It’s time to make the switch to the cloud for your pharmacy!

As a pharmacy IT consultant I have the opportunity to review and consult on a wide range of IT topics throughout the independent pharmacy community. One item that I am always asked “Should my pharmacy utilize cloud services?” The answer is always YES!

Most pharmacies are already utilizing some type of cloud service and not even realize it. Did you know the internet is just one big public cloud? Does your pharmacy use some type of software as a service application like Gmail or Office365? Those are both cloud software services. Perhaps your pharmacy software system is a cloud environment like Enterprise Rx from McKesson.

What is “The Cloud”?

Simply put, the cloud is using the internet to access files, applications, databases etc.. Remotely accessing your files (Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive), emails (Gmail) etc is cloud computing. You can view the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) cloud computing technical definition here

While there are a lot of cloud providers like Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc.. Your pharmacy should take advantage of utilizing the cloud to improve your digital infrastructure. Moving your electronic records and files to the cloud is a great way to store your documents safely and securely.

Security in the cloud

The cloud comes with a great deal of security when you make the switch. No longer do you have to buy, secure and maintain servers or hard drives to store your PHI, CII files, document scans etc.. You can store all of these files in the cloud securely. Most cloud providers such as Google offer a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) so your data isn’t disclosed or shared.

Availability of the cloud

One great advantage of cloud computing is that your data is accessible to you almost anywhere you have an internet connection. That means if you are on a vacation and would like to access your documents, you can do that with the cloud, and probably from your smartphone.

Almost all cloud providers have an app you can download on your smartphone or laptop to easily access all your files.

Recommended Cloud services for Pharmacies

When it comes to accessibility and ease of use, Google GSuite is by far the best. This cloud platform allows you to safely and securely store your pharmacy files. I would recommend starting off with the first tier “Business Starter”. This will give you access to Gmail for business where you can link your domain email ([email protected]). This paid service also offers a great encryption service for all your emails.

The “Business Starter” plan gives you a good deal of storage and be sure to sign the BAA with Google once you sign up. One other item I also recommend is the Google Drive File Stream application. This app installs on your computer and lets you easily access all your files from file explorer.

If you need help moving your files and folders to the cloud feel free to contact us.

Are you thinking of starting a pharmacy? Knowing the requirements to open a pharmacy helps. The independent pharmacy world offers a lot of opportunities for pharmacy owners. You can be your own boss. No more 60 hour work weeks for a large pharmacy chain. Actually serve customers and help them take control of their health.