The Future of Saas for Healthcare

The healthcare industry is rapidly adopting software (SaaS) solutions to improve efficiency, lower costs, and provide better patient care. SaaS allows healthcare organizations to access cloud-based software applications over the Internet rather than installing and maintaining software on-premises. Saas for healthcare scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness drive its popularity across the healthcare sector.

Table of Contents

Why Healthcare Organizations are Adopting SaaS

Several factors are fueling the healthcare industry’s migration to Saas for healthcare solutions:

Reduced IT Costs

With SaaS, healthcare providers avoid large upfront software licensing and infrastructure costs. Instead, they pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for maintenance, support, and upgrades. This shifts software costs from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure, making budgets more predictable.


Patient volumes fluctuate, but staffing and infrastructure are less flexible. SaaS enables providers to scale quickly to accommodate surges and seasonal demands. Additional user licenses can be purchased on-demand instead of procuring more servers or data center capacity.


SaaS is accessible from any internet-connected device. This enables providers to access clinical and operational applications from multiple locations and devices. Staff can input data at the point of patient contact using mobile devices rather than returning to a desktop PC.

Speed of Deployment

They install new software that takes months between purchasing, configuring servers, testing, and training. With SaaS, new apps can run in days or weeks since the infrastructure is already in place. This accelerated deployment gets capabilities to end users faster.

Streamlined Maintenance

The SaaS vendor handles all technical maintenance and support, including uptime monitoring, bug fixes, security patches, and performance optimization. Healthcare IT teams are freed from these mundane tasks to focus on higher-value work.

Automatic Upgrades

With SaaS applications, there is no need to manually install upgrades. Enhancements and new features are rolled out seamlessly by the vendor for all customers, ensuring providers are always on the latest software version.

SaaS Solutions for Healthcare Providers

SaaS Solutions for Healthcare Providers

Many types of software are available on a SaaS basis across healthcare provider organizations:

Electronic Health Records

EHR systems like Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, and NextGen offer SaaS deployment options. Cloud-hosted EHRs improve clinician accessibility while offloading IT infrastructure burdens.

Practice Management

Applications like Athenahealth, AdvancedMD, and Kareo handle patient scheduling, billing, reporting, and other administrative tasks for medical practices. The software integrates with EHRs and is accessible from anywhere.


Virtual care platforms from Teladoc, Doxy. MI and American Well connect patients to clinicians through video and text-based visits. On-demand scalability supports the spike in telehealth adoption.

Revenue Cycle Management

RCM software manages the clinical billing and collections process. Options like Waystar, R1 RCM, and Change Healthcare optimize revenue flow in the cloud.

Supply Chain Management

These systems oversee medical inventory, purchasing, and materials management. SaaS options include TECSYS, SAP Ariba, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain Management.

Business Intelligence

BI tools like Tableau, Qlik, and Microsoft Power BI visualize data and uncover insights from healthcare organizations. SaaS deployment gets BI capabilities operational quicker.

Patient Engagement

Apps like Luma Health, Kyruus, and Phreesia strengthen patient access, communication, and financial experience. Saas enables scalability amid fluctuating patient volumes.


Rhapsody, Corepoint, and Regal Exchange Interfaces connect disparate healthcare information systems to enable data exchange. SaaS provides speedy deployment and simplifies integration.

Benefits of SaaS for Healthcare

Deploying applications via SaaS offers numerous advantages for healthcare organizations:

Improved Security

Leading SaaS vendors invest heavily in security, including infrastructure protection, redundancy, encryption, access controls, and regular audits. They generally have more robust security than what health systems can achieve.

Increased Reliability

SaaS applications are hosted in top-tier data centers with backup power, redundant networking, and continuous monitoring. Uptime and availability generally exceed what healthcare IT departments can provide alone.

Better Performance

Multi-tenant SaaS applications optimize performance since they serve many customers simultaneously. The vendor can tune the architecture and infrastructure to support heavy loads across their client base.

Greater Collaboration

SaaS is accessible from anywhere on any device. This allows care teams to collaborate more easily across multiple locations, and staff can also work more productively from home or on the road.

Streamlined Training

When all customers are on the same software version, training is simplified. New users can watch videos for the current release instead of machine learning multiple generations of on-premises software.

Instant Disaster Recovery

SaaS applications remain continuously available if a healthcare facility is damaged by fire or flood. The vendor’s cloud infrastructure provides built-in disaster recovery without backups, alternate sites, and redundant hardware.

Painless Scaling

SaaS systems can scale up or down on demand. Healthcare organizations can easily add additional users, storage, or modules as needs evolve over time, and sudden changes in capacity requirements are smooth.

Lower Administrative Burden

On-premises systems require significant administrative overhead for tasks like managing servers, applying patches, allocating capacity, configuring backups, and maintaining networks. SaaS shifts these burdens away from internal IT staff.

Use Cases SaaS in Healthcare

SaaS is being leveraged across healthcare in innovative ways:

Upgrading Legacy EHR Systems

Many health systems are transitioning aging EHRs like Meditech to modern cloud-based systems from Epic, Cerner, or Allscripts. This lifts a heavy IT burden while delivering clinician mobile access and patient engagement capabilities.

Consolidating After Mergers

Following a merger or acquisition, the newly combined entity often consolidates onto a single EHR platform using a SaaS deployment. This simplifies IT infrastructure and support while removing information siloes.

Launching Satellite Facilities

With a cloud-based EHR, new clinics, micro-hospitals, and ambulatory surgery centers can launch quicker. The fast deployment accelerates time to revenue, while the subscription model reduces upfront costs.

Extending to Affiliated Providers

Health systems are moving EHR access to affiliated physician practices and post-acute care facilities. Cloud hosting enables scalability to serve more end users in these outpatient settings.

Digitizing Patient Experience

Apps like self-scheduling, price transparency tools, and telehealth platforms are rapidly deployed to create seamless omnichannel patient experiences. SaaS enables the flexibility needed for these consumer-centric technologies.

Expanding Virtual Care

The pandemic spiked telemedicine adoption. Cloud-based video visit platforms supported rapid expansion, keeping patients and doctors connected remotely. SaaS scalability was pivotal to broadening virtual care reach.

Adding Analytics Insights

Many analytics initiatives start with a SaaS BI tool like Tableau for rapid time-to-value. Without prolonged infrastructure projects, health systems can visualize data and expand into more advanced analytics.

Launching Innovation Programs

New care models involving population health, precision medicine, social determinants, and wearables depend on agile cloud-based systems. SaaS allows these innovations to launch and iterate quickly.

Healthcare Data Protection with SaaS

Healthcare Data Protection with SaaS

Despite the many benefits, some healthcare organizations initially hesitated to adopt SaaS out of data privacy concerns.

However, leading SaaS vendors employ robust mechanisms to safeguard patient information:


Data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Without the encryption key, encrypted data cannot be accessed or interpreted.

Access Logging

All access to patient records is logged, including who accessed it, when, and what actions were performed. This creates an audit trail to identify breaches.

Role-based Access

User access privileges are tightly controlled based on assigned roles. Safeguards prevent unnecessary individuals from viewing sensitive patient information.

Two-factor Authentication

Users must provide an additional verification factor beyond just a password. This commonly involves a code sent to a mobile device or security fob.

Single Sign-On

One secure sign-on grants access to connected applications rather than separate logins for each. Fewer credentials lower the risk of phishing and weak passwords.

Security Training

Personnel receive ongoing education on security protocols and recognizing potential threats like phishing emails and social engineering.

Background Checks

Vendors conduct background checks on employees, especially those handling sensitive data. Some positions may require security clearances.


To ensure continuity of patient record availability and integrity, redundancy exists across infrastructure, networks, power systems, and data centers.

Third-Party Audits

Top vendors undergo rigorous independent audits like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 to validate sound security controls.

Data Centers and Infrastructure

SaaS vendors utilize state-of-the-art data centers with multiple safeguards:

  • Tier 3 or Tier 4 facilities provide full redundancy across infrastructure with no single point of failure.
  • Data centers are staffed 24/7 with strict access controls. Biometric or multi-factor authentication is required for entry.
  • Facilities have extensive protections, including backup power, fire suppression, flood barriers, and temperature/humidity controls.
  • Networks leverage redundancy, traffic encryption, and advanced threat protection. Traffic flows through secure gateways.
  • Disaster recovery provisions include live backups across separate geographical regions to prevent localized outages.
  • Rigorous destruction procedures are followed for outdated hardware to prevent any data leakage.

Compliance with Regulations

Adhering to healthcare compliance regulations like HIPAA and HITECH ensures patient privacy:

  • Signed BAAs (Business Associate Agreements) contractually bind vendors to comply with regulations.
  • Data is only used as specified in the BAA. It is not exploited for advertising or sold to third parties.
  • Breach notification policies require timely reporting of any suspected exposure.
  • Fines and legal consequences enforce compliance from vendors. Negligent providers can lose business.

Trusted SaaS Vendors Only

Healthcare CIOs should conduct thorough diligence before choosing a SaaS vendor:

  • Select established companies with proven track records of uptime and security. Avoid unproven vendors.
  • Review third-party audit reports to validate compliance and security controls.
  • Question vendors on their specific measures to safeguard and monitor data access.
  • Understand the vendor’s disaster recovery provisions for significant outages.
  • Choose vendors with domestic data centers when possible vs. offshore.
  • Enter a carefully reviewed BAA with the legal team before committing.
  • Consult respected peers for off-the-record feedback on the vendor.

Ongoing Cybersecurity Vigilance

Despite rigorous safeguards, cyber threats are constantly evolving. Health systems must remain vigilant:

  • Continuously monitor access logs and network traffic for anomalies suggesting a breach.
  • Keep software patches and security tools up-to-date, even on SaaS platforms.
  • Frequently review user access roles and remove unnecessary permissions.
  • Conduct cybersecurity and phishing simulations to gauge staff readiness.
  • Develop incident response plans for different breach scenarios that may unfold.
  • Maintain cyber insurance policies to cover costs in the event of an attack.
  • Make cybersecurity training and awareness part of the organizational culture.

Key SaaS Vendor Selection Criteria

As healthcare organizations evaluate SaaS solutions, they should assess vendors across several criteria:

Data Security

Review all vendor mechanisms to protect, monitor, encrypt, control access, and log activity related to customer data. Ensure they comply with all healthcare regulations.

Uptime Reliability

Look for demonstrated uptime of 99.9% or greater, guaranteed SLAs, and financial penalties if unmet. Require real-time monitoring and transparent status communications.

Performance Benchmarks

Compare speed benchmarks for operations like concurrent users supported, logins per second, query response times, data transfer rates, and lag during peak utilization.

Infrastructure Resiliency

Examine redundancy built into the architecture across data centers, network pathways, power systems, servers, and other components. Validated disaster recovery provisions are essential.

Deployment Timelines

Understand timeframe expectations for new customer deployments, including solution design, configuration, testing, integration, data migration, training, and go-live transition.

Local Support Resources

Assess the vendor’s ability to provide skilled support staff onsite during deployment and ongoing optimization. Local resources create tighter partnerships and faster problem resolution.


Evaluate capabilities to integrate with adjacent healthcare information systems via APIs and interfaces. More pre-built connectors and standardized APIs ease interfacing.


A higher degree of configuration options allows tighter alignment with desired workflows and processes without costly customization. Evaluate tools for user personalization as well.

Roadmap Innovation

Review product roadmaps and development pipelines for innovation. Vendors should demonstrate a commitment to continued R&D investment and innovation.

Partnership Posture

Choose vendors that view customers as long-term partners rather than short-term transactions. These vendors should allow flexibility as needs evolve without complex contractual negotiations.

Navigating the SaaS Selection Process

Navigating the SaaS Selection Process

Selecting the right SaaS solutions for healthcare’s digital transformation requires an objective process:

Build a cross-disciplinary Team

Assemble a selection team with representatives from IT, clinical, operational, and administrative stakeholders—secure executive sponsorship.

Define Key Objectives

Outline the business goals, pain points, and desired outcomes the SaaS platform aims to achieve. Maintain focus on these aims throughout selection.

Research Potential Solutions

Use analyst reports, conferences, peer inquiries, RFPs, and demos to identify leading options. Create a shortlist of 2-3 solutions for in-depth evaluation.

Prioritize Capabilities

Rank desired functionality, integrations, and innovations in order of importance. This highlights must-have vs. nice-to-have features based on goals.

Perform Technical Assessments

Through discussions and lab assessments, explore infrastructure, architecture, security, privacy, interoperability, configurability, and performance.

Schedule Demonstrations

Shortlisted vendors should be put through extensive demos tailored to planned usage scenarios. Focus on workflow, clinician experience, and ease of use.

Conduct Site Visits

Observe solutions live at other healthcare organizations. Interview users about their pros and cons. Review lessons learned from their implementations.

Request Pricing

Require detailed pricing models from all vendors, including recurring costs, add-ons, licensing tiers, and multi-year discounts. Avoid vague responses.

Evaluate Cultural Fit

Consider the vendor’s culture, communication styles, values, and flexibility. Ensure mutual trust and a shared vision for the partnership.

Negotiate Contract Terms

Before final vendor selection, carefully negotiate agreeable terms for SLAs, liability, fees, termination, disputes, BAA compliance, opacity, and other aspects.

Implementing SaaS Solutions

Once SaaS solutions are selected, careful change management and execution can maximize benefits:

Secure Executive Alignment

Earn continued executive stewardship by demonstrating how the SaaS platform enables strategic goals through metrics and outcome tracking.

Conduct Change Management

Proactively address end-user reluctance via training, workflow walkthroughs, messaging on benefits, and involvement in optimization.

Integrate Tightly with Legacy Systems

Utilize all available APIs and interfaces to ensure data flows seamlessly between the SaaS systems and remaining on-premises apps.

Clean Up Data First

Scrub data and optimize workflows in legacy systems before migration. Data errors and inconsistencies will carry over if not addressed first.

Customize Minimally at First

Limit initial customization to maximize out-of-the-box capabilities. Only customize where required by processes.

Train Both End Users and IT Staff

Educate users on new workflows while ensuring IT staff are trained on admin, configuration, integrations, troubleshooting, and security monitoring.

Assign Internal Liaisons

Appoint business analysts to work closely with the vendor implementation team and liaise between departments.

Start with a Pilot Group

Pilot the solution with a subset of users first to resolve issues at a smaller scale before expanding it to everyone. Leverage the lessons learned.

Maintain Legacy Systems Initially

Continue legacy systems in parallel during the transition period until the SaaS platform is stabilized. This provides a rollback option.

Monitor Adoption Closely

Track utilization rigorously to address lagging adoption among users or departments. Target retraining or process adjustments accordingly.

The Future of SaaS in Healthcare

SaaS penetration in healthcare will continue growing as more clinical and business processes shift to the cloud:

Core Clinical Systems

Even mission-critical EHR, RCM, supply chain, and analytics systems will move primarily to SaaS as concerns around security, reliability, and customization ease.

Care Collaboration Tools

Platforms for care coordination, patient engagement, and data sharing among care teams will be predominantly SaaS to enable network flexibility.

Unified Enterprise Analytics

Data warehouses, business intelligence, and performance dashboards will consolidate into enterprise-wide analytics platforms offered through SaaS.

Voice Technology Enablement

Cloud-based voice assistants, chatbots, and natural language processing will integrate more seamlessly into clinical workflows via SaaS apps.

Value-Based Care Support

As value-based care expands, population health, risk management, social determinants capture, and personalized care will depend more on agile SaaS innovations.

Consumer-Grade User Experiences

Patients and clinicians will increasingly demand consumer-like experiences, driving the adoption of usability-centric SaaS apps for scheduling, billing, communication, and clinical encounters.


Beyond software, healthcare will embrace XaaS for infrastructure, platforms, devices, analytics, and more:

  • DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service): Virtualized cloud desktops will replace PCs for clinicians using services like Citrix Workspace or Amazon WorkSpaces.
  • IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service): Servers, storage, and networks will shift from on-premises data centers to cloud IaaS like AWS and Azure.
  • PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service): New apps will be built on cloud platforms like Salesforce Health Cloud and Red Hat OpenShift instead of coding from scratch.
  • SECaaS (Security-as-a-Service): Cloud-based security tools will handle needs like identity management, endpoint protection, email filtering, and intrusion detection.

-UCaaS (Unified Communications-as-a-Service): Cloud phone systems like Vonage, RingCentral, and 8×8 will replace PBX hardware for voice, messaging, conferencing, and fax.

  • HPCaaS (High-Performance Computing-as-a-Service): Cloud services will provide healthcare researchers with on-demand access to high-performance computing resources for AI, genomics, and imaging.

Internet of Things and Telehealth Growth

SaaS will enable seamless management of IoT networks spanning wearables, remote monitoring devices, sensors, and telehealth peripherals. As home and mobile health monitoring increases, it will unlock the scale needed for massive device expansion.

Rise of Healthcare Marketplaces

Online cloud platforms will better connect healthcare providers with diverse vendors’ digital point solutions, services, apps, and algorithms. These “digital health marketplaces” will expedite procurement.

Flexible Hybrid Cloud Approaches

Rather than all on-premises or all SaaS, hybrid models will gain favor. Less critical apps will default to SaaS while sensitive ones stay on-premises. Private cloud will also see increased adoption.

Increasingly Intelligent Healthcare Systems

Intelligent Healthcare Systems

Cloud-based AI will deliver more real-time analytics, predictive insights, decision support prompts, workflow assistance, and conversational interfaces for clinicians.

The healthcare industry is still early in its migration to cloud-based SaaS solutions. The many benefits from availability, interoperability, scalability, mobility, speed of deployment, data security, and advanced innovation drive rapid adoption across clinical and business applications. Healthcare organizations strategically embracing SaaS will gain a competitive edge as software transitions from on-premise servers to the cloud.


SaaS adoption in healthcare will continue accelerating because it enables more agile, cost-effective, scalable, and clinically-focused IT delivery models. Key benefits like flexible scalability, speedy innovation, simplified administration, tighter security, anywhere mobile access, and subscription-based fees are compelling.

Healthcare CIOs face an increasing array of high-quality SaaS options from leading vendors across clinical, financial, administrative, and infrastructure applications. The key is developing an IT roadmap aligned with strategic goals, evaluating SaaS vendors diligently based on security and capability criteria, and executing implementations carefully to maximize user adoption and value realization.

With thoughtful planning and execution, SaaS can transform healthcare IT from the data center to the cloud. This journey can unlock the next level of performance improvement, clinician empowerment, agile business operations, and better patient outcomes.


How does SaaS improve security for health data?

Leading SaaS vendors invest far more in security than any single healthcare provider can alone. Their cloud platforms offer encryption, access controls, activity logging, redundancy, disaster recovery, and advanced threat protection.

What are the disadvantages of SaaS solutions?

Potential disadvantages include recurring subscription fees, reliance on internet connectivity, limited customizability, and lack of local control. Loss of access during an outage is also a risk.

How does SaaS integration with on-premises systems work?

SaaS platforms provide APIs and interface connectors for sharing data with on-premises systems. Organizations should maximize these integrations for seamless workflows across cloud and legacy applications.

Can SaaS scale to support large hospital systems?

Absolutely. Leading multi-tenant SaaS solutions quickly scale to the needs of even the largest IDNs and ACOs. The vendor pools infrastructure across their entire customer base for economies of scale.

Are there HIPAA-compliant SaaS options?

Yes. Primary healthcare SaaS vendors sign BAAs and fully comply with HIPAA, HITECH, and state regulations. Organizations should still perform their due diligence review.

, , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.