and the specific choice of EHR Cloud Read-Only by Epic and other EHR clients. Part one kicks off by unraveling the trends that have set the stage for this monumental shift and delves into the compelling reasons why healthcare organizations have chosen to embrace the Cloud Read-Only solution.

The series centers around a candid conversation with Eric Humes, CEO and founder of Keystone Technologies. He carries a wealth of knowledge regarding the industry dating back to his years as a teenager.

Eric’s “why” is rather remarkable and I am sure many will relate. His story begins with his mother, whose experience with healthcare inspired his mission. She faced medical challenges that could have been eased with the right technology. Eric has shared with us that he used to accompany his mother to appointments with a box of medical records. Yes, a moving box filled with her medical history and treatments. The time it took to repeat the medical history for her various physicians and the time it took for the doctors to come up-to-speed was daunting. Improving this process became Eric’s driving force. It’s clear that his love for his mother and helping people is in his DNA.

Question: How has healthcare evolved in the past decade?

Answer: Healthcare has gone through a dramatic transformation in the last ten years, largely due to the adoption of digital technology. The days of relying solely on traditional methods are behind us. My mother has come to appreciate this new era of well-informed care let alone her doctors having a clear picture to confidently deliver high-quality services.

Question: What key trends have hospital executives been monitoring during this transition?

Answer: Trends come and go, but the movement to the cloud is here to stay. Hospital executives are continuously looking for ways to tighten budgets while providing the best care possible. I’ve seen Cloud Adoption surge over the last 13 years. Healthcare IT News reported that 76% of healthcare institutions implemented cloud solutions to some extent.

One of our main services at Keystone Technologies is assisting hospitals with their cloud adoption and EHR transformation. Hospitals are actively shifting from traditional, on-premises EHR systems to cloud-based solutions, ensuring uninterrupted patient care.

Another trend is data security and resilience.  It should come as no surprise, especially with prominent incidents like the two-week shutdown of Hospital Sisters Health System making headlines. Hospitals are increasingly acknowledging the critical importance of robust data storage and backup strategies.

The onset of the pandemic triggered a significant uptick in the adoption of telehealth services. While certain hospitals had already established cloud infrastructure, many others were unprepared for this shift.

These trends have spurred efforts to achieve financial efficiencies and exercise responsible financial stewardship within hospitals. The goal is to ensure that IT budgets are channeled where they can have the most significant impact – enhancing patient outcomes.

More hospital CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs are turning to the cloud to cut IT infrastructure and labor costs and allocate resources more efficiently.

  • Moving to the cloud reduces the time spent patching and maintaining on-premises systems, and allows those resources to focus on improvements of patient care rather than spending money on a  bandaid IT solution.
  • A reduced on-premises footprint also reduces cooling and power costs and reduces the physical real estate needed for equipment. 
  • Additionally, AWS offers elastic computing to automatically size up or down your environment throughout the day to not only maximize performance during peak periods, but to reduce the footprint during off-peak times to significantly reduce cost.

And this is where I get excited about finding ways Keystone Technology can share how hospitals can implement cloud technology and be cost efficient at the same time–all with the sole focus of improving patient care and finding technological advancements to make this happen.

Question: Why do financial efficiencies appear to be the focal point of these trends?

Answer: Financial efficiencies hold a critical role in every business. However, the healthcare sector faces unique challenges as it ranks among the top industries targeted by cyber attackers, particularly with the surge in ransomware threats. The costs can vary due to a number of different factors, but I’ve seen it estimated costing hospitals around $8,500 per minute, significantly affecting IT operations and crippling the institution.

Question: What causes delays or why are hospitals slow to transition to the cloud?

Answer: Delays often stem from a lack of awareness that EHR hosting on the cloud is now an available option, both for Prod and non-prod / BC/DR solutions.  Keystone can help provide the clinical, operational, technical guidance to not only serve the patients and clinicians in the best manner possible, but how to be a good financial steward of the system’s fiscal resources as well. 

Oftentimes we find that security is a top concern. Transitioning to the cloud requires robust security measures to protect patient information. Ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can further complicate the process but that’s where our services come in.

We’ve been talking about budget constraints. While transitioning to the cloud involves significant initial costs for infrastructure, we can share how hospitals can be in a win-win situation when it comes to wisely investing in technology like the AWS Cloud Read-Only solution.

Migrating complex legacy systems tend to slow down the process as well. These systems can be deeply integrated into a hospital’s operations. With our years of experience and knowledge, we can build a roadmap and execute a cloud transition to help any hospital regardless of size and stage they could be in the process.

Question: What do CEOs and CIOs discover when implementing preventative measures against unplanned attacks such as the AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only solution?

Answer: There are many benefits. But the key benefits are the cost efficiencies.

AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only eliminates wasted capacity while supporting smart provisioning. In addition to ransomware, AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only provides continuity of care during planned and unplanned downtime. Some of these cost savings include:

  • Reduce insurance expenses and minimize exposure.
  • Trim down Business Continuity Assessment (BCA) and Service Recovery Objective (SRO) expenses.
  • Achieve superior outcomes at a reduced cost.
  • Optimize IT expenses while ensuring uninterrupted care.
  • Streamline administrative processes with automated tasks for enhanced efficiency.

Question: What are some ways a hospital can save money by moving to an AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only system?

Answer: Investing in this solution unlocks cost optimization by elevating operational resilience by creating a cloud-based replica of the EHR. Other cost saves leaders can expect to see are:

  • reduce insurance costs and exposure.
  • reduce BCA and SRO expenses.
  • drive improved outcomes at a lower cost.
  • optimize IT costs while securing continued care.
  • drive administrative efficiencies with automated tasks

This solution isn’t just a migration; it’s a transition to a new environment filled with innovative possibilities. Many have made the leap from zero to Cloud Read-Only (CRO) in just 8 to 10 weeks.

Question: How does AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only mitigate risk, and how are these measures implemented?

Answer: EHR Cloud Read-Only helps hospitals by reducing cyber insurance premiums. It maintains a more up-to-date recovery point, using immutable backups for rapid restoration. Additionally, it offers the option to serve as an alternative production environment in case of an unrecoverable compromise.

Question: So, your saying that the cost hospitals incur to implement the AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only is ultimately paid by the savings in insurance premiums.

Answer: Yes!

Question:  What other cloud solutions can my health system take advantage of on the cloud?

Answer:  In addition to Epic read-only, Keystone provides industry-leading migration, support, and hosting for EHR Production environments as well as BCA Web solutions in which the patient record can not only be viewed, but updated as well. Keystone also provides EHR conversion, extraction, and archival solutions to further reduce on-premises overhead, licensing costs, and to further strengthen the continuity of care.

Question:  How do healthcare organizations get started?

Answer: To start on this journey implementing AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only with Keystone Technologies, healthcare organizations simply need to reach out to us. We will share the  crucial steps administrators need to take to ensure uninterrupted patient care, enhance operational resiliency, and achieve significant cost savings.

In conclusion, our journey through the world of AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only has been enlightening and transformative. We’ve explored the dynamic landscape of healthcare technology, delving into the trends and challenges that drive the industry forward. As healthcare organizations increasingly prioritize cost-efficiency, operational resiliency, and patient care continuity, the choice to embrace AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only becomes a natural progression.

Takeaway: The cloud is not just a technology but a lifeline, ensuring uninterrupted patient care even in the face of ransomware threats and unforeseen downtime events. By partnering with Keystone Technologies and implementing this innovative solution, healthcare institutions can better navigate the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, ultimately delivering the high-quality care that patients deserve.

As we move forward, we invite you to stay tuned for the second installation of AWS EHR Cloud Read-Only that highlights how hospitals can increase security while staying nimble during the transition, what hospitals need to have in place for the transition, turnaround time to see the benefits of an AWS EPIC Cloud-Ready only implementation and so much more.

Are you headed to the AWS re:Invent 2023? If so, this is a great time to sit down with Keystone Technologies executives to start charting your EHR Cloud Read-Only journey. Schedule a meeting onsite at re:Invent. Or reach out to them directly at

Together, we can chart a course to a resilient and patient-centered future in healthcare. Your patients and your organization will thank you for it.

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