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Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software and SPLA

Thought-Leadership by Brett LaForge
on September 6, 2016

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In previous posts, we discussed at length about SPLA and the reasoning behind it. 

Recently, many healthcare organizations have received notifications from Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) and other publishers regarding the deployment of third-party software to non-employees of their organization, specifically, Epic Software and other Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software publishers. In many cases, companies have invested a lot in terms of process, tools, and people to be compliant. But unless they have a full understanding on how the licensing works when deploying to third parties, they may find themselves out of compliance.

Why is Microsoft SPLA a requirement when deploying software (such as Epic) to non-employees of their organization? 

SPLA is designed for any organization that is providing software as a service (SaaS) on behalf of another organization.

Let’s look at Epic in particular. Epic is a popular electronic medical record (EMR) software that allows doctors to track patient history, updates, submit referrals, scheduling, etc. Let’s say I am a Doctor with my own medical practice called Dr. Big B’s. I have a small doctor’s office but have a partnership with Saint Brett’s Hospital. Saint Brett’s Hospital signed a big contract to deploy Epic to offer best of class patient care to other healthcare clinics in their network. Dr. Big B’s also wants to provide the best care for his patients. Through my partnership with the hospital, I am able to offer Epic to my patients using the hospital’s systems. In theory, Saint Brett’s Hospital is providing SaaS on behalf of Dr. Big B’s; however, Dr. Big B’s is not an employee of the hospital, but is accessing the hospital’s systems to access Epic. 

Where does Microsoft SPLA fit in?

Epic runs on Microsoft technology/software. In other words, Epic requires Windows Server and SQL Server in order to operate. Although users of Epic do not know they are accessing a Windows Server, they are indirectly accessing it. That’s why SPLA is required for Windows and/or SQL and any other Microsoft software used to deploy Epic. 

Why can’t they use their own volume licensing agreement?

Unfortunately, volume licensing agreements are for internal users only. In other words, all employees of the hospital can be licensed through their volume licensing agreement, but anyone external, where SaaS is being offered, SPLA is the appropriate licensing mechanism. In most cases, organizations have both a volume licensing agreement and SPLA for this example.

How can SoftwareONE help?

SoftwareONE has helped many healthcare organizations with their EMR deployments. Although no two organizations are the same, I think they can all agree that the licensing can be complex. There are 3 ways in which we can immediately help you with your licensing needs and requirements.  

  1. Engage with a SoftwareONE SPLA expert. Our SPLA team has over 20 years of experience in both volume licensing and SPLA. Our goal is for you to ensure you’re both compliant and licensed in the most cost effective way. We do not simply place your orders, we want to understand your order so we can help optimize what you are spending and ensure you maintain compliance.

  2. Software Asset Management (SAM) for SPLA. We are the only solution provider to offer SAM for SPLA specifically for healthcare organizations. We consult with you to understand your environment before making any commitments to the publisher. We also analyze your environment to have a full understanding of what is being consumed internally and what is being consumed externally (SPLA).

  3. PyraCloud. What if you could manage all your agreements, your SAM data, your SPLA usage report, media, license keys, and your Azure consumption all through one platform? PyraCloud enables organizations to streamline the procurement process with complete visibility throughout the entire agreement lifecycle.

In summary, I think we can all agree that licensing is complex. It’s our job to help educate and coach you through these treacherous waters called Microsoft licensing. Please reach out to your local SoftwareONE sales consultant to learn more. Or if you would like to learn more about SPLA, click the button below and complete the following to receive our FREE SPLA eBook.

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Topics: Cloud and BYOD

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