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Leveling up your EHR: Three benefits of containerized services

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Altera Digital Health recently announced the development of Paragon® Denali, a cloud-native electronic health record (EHR) powered by the Microsoft Azure platform, at the HIMSS24 conference. As a solutions management leader for Paragon, I am incredibly excited about this major milestone for our business unit and the company overall. With discipline and unwavering focus, the team is working diligently to bring this to market for rural, critical access and community hospitals.

The paradigm shift in how Paragon Denali is built and deployed will bring new benefits to our clients and add onto Paragon’s proven EHR capabilities. More specifically, Paragon Denali will leverage containerized services, which will translate to immediate improvements for our clients. Here’s what you need to know about containerization and the value it brings to healthcare organizations.

New architecture, new capabilities

Without getting too into the weeds, a container is a fully running environment with all the code and everything the code needs to run, packaged together in a single file, so there are no dependencies on other servers when you’re executing. With containerization, what the developer (i.e., Altera) intends to deliver is exactly what you as the client will get, and it will work on your machine (or any other) the same way it does on the developers’, without any changes. This removes the need for your organization to bring up a Windows server, buy and maintain hardware, and maintain an environment that is ideal for the software to run on.

With containerization, what the developer intends to deliver is exactly what you as the client will get, and it will work on your machine without any changes.

There are many benefits to containerization, and this shift in Paragon’s architecture will be especially advantageous to hospitals that really need to get the most out of their IT resources, such as:

Graphical representation of a smooth software update.1. Predictable cost of ownership

One of the primary benefits of Paragon Denali is that it will have a lower, predictable cost of ownership for our clients. With containerized services, there are fewer hardware requirements, which are often very costly. Additionally, there will be less reliance on Citrix servers, which is another major cost to healthcare organizations.

2. Smoother updates and upgrades

In non-cloud-based environments without containers, EHR downtime often causes disruptions to patient care and forces providers to temporarily revert to paper documentation. Leveraging containers, Altera will be able to push updates to client environments incrementally as we make modifications to different components, rather than bringing down the whole system. When clients open the application that has been updated, it will take a matter of seconds for the process to complete, and there will be minimal disruptions to workflows.

3. Stronger cybersecurity

It is well established that healthcare organizations are one of the primary targets for cyberthreats. Paragon Denali will be deployed on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, which has multilayered, built-in security controls and threat intelligence. Regarding containers more specifically, these are inherently more secure than non-containerized environments. If malicious actors somehow bypassed Microsoft, any damage they do would be limited to just the application of the container they are in. We can also easily isolate the breach by simply terminating the breached container and since upgrades are incremental, deploy a new version of the application with the exploit addressed quickly.

strong cybersecurity, a threat unable to penetrate the system

Advancing with an alternative EHR

Last year, Altera celebrated Paragon’s 25th anniversary. This year, we are embarking on a whole new journey with Paragon Denali, building on what has worked for our clients and setting them and the solution up for long-term success. Our clients make a difference in the lives of their communities every day. With Paragon Denali, we look forward to making a difference in how you deliver that care.

To learn about Paragon Denali, read more here.


Paragon Denali: The alternative you need

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