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Connections - 03.31.22

Why “Software as a Service” is the Right Solution for Your Organization

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by Michelle Saunders, Therap Services

I remember – way back in the day – when I wanted to add Microsoft Office to my home computer, it was a big decision. Did I have the right “disc accessory” to load the software onto my machine? Did I have enough RAM to run the program? Was my hard drive big enough for the upload? If those answers were “yes,” then off to the computer store I went to purchase the big box of discs and accompanying large owner’s manual to advance my computing into the “modern era.” Unfortunately, more often than not, my excitement would turn to frustration when the last of the numerous discs or CDs provided wouldn’t upload due to “insufficient storage space,” which required me to “defrag” the hard drive and start all over again. Am I bringing back any memories?

For many of you this is ancient history (relatively speaking), and something rarely experienced, if at all. Accessing an application with a device via an internet connection and browser may be the only method of software use you know. This Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model is commonplace in today’s computing environment. Do you access Zoom or subscribe to Microsoft 365? If so, you are using SaaS.

Software as a Service is a software distribution model in which a cloud provider hosts applications and makes them available to end users over the internet, thereby eliminating the need of the “computer closet” and the related hardware maintenance, data storage, security and access requirements of the space at your office.

While the first developed SaaS computing model can be dated back to 1961 at MIT, it really wasn’t that well known (or used) until 1995 when AuctionWeb, which we now know as eBay, was launched. By the end of 2000, SaaS was being used by numerous product categories and has evolved right alongside internet service and device improvement.

When Therap began to develop its documentation system in the early 2000s, there were numerous paper-based systems, basic spreadsheet programs and custom database systems that effectively captured the correct data. It was in this environment that Therap made the decision to design a database to meet the core requirements of an I/DD system that was accelerating its transition to HCBS waiver programs. Therap’s database, like the three-ring binder paper systems of the past, focused on a single individual for data entry and data review. That approach maintained the intuitive structure that caregivers were already using.

Therap made an important contribution to the I/DD system by using state of the industry technology to capture data as close to the point and time of service delivery as possible. Use of the SaaS approach enabled Therap to provide a solution to provider organizations without burdening them with the cost of buying new equipment or retraining staff on a regular basis. Therap’s SaaS approach was novel in the early 2000s, and unlike the typical “per user licensing” model (an annual per Individual supported subscription fee), provider organizations had the use of the system, training, support and unlimited storage. Therap encouraged provider organizations to give access to as many users as necessary to support Individuals, document and review services.

Now, the Therap system has thousands of user organizations. Therap’s approach provides the capability to maintain state of the industry security and to rapidly respond to changes in security standards and regulations as well as threats from incursions.

SaaS is the best choice for compliant electronic record keeping systems for several reasons:

  • A SaaS system can always be a state of the industry system.
  • Therap can provide a robust array of training and support.
  • The system has areas for storage capacity throughout the system.
  • While most commercial packages charged license fees per user, Therap encouraged provider organizations to give access to as many users as necessary to document and review services.
  • Standardized terminology facilitates communication among users and with Therap.
  • Security enhancements are implemented regularly.
  • When the software is updated to stay current with regulatory changes, all users benefit.

Therap’s SaaS platform pools the resources of thousands of organizations supporting hundreds of thousands of individuals so that the evolution of Therap, for the user, has remained constant in terms of ease of use. The platform and modules are constantly updated to reflect the latest standards and best practices in the field.

The underlying structure for data storage, security, data storage, backups and data centers with higher security standards has been rebuilt numerous times since 2003 to improve efficiency, security, and the ability to accommodate more users without sacrificing response time. A SaaS interface means that despite the many changes just described, a Therap user can run a report on a General Event Report (incident / accident report) that was entered in 2003 with the same reports used on a General Event Report entered today.

If you’d like to learn more about why Therap’s SaaS system is the right documentation solution for your organization, learn more and connect with your Therap Business Development Consultant today.