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News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Make sure your VoIP phones survive a disaster

Make sure your VoIP phones survive a disaster | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony systems are great for today’s businesses. They’re more mobile with greater functionality and better cost efficiency versus traditional landline phones. But as with any technology, VoIP is vulnerable to disruptions due to equipment failure, disasters, and cyberattacks. Plan ahead and make sure your VoIP can weather any breakdown.

Invest in VoIP monitoring services

Before implementing any disaster recovery solutions, install a third-party VoIP monitoring service to keep tabs on the status of your phone system. This will identify all network issues disrupting your phone system, so you can resolve them quickly.

Choose your VoIP provider wisely

When evaluating VoIP systems, you must verify your provider’s service-level agreements. Ask them about their security and availability guarantees, and how they’re able to achieve them.

Whomever you partner with, be sure they host your VoIP systems in facilities that are safe from local disasters. Your provider should also use advanced network security services to protect your calls.

Have a backup broadband line

Because VoIP solutions are dependent on internet connections, you should have a backup or alternate internet service in case one network goes down.

Ideally, one internet service provider (ISP) will be dedicated to your VoIP service, while another supports your main computer network. Once you’ve installed both networks, you can then program them to automatically transfer services to the other should one network fail. Thus, if your main phone network goes down, your VoIP solution switches to the other network so you can keep working.

Of course, subscribing to two separate ISPs will increase your internet expenses, but the cost to maintain both is far less than the cost of significant downtime.

Route calls to mobile devices

With a cloud-based VoIP solution, you can choose where to receive your calls with call forwarding — a feature that automatically reroutes incoming calls to other company-registered devices. If your main office is hit by a local disaster or network outage, your employees can continue working from their mobile devices as if nothing happened.

To benefit from this feature, make sure to register all employee mobile devices to your VoIP system and configure such devices to receive rerouted calls.

And don’t forget to set policies for remote working. You should have rules that forbid staff from connecting to public WiFi networks, as this can put them at risk of VoIP eavesdropping.

Test your plan

There’s little value in a VoIP continuity plan if it isn’t tested on a regular basis. Test your VoIP service and check whether contact details are up to date, call forwarding features are routing calls to the right devices, and your backup internet service works. Ultimately, your goal is to find flaws in your VoIP recovery strategy and make necessary adjustments to avoid them from occurring in the future.

 

If managing VoIP is too time-consuming and complex, call our professionals today. We design, implement, and test a powerful, disaster-proof VoIP phone system to ensure your communications are always online.

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3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them

3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

We know that businesses struggle to keep their IT in optimal working condition. While some problems take the skilled hand of an expert to fix properly, many other issues are easier to deal with internally, but still, go chronically unaddressed. Here are some of those problems, and tips for how to deal with them.

 

Problem 1 – Inconsistent or Lackluster Email Security

Did you know that 92.4% of all malware is delivered via email? That’s from Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. Not only is email an effective means for hackers to send you malware, but it’s a successful one too. The same Verizon report found that people in the U.S open 30% of all phishing emails, with 12% of people even clicking on the link inside the email.

 

These statistics point to a two-sided problem. Hackers know that email is a great way to get into your company, and employees are still not being cautious enough about their email usage. So, what’s the best way to help secure your email system against compromise?

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
    This is the easiest measure to take. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security that goes beyond just simple username and passwords. It requires that users verify their identity with a code sent to an authorized device (usually a cell phone), which can go a long way to keeping unauthorized users out of business email accounts.Unfortunately, 2FA adoption remains stubbornly low at businesses, despite the greatly increased security that it provides. One of the reasons holding 2FA back is that there are several different versions available, including SMS/mobile based solutions, physical keys, app-based models, and others. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods, so pick a 2FA model that meets the specific security and compliance needs of your organization.
  • Teach Employees Email Best Practices
    According to recent data from Wombat Security, 30% of employees in the U.S. don’t even know what phishing is. That’s a big problem, as your team is the first line of defense against email-delivered cyber threats.

Teach your employees how to defend themselves. Go over the basics, such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling, suspicious email addresses, and other phishing red flags. Company policies against bad habits, like leaving email accounts open when you’re away from your desks, can also be very helpful. You may even want to give your staff the occasional quiz to ensure that they’re aware of the most important threats, and to educate them in a fun and memorable way.

 

Have you implemented email encryption or malware scanning for your email attachments yet? If not, those are two technical measures you can take to improve email security quickly. You may also want to think about enforcing an email retention policy. Regularly deleting emails is a best practice that’s often a vital part of maintaining regulatory compliance.

Problem 2 – Poor IT Vendor Management

According to this survey from the Tech Republic, 57% of companies say that they’re spending more time managing their IT vendors than just two years ago, driven by growing interest in cloud computing, SaaS, and cybersecurity services. IT vendor management is crucial to helping you deliver positive IT outcomes and control the cost of these services.

 

Engage company stakeholders and subject matter experts to form a workgroup to manage your vendors. While each vendor management process will differ, you’ll want to centralize all the related information, including contracts and related documents into one data repository. This body of information will help you evaluate your IT vendors to ensure they’re still a good fit for your needs, as well as negotiate future contracts.

 

From a cybersecurity point of view, you’ll also want to create a security risk profile for each vendor. As the number of vendors your company uses grows, so does the difficulty of maintaining strong security. According to PwC, 74% of companies do not have a complete inventory of the third parties that handle personal employee or customer data, a glaring oversight that your vendor management team should seek to rectify.

Proper IT vendor management is critical to any compliance efforts, meaning that this work must be handled with great care in regulated industries like finance and healthcare. In these cases, you’ll likely need the help of a trusted technology partner.

Problem 3 — Poorly Secured Workstations

Cybersecurity is a big, very important topic, which we’ve written a white paper on. One area of security where we’ve noticed many businesses fall short is in securing their workstations.

On any given day, a workstation may get used by several different employees or teams. Because they often hold valuable data that’s directly related to your productivity, these computers must be held to a higher standard of security than your average PC or mobile device.

  • Employ Stronger Passwords
    81% of hacking-related data breaches involve a compromisedBecause passwords are all that separate your workstation data from a malicious outsider (or insider), you’ll want to make sure that all your passwords adhere to the current best practices — which are constantly evolving.Did you know, for example, that mixing upper-case and lower-case letters are no longer seen as the best way to create a strong password? In fact, the man who came up with that idea in the first place now regrets ever saying it. Instead, combine 3 or 4 unrelated English words and sprinkle a number or two in for good measure. This provides a much stronger foundation for a secure workstation.
  • Secure Administrator Accounts and Privileges
    Administrator accounts have the ability to move data around your computer network in ways that standard user accounts can’t. This makes them attractive to interlopers, who will do whatever they can do to gain administrator access, like social engineering.Start by making sure that all default passwords have been changed and are different on each of your workstations. Using the same passwords on any two workstations could cause problems, by encouraging a successful hacker to move laterally through your network.While you’re at it, make sure that your admins aren’t using their administrator accounts for their daily work. This is another easy fix, but we see it all the time. Having your administrators use a separate account for non-administrative duties will help ensure that if their regular account gets compromised, the account with the privileged access remains secure.

 

 

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Important Factors To Consider While Buying Clinic Management Software 

Important Factors To Consider While Buying Clinic Management Software  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Choosing the right Clinic Management Software is anything but easy. However, it is one of the best decisions you will ever make that will help you enhance patient care and maximize revenues.

Considering the enormity of the decision and the impact it will have on your clinic’s operational performance, there are critical factors that you may want to consider before the actual buy.

Read through this guide to know the 7 most important factors to consider while buying a Clinic Management Software:

1. How Much Automation Are You Looking At?

There are a lot of options available as far as automating your clinic is concerned. There are exclusive billing or patient records or OPD scheduling software’s available; there are also complete clinic automation softwareavailable which include all the modules like billing, patient records, OPD scheduling, stores, pharmacy and much more. Depending on your budget, the ability to embrace change by your staff and your confidence on automating your processes, choose the right combination for you.

2. How Much Customization Will Be Needed?

No software will come custom made for your clinic because you will have some of your unique processes, which will need customization in your Clinic Management Software. After deciding how much automation you need, next logical step is to decide how much customization would you need and how confident is your vendor of delivering those. Be sure to choose a software that can accommodate all your mandatory requirements.

3. How Integration Friendly Is The Software?

A critical point for consideration while buying a software is how easy will be the transition from your old system to your new system. It is important not to lose any data and choose a software that allows a hiccup free integration. Be sure to consider this factor and also ensure the time it will take to integrate, the downtime involved and the additional investment involved, both in terms of time and money.

4. How Much Time Will Implementation Take?

Timeline for automation goes well beyond buying the product or the hardware and software installation; it is the total implementation including training of the staff and getting them to use all the features of the software. Timelines with target dates for each level of implementation and the cross checking of each level needs to be considered and discussed with complete clarity before the purchase decision is made.

5. How Much Post-Sales Technical Support Will Be Available?

Bought. Installed. Trained. Implemented. What about an unforeseen hiccup after implementation? Each staff member would have understood the technicalities in a different way and there could be a hiccup owing to wrong use or there could be a situation that was not a market reality while implementing the software? It is crucial that technical and training support should be available at a cost, post-sales. Be sure to negotiate a profitable association for the clinic while considering technical support post-sales.

6. Get Clarity

Be clear on how and at what cost will the software and hardware upgrades be implemented, what will be the downtime while the upgrade/s are happening and what will be the training routine post the upgrade/s? These are some critical questions to ensure long-term effective performance of the software and the answer needs to be clear before the buy decision is made.

7. Check Credentials and Certifications

Once you are satisfied with these performance points of the software, do a background check of the company you are finalizing to buy the software from. Check how long they have been in the business, check their clients list and see if they have serviced a clinic of your capacity in terms of specialties and turnover, do they have an experienced team to support you in your automation journey etc. This is to ensure that you have all the information to make the right decision for you.

Given that there are hundreds of points that can be considered while buying a Clinic Management Software, these are the most critical 7 points that cannot be ignored. Ensure these are on your checklist when you initiate your clinic’s automation journey.

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Cloud Computing Supports Telemedicine Growth

Cloud Computing Supports Telemedicine Growth | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Today’s healthcare professionals enjoy convenient access to a multitude of tools that would have amazed previous generations. Unfortunately, lack of awareness or access to technical experts means that many practices are unable or unwilling to take advantage of the latest technological advances, advances that increase efficiency, security and productivity. Others are intimidated by the technical jargon often associated with eHealth. All that is needed to eliminate all these issues is a partnership with a provider that specialises in the health industry, rather than deal with IT companies that are themselves unwilling to recommend healthcare-specific solutions that they are unfamiliar with.

 

Providers of healthcare solutions are familiar with the inner workings of practices and clinics and can easily review existing processes and recommend solutions that will integrate technology in the best possible manner. They will also support any new technological solutions, leaving medical professionals more time for patient care, which will ultimately provide substantial benefits that aid early diagnosis and prolong lives.

 

Providers without healthcare knowledge will recommend solutions that they are familiar with, ones that are normally selected by traditional commercial enterprises. Such solutions are generally unsuitable for healthcare clinics and practices and often require expensive customisation, assuming that they can even be customised sufficiently to meet existing regulations.
Smaller clinics and practices do not have an on-site IT team and often eliminate IT requirements by automating server maintenance, data backups and archiving using a cloud solution. In such a scenario, it is the provider that is responsible for all of these activities.

 

Telemedicine allows easier collaboration and involves the use of mobile or other internet-enabled devices. Advantages include instant videoconferencing, remote consults, immediate access to electronic health records and the elimination of geographical issues, where patients are unable to visit the practice or clinic in person. These collaborative features are used between medical teams in multiple locations, between mobile clinics and their headquarters and of course can be used by any medical professional on the move.

 

When cloud services are used, connectivity is possible from anywhere a broadband signal is present, whether to a PC or portable device. This is ideal for patients in remote are rural areas and eliminates the time and expense necessary to consult with a specialist in the traditional manner. With videoconferencing, for example, no travel is required yet an excellent service is provided by the healthcare professional involved. Even follow-ups are possible online. Security concerns are also eliminated as a travelling professional accesses data remotely and never stores it on their own personal devices.

 

There are additional cloud benefits for healthcare professionals and these include:


• Scalability – you pay for the amount of space you use and it can be increased on demand


• Automatic updates – the provider’s IT team install security patches promptly


• Disaster recovery – automated regular backups take place and are restored when active data is lost


• Redundancy – multiple broadband connections are available. When one fails, another takes over


• Flexibility – if additional bandwidth is needed, it is readily available. This is not possible with traditional networks


• Works from anywhere – an internet-ready device, a 3G or broadband connection and you are good to go


• Collaboration – depending on requirements, there are specific software applications available to aid collaboration between team members and patients


• Document management – a single document repository allows secure and controlled access to confidential information


• Security – the use of the cloud ensures data is never stored in portable devices, given that thousands are lost or stolen every year

 

• Green-tech – the carbon footprint for each practice or clinic is substantially reduced, with cloud servers using less power per client due to virtualisation technology


• Cost savings – every clinic and practice uses the latest in hardware and software technology but without the initial investment. Ongoing IT maintenance costs are also dramatically reduced

 

When it comes to telemedicine, in addition to data management and document control features, there are software applications available that maximise patient turnover per clinic, improve patient care and even improve follow-up treatment and remote monitoring processes.

 

With benefits of this magnitude and with evolving regulations to embrace technological advances in eHealth, clinics need to install a telemedicine solution sooner rather than later or give competitive advantage to those that adopt now. This is especially true if patients and colleagues are in other geographical areas. In fact, government services are already active for eligible aged-care homes and to patients of Aboriginal Medical Services throughout Australia.

 

 

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Tips To Help Ensure A Successful Surgeon Design Team

Tips To Help Ensure A Successful Surgeon Design Team | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Design surgeons and surgeon design times have been at the core of the significant advances that have occurred in the medical device market in the last few decades. Working with surgeon design teams is inspirational, mentally demanding, and exciting.

 

Let’s assume a new opportunity has been identified that will improve your organization’s financial position. The marketing team has studied the market space—that is, classified at least three types of current and potentially new innovative strategies this opportunity should incorporate (as was described in the March/April 2018 issue of ODT, “Innovation and the Development Engineer”).

 

Once a complete financial plan, which includes cost to develop/introduce, and a sales/marketing plan have both been vetted and approved by the organization’s senior staff, it is time to move ahead to develop the surgeon design team.

 

I have had experience with two different types of surgeon design teams. The first—a “Hub and Spoke” model—was utilized in situations where aligning with a given group of surgeons or an institution would alienate others from using the product once it was released. The second is the more traditional surgeon design team with a group of surgeons selected to work on a project from beginning to end.

 

The Hub and Spoke model concept relies on one or two core key opinion leading (KOL) surgeons to serve as the hub of the wheel. Different surgeons or groups of surgeons meet independently with the KOL surgeon and the development engineering lead at a series of low-key meetings held at various time points to obtain feedback on different aspects of the design. There is a significant amount of reliance placed upon the KOL surgeon as the amount of involvement of the non-KOL surgeons is substantially less than in a traditional surgeon design team model. In this model, the non-KOL surgeons are assisting with validating the market assessments and need requirements, as well as providing market acceptance feedback of the new product later in the process. It is the responsibility of the KOL surgeon and the development staff to turn that information into a viable product.

 

With the more common traditional surgeon design team, assembling a good design team is critical to the success of the endeavor. The product development team needs to work closely with the marketing department in the selection and assembly of the surgeon design team. The selection process is very much like picking players for a team sport. The desire is to pick the most talented team, with personalities that mesh with each other while becoming aligned to win in the same way.

 

The training and clinical experience of the surgeons, the number of surgeons on the team, and their geographic locations are just a few of the important factors to be considered. The surgeon’s CV is a great reference as are their publications to discover where and by whom they were trained, as well as if they have any won any awards or honors. This process helps an organizer begin to understand a surgeon’s philosophy so as to determine if it matches with the objectives of the project. If these elements do not seem to align, it is best to move on. Further, there are other important considerations—is this the first design team the surgeon has been a part of or is it just the most recent? Has he or she been a part of prior design projects, and if so, what has been the success of those products? You need to fully understand the motivation of a surgeon to be a member of a design team.

 

It is critical the surgeons understand the commitment they will need to make to be part of the design team, as there will be meetings and other activities that will take them away from their clinical practice and surgery. Provide an understanding of the duration of the project and the time periods where their involvement will be greater than other periods as the project progresses. For example, one design project required great commitment from the surgeons as it met approximately every two to three weeks and for full weekends. As a result of the commitment from the surgeons and support of the company, a very large implant/instrument project was conceived and introduced in 18 months. Conversely, projects without full commitment from all surgeons has resulted in the opposite effect, significantly delaying the project, and doubling the anticipated time to market. Therefore, if the surgeon is not willing to commit the time, they are not a good candidate.

 

I have had the opportunity to work with a wide group of surgeons from around the world on numerous design teams. All were excellent surgeons, but their interests and how they assisted the design teams varied greatly. There were some true innovators and designers who would design or create their own drawings of new and innovative products. When the product was introduced, they were willing to stand behind the new concept until it was clinically proven, even in the face of being questioned by traditionalists. Others were known for performing clinical studies or understanding the issues surgeons were facing. Still others offered their strengths in addressing the surgical technique. It is crucial to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the members of the design team.

 

Regarding the project itself, it is vital to have the project well-scoped. The scope needs to be flexible in nature but, at the same time, there need to be boundaries in place to avoid creep and to ensure the end results fulfill the original unmet market requirement. What is the new product or service expected to perform and what is it not going to address? What shouldn’t be addressed is, many times, more important than determining what needs to be. Ensure everyone understands the project’s clinical scope, the financial objectives, and the other innovative aspects desired. In order to keep the team focused and grounded as time progresses, it is often necessary to reflect back upon the scope to avoid derailing and delaying the project.

 

Having the development engineer/staff gain the respect of the surgeon design team is also important. The engineer must have a wide base of knowledge to keep multiple elements of the development project within his or her view. As the process progresses, certain elements of the product are being locked down that impact the long-term commercial success, design attributes, manufacturability, inventory costs, marketing/sales, user experience, and clinical outcomes. Throughout the project, subject matter experts (e.g., the surgeons, manufacturing engineers, etc.) will provide input and support, but the development engineer is ultimately the one who must sift through all the information and recommendations to decide which to accept, modify, or reject. As such, the development engineer must be a jack-of-all-trades. Leading a development program should not be handled as if it is a democracy, but rather, as a benevolent dictatorship. The leader must listen, assess the situation, make a decision, and move on. Attempting to satisfy all parties will only cause delays.

 

There are techniques that can be used to help sort through the issues to attempt to make the best decisions. One technique is to note how many times the same concern is raised. If the issue is repeated by numerous surgeons and/or other advisors, it likely requires further exploration. If it is rarely stated or only by one surgeon, it may be safe to consider it a much lower priority. If the factor significantly impacts cost, however, determine how significantly it could impact the marketability of the product.

 

If a new, creative solution is conceived by a surgeon that seems to have originated from out of left field, it should not be automatically dismissed. Instead, challenge the surgeon to “sell” the idea to the rest of the design team. If he or she cannot earn their acceptance, it may be best to move on. This does not mean the concept was not worthy, but perhaps it needs to be sidelined from the current program and examined independently on its own merits at a later time or for a future generation of the product. Some creative solutions may seem like an idea that makes sense, but ultimately, must be considered within the scope definition for the project.

 

When having a design meeting, it is important to know the outcome ahead of time. Since design meetings can sometimes become confrontational, first addressing key topics individually with surgeons to understand their concerns and issues will provide a means to be better prepared for the full meeting and make it more productive. If there are controversial issues to be addressed, have one of the surgeon designers present them, which can also assist in making the meeting more productive.

 

After the concept for the product design has been finalized, enroll a second group of surgeons not part of the original design team to objectively review the new product concept. This can help ensure market acceptance and help identify issues that may have been overlooked. All members of the design team are too close to the project to objectively review the new product. While this review occurs late in the design process, it is still early enough to allow for modifications to be made relativity inexpensively.

 

Surgeon design teams have been and will continue to be a critical element for the advancement of healthcare in the development of new and innovative medical devices. Leading surgeon design teams is a skill a development engineer needs to hone and refine. It involves technical knowledge, psychology, business acumen, and most importantly, strong leadership attributes.

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Why Firms Of All Sizes Need To Outsource? 

Why Firms Of All Sizes Need To Outsource?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

I was working as a product development engineer at AcroMed (a spinal implants manufacturer that was acquired by DePuy in 1998), when I noticed a gap in the medical device industry. There were plenty of companies coming up with great ideas for devices, but there were holes in the product development cycle thanks to a lack of resources or expertise.

 

That’s when I decided to grab a shovel and start filling some of those holes. First came Empirical Testing Corp. (ETC), which focused on testing devices. It was all we did, so we got good at it over the course of 20 years. Through ETC, we heard from clients who needed small-batch manufacturing and prototyping, so we launched Empirical Machine. Clients came to us for regulatory support through both of those specialty companies, so we added Empirical Consulting to our group of companies. Each branch of our corporate family tree developed as an answer for companies or individual developers lacking a critical in-house resource.

 

For companies large and small, outsourcing specific aspects of device development builds forward momentum and supports the entire industry.

 

Andy Fauth is an engineer by training. For 13 years, he’s worked in a private-equity, privately owned business he says owes its growth to finding the right vendors. He’s now chief technology officer for SMV Scientific, a company that specializes in the bone-implant interface and designs, develops, and manufactures orthopedic devices. The company began as a two-person research and development venture four years ago and has grown into a 17-person business with three devices on the market and six 510(k)s completed.

 

“As an emerging company, we don’t have the capital to have the equipment internally or hire everybody we’d like to hire for the right way to handle this stuff,” he said. “The only way we could incubate this company and grow was to outsource.”

 

Even for larger companies, it often makes sense to outsource specific parts of device development, he said.

 

“There’s always a bottle neck somewhere—that’s why there is an outsource market,” Fauth said. “Some of that stuff is specialty. When you’re going to do it once every couple of years, you don’t want to do that internally. There’s always specialty equipment, whether it’s a test frame or test fixture or experience with a certain protocol you don’t have in-house, or don’t want to invest in having that in-house long-term. You just need to use it once and check the box.”

 

Raymond Cloutier, vice president, Engineering & Development, Advanced Technologies at Exactech, said despite significant resources and commitment to Exactech’s in-house resources, he also turns to outside vendors for specialized support. Sometimes it’s an issue of capacity, but he also appreciates the benefits of outside expertise.

 

“[Outside vendors] are in a somewhat privileged position,” he said. “They’re also doing work for other companies, which helps them know the benchmark or industry standard. Sometimes when we’re in our own world as a company, we don’t have as much understanding of how requirements should be interpreted. An outside consultant may better understand what expectations, for example, the FDA may have. Suppliers generally have seen how multiple companies prepare submissions.”

 

He said bigger companies may, at times, err on the side of being overly cautious.

 

“Oftentimes large companies take very conservative positions because they have a lot at stake,” Cloutier said. “The question is, are they being ‘overly compliant’? Are they doing things more rigidly than what the external regulatory bodies require? Sometimes an outside perspective helps you better know the answer to that.”

 

David Poirier is founder and owner of spinal implant company Presidio Surgical, which has a staff of eight. He keeps quality control, marketing, sales, distribution, and accounting in-house, but the bulk of his device development work depends on outside vendors.

 

“Everything we do, we pay for through sales and distribution of our products,” Poirier said. “They have to be right. There’s really no room for error. We’ve made errors. They hurt.”

 

At first glance, it may appear outsourcing is more expensive than keeping things under your roof. But those numbers can be misleading. You may pay $200 per hour to a single vendor—which is often more than an employee’s hourly wage—but you’re not paying benefits or down time when the employee is not actively engaged on the project, Poirier said. There’s also a matter of prioritizing in-house expertise to make the best use of time and money, he said.

 

“If I take someone in quality engineering and say, ‘I need you to work on this gauge design,’ my project may have a mid-level priority, but I’ve taken them from a much higher-level project; there’s an opportunity cost,” Poirier said. “There’s the cost of the benefits and true cost of employees, then the opportunity cost. It’s a general management issue you have to think about. With consultants, you’re only paying them for what they deliver instead of the full cost (of an employee).”

 

Paying for support a la carte is less expensive than developing that service for your business, Poirier said.

 

“I only pay them for the work they do,” he said. “When you’re outsourcing, it can be a benefit if you have really good experts. You’re paying them for what you want and get what you need. You’re paying for specific service rather than a staff member. It’s hard to find good people.”

 

Working with consultants who are well-known in the industry has its advantages, Fauth said.

 

“Just to get the expertise for third-party validity for our customers, we’d outsource,” he said. “We actually had to challenge and re-invent new standards. We worked with the FDA to develop protocols and standards that didn’t exist at the time. When you have an outsource company that’s done all of that already and has a reputation of being a good firm, it lends a lot of credibility and merit to what you’re trying to do.”

 

Word-of-mouth referrals and networking are solid first steps toward finding the partner.

 

“Reputable is the key,” Cloutier said. “One test that gives me an indication is how careful they are at protecting other companies’ knowledge. If they share confidential information from other companies with you, then they’re probably sharing your confidential information with others. Observing this helps me judge who is a trustworthy supplier to work with and who isn’t.”

 

And even as you consider outsource options for aspects of your project, never forget the big picture, Fauth said.

 

“I look at anybody we interact with as a potential partnership, not just a customer/supplier relationship,” he said. “If something goes bump in the night, I want everyone equally committed to fixing it.
I also want it to be a win for both parties. That’s the right way to do business long-term. It’s not always about price or lead time. Those are factors. It’s also about quality, it’s about trust, it’s about faith they’re going to make it right if something goes wrong and everybody’s going to work for everybody else’s best interest.”

 

Dawn Lissy is a biomedical engineer, entrepreneur, and innovator. Since 1998, the Empirical family of companies (Empirical Testing Corp., Empirical Consulting LLC, and Empirical Machine LLC) has operated under Lissy’s direction. Empirical offers the full range of regulatory and quality systems consulting, testing, small batch and prototype manufacturing, and validations services to bring a medical device to market. Empirical is very active within standards development organization ASTM International and has one of the widest scopes of test methods of any accredited independent lab in the United States. Because Lissy was a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, she has first-hand, in-depth knowledge of the regulatory landscape. Lissy holds an inventor patent for the Stackable Cage System for corpectomy and vertebrectomy. Her M.S. in biomedical engineering is from The University of Akron, Ohio.

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Is it ok to store my clinic data in the cloud?

Is it ok to store my clinic data in the cloud? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If like me you enjoyed gazing out of the window at school, watching the clouds go by during double maths this is for you. Everything seems to be in the cloud these days; music, pictures and all the app things I use to try and make my life a little easier. But as much as I enjoy gazing upwards what is it all really about? What does it mean for you and your clinic? Let’s start at the beginning.

What is the cloud?

In the simplest terms, the cloud means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. That’s probably almost as much as you need to know but please read on!

 

When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data can be fast and easy, for that one computer. But there are downsides. When information is only stored on your computer’s hard drive you are at risk from all of the usual dangers in life; coffee spills, loss of computer …. computer dying, I’m sure we all have stories along those lines. So what does it mean to have your information in the cloud?

 

Well, “The Cloud” is a buzzword that suggests everything is floating in the sky. But the reality is that the cloud is not floating above our heads, it is a physical infrastructure, its many computers all over the world. Unsurprisingly many people don’t take the time to wonder where their data actually goes or how it gets there they are just happy that it works.

What are the benefits to working in the cloud?

Working in the cloud can allow your clinic to be nimble, efficient and cost-effective. If your clinic quickly needs access to more resources, it can be scaled up quickly in the cloud. Also, if you experience any of the events mentioned above which would have a serious impact on your business your information will be safe as it’s not directly inside the damaged or lost computer. I hope that all makes sense now? Now for the really clever TM3 bit.

Cloud and Data storage

At Blue-Zinc we have a systems team who manage and develop the TM3 business cloud and as we are always trying to improve things we came up with the best possible solution available. The team has taken the flexibility of the cloud but rather than having your information roaming on random servers somewhere your data is stored in the UK (data centres certified with ISO 27001 and ISO 9001) on dedicated servers which Blue-Zinc own and the guys lovingly maintain and polish on your behalf. Security patches are regularly applied to our servers to ensure that any vulnerabilities are patched as soon as they’re identified. In addition, the SQL server database with encrypted VPN services gives users the highest levels of security available and all data is automatically backed up for you!

Feature-rich private practice software

So, with TM3, you have flexibility and safety all in one. It also means that you have access to our other cloud services Pronto, Online bookings and many more features which 10,000 practitioners worldwide enjoy on a daily basis. So, for now, my head might be in the clouds but at least I know where my data is!

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What is telemedicine involved and how much does it cost? 

What is telemedicine involved and how much does it cost?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Now that the use of telemedicine is surging to an all-time high, organizations can easily get lost in implementing the technology just to stay on top of the latest and greatest, but it is easy to get lost in the vast amount of telemedicine technology and equipment options available.

 

If you are researching your telemedicine options, applying for a grant or just need to put your budget plans together, here are six key elements and associated costs for you to consider.

1. Medical Devices for Specialties

The specific medical devices you need may vary depending on the specialties you plan to serve with telemedicine. The good news is you don't need to have all the answers right away because many equipment providers have scalable and modular telemedicine systems. This means you can purchase just what you need to get started and then add additional devices later on as your program expands into additional specialties. 

 

The cost of medical devices for basic primary care services can range from $5,000-$10,000, and this would include devices such as an examination camera, ENT scope, and digital stethoscope.

2. Communication Platform and Video Conferencing Needs

How you plan to manage the patient-to-remote encounter is also a key component to consider for clinical telemedicine applications. Since you are communicating a patient's critical diagnostic data, the optimal choice is to do it securely and in real time. After all, the beauty of telemedicine is the functionality to have a live interaction between a patient and a remote specialist.

 

AMD Telemedicine recommends using a Web-based encounter management portal to communicate and aggregate medical device data and share it live with the remote physician. This is truly the best way to offer telemedicine services that are as close to an in-person visit as possible. For video conferencing, it is best to first evaluate any video conferencing investments your organization might have already made to see if these can be leveraged for your current application. Many times they integrate seamlessly with encounter management platforms.

 

Depending on your video conferencing needs, you can complement a Web-based telemedicine portal with either software- or hardware-based video conferencing. To go the software-based route can cost as little as $1,500 per patient site with no cost for the remote provider. The cost for hardware-based video conferencing can start around $10,000 per patient site and increases with the number of remote provider sites you need.

3. Packaging Design and Mobility

Telemedicine carts, cases, wall mounts, and other equipment are all just various ways to package the telemedicine hardware and software. Although there is a difference in how aesthetically pleasing they are (or are not), the main thing to keep in mind is whether this packaging will fulfill your intended use, not just now but also in the near future.

 

Ideally, you want a telemedicine cart or case that is modular and can be easily configured for additional medical specialties so it can evolve with your program. For some applications, such as school-based health centers or long-term care facilities, it is helpful to select a telemedicine system that is an all-in-one package. This helps streamline the purchasing, maintenance, and support for those that don't have a dedicated IT team for their telemedicine programs. All-in-one telemedicine systems that include the telemedicine software, primary care medical devices and the mobile cart/case can range from $20,000 to upward of $28,000.

4. Bandwidth and Internet Connection Recommendations

You may be pleased to know that you don't need to invest in a significant infrastructure overhaul to make telemedicine a reality for your clinic. Of course, your specific needs will vary depending on factors such as location and size or your organization, but the most important consideration is not how much bandwidth you need, but rather how reliable and consistent your bandwidth is.

 

The most common Internet connections are shared with others, which can cause the upload and download speeds to lag and be interrupted at busy times. So finding a reputable Internet service provider with a commitment to reliable service is the first step. If possible, purchase a business-grade service so you experience a more consistent bandwidth capability to ensure your real-time data is not interrupted or compromised in any way.

5. Training

You already staff your organization or practice with top-notch doctors and nurses, so the next step is to provide these health care professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to best make use of your new telemedicine technology in daily operations.

 

Fortunately, clinical telemedicine equipment training isn't a complicated need to meet, especially if your staff has any familiarity with basic medical devices and modern communication technology.

 

There are two types of training programs to ensure the long-term success of clinical telemedicine programs: user training for clinicians and nurses, and technical training and installation for the IT staff. Training programs like these can range from $200 to $2,000 per site depending on the complexity of equipment, the number of users and other factors. Additionally, the American Telemedicine Association is a fantastic resource for training and education.

6. Support

Finally, the increased reliance on network connectivity and Internet technology at your office means that you'll need to ensure that you have adequate IT staff support. This is likely more of a concern for smaller practices that may not have an in-house IT department. It's a good idea to talk to your telemedicine vendor to determine if it provides installation services, as well as what technical support options are available if you don't have an IT staff of your own.

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Doctors Software for Clinic Management  

Doctors Software for Clinic Management   | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Clinic business is extra complicated than ever, with Doctors Software for Clinic Management, you get easy solutions for each part of your routine work, from scheduling appointments to billing. We take care of your business by providing the perfect solution so you take care of your patients more efficiently. Doctors Software for Clinic Management was designed with the help of a medical doctor and clinic staff to make it a fit choice for your working environment. Our Doctor’s module is easy to use. Connection with Labs, Pharmacies and more, make your work easy and quick and it works the way you work.

 

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is an efficient and automatic way of dealing with health facility with options like Doctor’s appointments, administrative activities, patient’s treatment history, diagnostics information, and billing, etc. Doctor’s software for clinic management is good for a hospital with single/multiple locations. It was developed keeping in mind the small and medium-size polyclinics too, and the focus was especially on portability and ease of use. Doctors Software for Clinic Management covers most of the standard features often found in software made for clinics or hospitals.

 

Ease of use, manageability, multi-user functionality, the fast information retrieving in Doctors Software for Clinic Management are exemplary as compared to other such programs. Deciding to use Doctors Software program based on the cloud platform is very cost effective for the clinics. Doctors Sofware for Clinic Management is a good choice for the small as well as huge hospitals or clinic setup. It requires no much expenditure on equipment, hardware or trained IT staff. Those are the resources that a health facility, assisting an in-house IT setup to have to utilize, which are costly. This optimized Doctors Software for Clinic Management is updated, configured and maintained within the cloud through the skilled IT professionals. The users are, hence, free from the burden. It results in price saving and the staff pays attention to the main functions of the Clinic.

 

Easy to use, and Efficient

Doctors Software for Clinic Management gives rapid, simple and easy solutions for the Hospitals or Clinics to manage daily tasks. It allows for streamlining report generation, inventory management, patient management, employee’s attendance and other tasks. Doctors Software for Clinic Management smoothly integrates with your workflow. This cloud-based software program easily distinguishes scheduling for different physicians and a simple interface that consists of tabs for speedy switching across different features and functions. With these features, an easy to use patient portal, detailed reporting, and customizable workflow, Doctors Software for Clinic Management covers the various aspects of clinic management and administration.

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is very easy to use, and effective software program to control the management process of clinic or hospital. This Software Program is one of the best for individual Doctor Clinic or a hospital. In case you are looking for easy to apply and easy to keep software in your clinic or small health center, this software program is best for you. At a very affordable price, you not only get the software but also free training and support from our company.

A Product of EVision Techno Services

Doctors Software for Clinic Management is a Module of EVision’s Hospital Management System.

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A Wireless Doctor In Your Pocket 

A Wireless Doctor In Your Pocket  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A combination of disposable wireless sensors and smartphones is about to make health care more personal, immediate, and affordable. New solutions are emerging that harvest real-time health data and respond with on-the-spot warnings or suggestions. This technology will not only produce better outcomes, it will help extend the benefits of modern health care to people in developing countries and keep consumers everywhere better informed about the latest health products and practices.

The disposable wireless sensors being developed and commercialized by Gentag, Inc. are a good example. The sensors are intended for use by consumers and come packaged as either skin patches or specimen dipsticks. Gentag believes there is a huge global market for sensors that can be mass-produced, are easy to use, and work with popular smartphones and tablet computers.

Unlike telemedicine, which was conceived to conquer distance, Gentag’s technology is mainly about immediacy. Consumers can use skin patches and dipsticks at their convenience in their homes and workplaces. Smartphone apps provide instant feedback and can automatically forward results to caregivers. Problems can be spotted in their earliest, most treatable stages and therapy can begin at once.

Disposable sensors offer significant savings over traditional solutions. Most of the sensor designs lend themselves to high-volume mass production. They work with smartphones that consumers already have or are expected to have in the near future. And disposable wireless sensors avoid the costs associated with traveling to and using outpatient labs.

Gentag’s skin patch sensors typically consist of printable chemical strips and near field communications (NFC) chips. The chemical strips can test and measure parameters such as body temperature, skin moisture, and (with the aid of microneedles) blood glucose. NFC makes collecting the results as simple as a waving a mobile phone over the skin patch. (NFC sensors don’t require batteries because the phone provides the power.) Using NFC to read a sensor also helps avoid human error. Dipstick sensors can test specimens such as urine for pregnancy, prostate cancer, and other conditions.

The disposable wireless sensor-smartphone combination can be used to manage serious medical conditions. A smartphone app for managing diabetes can collect blood glucose readings from a skin patch containing microneedles and send commands to an implanted insulin pump. The app can determine when insulin is needed and whether a delivered dose was sufficient. The app can also take into account time of day, food consumed, and the patient’s past responses. Gentag hopes that skin patches with microneedles will free children with Type 1 diabetes from having to stick themselves several times per day.

Gentag’s dipstick sensor technology can detect very specific medical conditions. Monoclonal antibodies are used to produce biomarkers for particular pathogens, allergens, cancers, and drug toxicity. There are potentially thousands of biomarkers that can be detected. The urine test for prostate cancer mentioned above uses biomarkers.

Disposable wireless sensors offer additional benefits to makers of consumer health products. Manufacturers can deliver increased value by bundling disposable wireless sensors that help customers use their products more effectively and efficiently. When customers download the free apps that are required to use the disposable sensors, they identify themselves and establish direct communications with the manufacturers.

This is a big deal, because until now non-prescription consumer health products were nearly always purchased anonymously. Free smartphone apps can be used to gather demographic data, to gauge customer satisfaction, and to learn more about how customers use specific products. The apps can also be used to deliver electronic coupons, new product announcements, and health tips. Most manufacturers are likely to conclude that it’s worth the cost of giving away disposable sensors and smartphone apps to learn about and communicate directly with their end users.

There is another intriguing potential benefit of disposable wireless sensors. Modern medicine is highly information-driven, but most physiological data is collected when patients visit a doctor or emergency room. With Gentag’s technology, data can be gathered from people as they go about their daily activities. Large scale tracking of physiological data could help health care providers detect epidemics earlier and more accurately identify the warning signs for specific medical problems. Disposable wireless sensors and smartphones should also make clinical trials easier for both participants and researchers.

Technology is often blamed for the high cost of health care. However, technology has proved essential to driving down costs in industry after industry. By diagnosing health problems earlier and enabling patients to manage medical conditions at home, disposable wireless sensors and smartphones will help produce better outcomes at lower cost. It’s a bit like having a doctor in your pocket.

 

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Mobile Clinic delivers pediatric care to medical provider shortage areas with telemedicine

Mobile Clinic delivers pediatric care to medical provider shortage areas with telemedicine | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Telemedicine Technology gives providers flexibility and mobility when delivering care, which creates new opportunities to reach neighborhoods and patients that may otherwise lack sufficient access to adequate healthcare.

 

Some communities in the U.S.struggle with food security and other basic necessities, which makes prioritizing healthcare difficult for public officials. Likewise, there may simply not be proper infrastructure or facilities available to deliver high-quality treatment in extremely impoverished or remote areas of the country. Other factors, like natural disasters, for example, could complicate or inhibit treatment. 

 

In Miami-Dade County, The University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic relies on AMD's telemedicine technology to help them greatly improve access to treatment in areas that need it most.

Here are just a few of the challenges that the University of Miami set out to solve:

 

  • Provide primary care services to over 3,000 uninsured pediatric patients each year
  • Increase patient compliance rate for follow-up appointments, care plans and healthy lifestyles
  • Address additional medical needs beyond primary care services including education and support.

The UMPMC was indeed able to bring treatment to individuals and families that otherwise were not getting adequate healthcare. Here are just a few of the results:

 

  • Provided 2,000 clinical encounters and 3,000 immunizations administered
  • Removed the barriers for follow-up appointments,
  • Offered quick on-the-spot access to remote specialists

By bringing patients in contact with specialists and other clinical professionals, the UMPMC achieved a 90 percent patient compliance rate in follow-up appointments, up from just 30 percent prior to this initiative.

 

Humble origins


In 1992, the University of Miami had a unique and powerful response to the immense challenge of reaching individuals and families that had been displaced by Hurricane Andrew. In response, the Pediatric Mobile Clinic was born. Ever since, the UMPMC has been able to offer immunizations and physicals as well as urgent care or mental health support to the uninsured and disenfranchised.

 

The idea of a mobile health center was no unique to the University of Miami. In the late 1980's, Dr. Irwin Redlener and singer/songwriter Paul Simon founded the New York Children's Health Project, an effort to treat the homeless and needy. Through a donation from Simon, a mobile medical unit was used to provide pediatric care to those who otherwise could not access adequate healthcare.

 

The perfect partnership


With the help of AMD's Portable TeleClinic, UMPMC is able to treat nearly 3,000 children each year. The telemedicine system allows the mobile clinic's healthcare staff to consult with necessary physicians and medical specialists. The mobile care center a converted bus that has the clinical capacity of a traditional doctor's office can be brought directly to neighborhoods or communities where care is needed most. Anything from primary care services and chronic disease management to dermatology and cardiac care is provided through the UMPMC.

 

Pediatrician Lisa Gwynn, the director of the Pediatric Mobile Clinic and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, highlights why this program is so valuable.

 

"Our uninsured patients were faced with too many barriers to get to their specialist appointments because it meant they needed to travel long distances and would incur additional costs, so most of them were simply not showing up," she said. "By bringing the remote specialists to our mobile unit via AMD's telemedicine technology, we brought our compliance rate up significantly from 30 to 90 percent, and more importantly our patients are benefiting from all-inclusive care."

 

The UMPMC is using the Portable TeleClinic system as a fully functional exam station By leveraging specialty medical devices, real-time data aggregation software and video conferencing not only can doctors reach new patients, but they are provided with the resources to improve outcomes. In the year 2014, the UMPMC completed 2,000 clinical encounters, which included nearly 200 mental health visits and administered 3,000 immunizations.

For the staff working in the mobile clinic, these telemedicine tools make it possible to work with medical professionals throughout the University of Miami and beyond. Consultation or a second opinion can be accessed with video conferencing. Likewise, examination cameras, electronic stethoscopes and a 12-lead ECG are integrated in a way that allows for sharing patient data and live medical video, all in real-time.

 

"Working with such an established telemedicine partner such as AMD Global Telemedicine, and leveraging their technology has allowed us to have many of the same cutting-edge services as a traditional hospital or medical practice. Through telemedicine, the UMPMC staff can easily and effectively communicate with colleagues and peers as needed," said Dr. Gwynn.

 

Essential services


The UMPMC offers care to uninsured patients, and according to Dr. Gwynn, many of these individuals have never been examined by a doctor. For that reason, not only are general check-ups essential, but access to specialty care is also a critical component of their telemedicine program.

 

Leveraging AMD's Portable TeleClinic and the integrated telemedicine technology has helped UMPMC extend beyond the reach of primary care to 15 specialty services offered today, including: dermatology, cardiology, endocrinology, nutrition, hematology. school physicals, management of chronic/acute illnesses, prescriptions, and many more.

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3 Smart Ways To Prevent A Cyber Attack

3 Smart Ways To Prevent A Cyber Attack | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Over half (55%) of small to medium sized businesses were victims of cyber attacks within the last 12 months. That being said, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to stay vigilant and avoid a cyber attack at all costs. Here are just a few expert tips to help your business prevent a cyber attack or security breach.

 

Create And Enforce Internal Security Policies
It may sound surprising, but a great number of business security breaches actually occur within the business itself as opposed to originating from an external threat. Usually, this will occur when an employee clicks on a link in an email that contains phishing software. Other times, employees simply use poor passwords that are easily guessed. That’s why educating your employees and forming clear security policies is the first step to gaining control of your IT security. Keep all employees on the same page regarding password protections and provide quarterly training sessions to keep employees updated with the latest security information.

 

Don’t Ignore Update Requests
Your employees have probably done this before — instead of letting their computers update as usual, they’ll keep delaying the process because it’s just not a convenient time for an update. This can weaken your business’s security and prevents your business from achieving true IT optimization and efficiency. Make sure all your employees are paying attention to their update notifications and are installing and implementing updates as soon as possible after they become available.

 

Consider A Managed Services Provider
In addition to taking the previous two preventative measures, your business should also highly consider investing in reliable IT management such as a managed services model to optimize computer network maintenance and greatly reduce or even effectively eliminate the possibility of a cyber attack. In fact, for 38% of companies of all sizes, enhanced security and compliance was the reason for using a managed services provider. Yes, hiring an IT service provider does require an additional investment, but for many businesses, the peace of mind that accompanies is absolutely priceless — not to mention the money and frustration you may be saving if a cyberattack were to occur.

 

Ultimately, knowing how to keep your business’s IT infrastructure as secure as possible is the key to preventing a cyber attack. For more information about IT service providers, contact Manhattan Tech Support.

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7 Key Focus Areas of Mobile Healthcare Applications

7 Key Focus Areas of Mobile Healthcare Applications | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

We live in a perennially mobile world, managing almost every life activity (from work to shopping) “on the go” – thanks to the “smart” phones that have become such an integral part of lives. The healthcare ecosystem is certainly not lagging behind in embracing mobile technology.

The very term “mhealth” is proof of mobile technology’s relevance in healthcare. Mobile healthcare applications have exploded the care landscape because of their ability to simplify access to care and deliver a superior care experience from both the care providers’ and the patients’ point of view.

Here are 7 key focus areas of mobile healthcare applications that are gaining tremendous attention in today’s care landscape.

1. Easy access to care

Mobile apps have simplified the burdensome task of choosing a care provider, booking appointments, and follow-up sessions with the clinic or hospital. This has drastically reduced waiting times at the doctor’s office and increased the efficiency of the entire care process. With SMS reminders, prepaid options, and 24/7 call options, these apps also provide patients with options of rating care providers, thereby delivering a transparent care ecosystem.

2. Easy interaction between care providers

One of the primary source of delays in the care process is the long waiting period and the never-ending back and forth between multiple care points – doctors, labs, imaging system, second opinions, insurance companies, and pharmacies, for example. Mobile apps create a strong network of care providers who interact productively through apps, guaranteeing a secure and professional platform that enables informed and timely decision-making.

3. Medical record maintenance

Trusted app that effortlessly maintain medical records and patient history have always been on top of the care landscape’s list of priorities. These apps are simple interfaces that facilitate easy recording of diagnosis, examination, medication, and treatment regimens with zero need for multiple sources of data entry and minimal version issues.

4. Remote patient engagement

Delivering a positive patient experience is no longer restricted to focusing just on treatment and diagnostic modalities. It involves providing the patient with complete support – right from easy access to care even from remote. There are many examples of remote patient engagement:

  • Video-call options with patients
  • Engaging in healthcare awareness drives
  • e-Prescription and remote monitoring of medication compliance
  • Remote treatment of patients in remote locations and elderly patients by mapping their vital body parameters and alerting care providers in case of deviations

5. Chronic condition care support

Smartphone apps have become critical support systems in delivering care for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many apps help patients to efficiently manage their blood sugar levels, maintain a nutrition diary, and transform their lifestyle to avoid the complications of diabetes.

6. Wellness support

Care is no longer associated with the absence of any disease or disorder – it’s also about the wellness of the body and mind. Hence, wellness-related apps are exponentially increasing in popularity, from simple apps that measure the number of steps walked over a specified period and heart rate to apps that track exercise, diet, and sleep. Customized dashboards deliver a clear overview of the health condition of the patient.

7. Continued learning for care providers

Staying up-to-date in today’s care ecosystem requires that the care providers stay on top of every innovation, new disease and condition, novel medical device, ongoing research, and pharmaceutical discovery. Apps that consolidate specialty-specific data and references from across the medical world are hugely popular. Given the nature of the care providers, this service too needs to deliver a 24/7 access to any location – and mobility perfectly fits this bill.
Conclusion – anytime, anywhere care
mHealth is fast becoming synonymous with delivering smart care anytime from anywhere – a super-efficient means of enabling health and wellness. The challenge is to cut through the excessive clutter of mhealth apps and find your right fit and to ensure that your healthcare solution includes mobility-first features. Today’s care world is certainly on its way to fit right in your pocket! So how ready are you to go the mhealth way?

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Benefits Of Wearable Technology In The Health Sector

Benefits Of Wearable Technology In The Health Sector | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

When most of us consider wearables, we include devices such as Bluetooth headsets. However, in the medical industry, we expect more from our wearables and only include devices that not only provide a specific function but will also store sensor data for later retrieval by healthcare professionals. This data is then analysed to aid medical diagnosis.

 

In a growing telehealth market, it is these sensor-based devices that will improve healthcare services for millions of patients worldwide. Existing forecasts indicate that the global telehealth spend will increase tenfold within five years, rising to $4.5 billion by 2018.

 

Like any new technology, early adoption figures are quite weak but luckily, in Australia, we are always eager to experiment with new innovations. In fact, a 2014 Kronos survey demonstrates that no less than 30 per cent of Australians already use wearable technology, twice that of our U.S. counterparts. In addition, more than 40 per cent use them for work-related tasks. This high adoption rate is encouraging for future increased use of wearables in the health and fitness areas.

 

For this adoption rate to continue, I believe we need our healthcare providers to embrace the use of wearables, as they are best positioned to encourage their patients of wearable benefits, with the most important being improved care monitoring and increased efficiency for early diagnosis of common ailments. When a medical professional recommends a product, people listen. There are several reasons for this but primarily these include:

 

A company with a commercial interest in the product is unlikely to achieve the same positive response level.


Patients trust their doctors to act in their best interest.
By using these technologies themselves, patients are encouraged to take a more proactive approach to their personal health.
Fitness plans were perhaps the first wearable that provided useful data for medical professionals and were primarily used by those in cardiovascular activities such as running and cycling. Like any product type, the features available vary by model and manufacturer but most are capable of acting as a pedometer and can also record pulse and heart rates. The data gathered by the device sensors is then transmitted to your smartphone using Bluetooth or possibly ANT+ for cycling enthusiasts with bicycle computers. This data is often useful to doctors as it can aid diagnostics, surpassing the original plans for the device as a general fitness monitor.

 

Wearables that are specifically designed for the healthcare industry work in an identical manner. Senses are used to gather data, which is then transferred to another device for later analysis. Smartphones are most commonly used, with apps available for several platforms including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but residential users can also use Wi-Fi to transfer data to the cloud or to another monitoring device.

 

In my opinion, as this technology grows, I believe real-time reporting will be possible, where data is displayed on the health professional’s monitor as soon as new data is uploaded. The exact direction this technology will take requires valuable input from knowledgeable medical professionals. That is not to say that the existing range of devices for the medical industry is limited as this is far from the situation. There are several preventative care devices already on the market and these include:

 

Glucose meters that notify clinics of an emergency situation, ideal for remote monitoring of elderly diabetics
Remote monitoring devices that store information such as blood pressure, temperature, ECG data and more. These can save a vast amount of clinic time, allowing healthcare professionals to prioritize according to patient ailment and creating an environment where early diagnosis is certain for many common ailments.
There are several dedicated devices and applications for monitoring diets, all of which act as a virtual personal trainer who recommends a specific diet according to age and cardiovascular status.
The examples listed above are probably the most common but there are many other devices available that monitor specific conditions. All share the same properties, to gather information and to monitor patients in real-time, thereby improving doctor-patient interaction and the healthcare service provided.

 

The use of wearable technology is a win-win for both healthcare professionals and patients and can reduce individual patient costs while also eliminating unnecessary clinic visits for the patient. For example, if you have high blood pressure and are prescribed specific medication to alleviate the condition, you will no doubt have to make several trips to the clinic to verify that the prescribed treatment is actually working. However, with the use of wearable technology, this is no longer necessary, as the data gathered from the device is simply analysed without travelling to the clinic.

 

Australian healthcare professionals need to adopt wearable technology as soon as possible, given that the benefits surpass any possible costs or training headaches. It is a fact but careful selection of wearable devices and software apps can increase the efficiency of any medical practice, whether it is immediate access to patient data from anywhere, guided surgery, health monitoring tasks and more. Early adopters have already discovered that these solutions can reduce the frequency of clinic visits and related clinic hours per patients.

 

Individual patient costs are reduced substantially but this does not mean that clinics will lose revenue, it merely means that available clinic time is spent treating the seriously ill or patients that require emergency care.

 

Mobile devices, remote data access and analysis with the resulting ability to increase early patient diagnosis are the way of the future. It may take some effort to define the correct processes, workflows and procedures but it is clearly worth it. Can you really afford to ignore the benefits of wearable technology?

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EHR Hardware Basics in Health IT Guides

EHR Hardware Basics in Health IT Guides | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Hardware Basics for Electronic Health Records

 

Basic Terms


Workstation - This refers to the hardware that holds everything a physician or office staff worker needs to perform their jobs: word processing, practice management software, EHR software, fax software, etc.


Desktop - One of three basic types of workstations. This describes a fixed, hard-wired computer that does not move around. The computer can actually sit on the top of the desk (desktop) or on the floor (tower).


Laptop - One of three basic types of workstations. This is a portable computer that has a keyboard and either a touchpad, stick, or mouse for moving the cursor around the screen. It is a fully functioning computer that can be carried or placed on a cart and moved around the office.


Tablet PC - One of three basic types of workstations. Tablet PCs contain built-in handwriting recognitions software that allows the user to "write" on the screen using a stylus, much as they would write on paper attached to a clipboard. Tablet PCs can have add-on keyboards for instances when typing is preferred.


Desktops


The basics:

 

  • A desktop computer usually has a standard configuration consisting of a CPU, monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  • It is stationary; it resides in one location and cannot be moved from room to room.
  • It can stand alone or work with any of a variety of network arrangements

 

Advantages:

  • Desktops are low-cost and available from a wide variety of vendors.
  • Because desktop PCs are standardized, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to find spare parts and support, or to replace a machine.
  • Desktops will run just about any software you need.
  • Additional devices such as microphones, speakers, and headsets are readily available at low cost.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Because it's stationary, you need to buy a desktop PC for each room in which you need access to your EHR software.
  • Desktops typically take up more space than a laptop or tablet PC. While flat screen monitors and tower units save actual desktop space, the standard desktop computer requires more room than either a laptop or tablet PC.
  • You must purchase additional equipment to take full advantage of voice recognition and/or handwriting recognition programs.

 

What your peers have to say:
"Have had wired computers [desktops] in the exam room since 1998 and think it is the best way. I find it less hassle than carrying a computer around all day, worrying about batteries running out or losing wireless connectivity or dropping the computers. The computers are much cheaper both to buy initially and fix if something does happen. Tried a tablet but did not like it all. Never had a problem with children or adults interfering with the computer in the examining room and if you log out when you leave, HIPAA is not an issue."
-- Keith Stafford, MD, Greenville, South Carolina


Laptops


The basics:


A laptop is a fully functioning computer that is small enough to be portable. Laptops can take advantage of wireless as well as traditional networks. A laptop can easily serve as a desktop machine and can connect via a docking station to a larger monitor and a standard keyboard.

 

Advantages:

  • A laptop has a smaller footprint and can easily be turned to allow patients to view information on the screen.
  • A laptop is less obtrusive during patient interviews.
    Most have fairly long battery life and/or an A/C adaptor.
    Laptops use standard PC inputs such as keyboard and mouse and/or touchpad.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Although laptops are portable, they can be heavy to carry, typically weighing five to eight pounds.
  • Repairs and maintenance tend to be more expensive because laptops use non-standard or proprietary parts. You may have to send a laptop off-site for diagnosis and repair.

 

What your peers have to say:
"

  • We work wirelessly with laptops. All [prescriptions] print from one central printer right outside the exam rooms. Benefits of laptop:
  • Can open the note and chart before entering the room and bring up appropriate templates. Can enter the room already knowing what HM is late and what the purpose of the visit is.
  • Can close the note right outside the room if you want to go ahead and have the patient leave before finishing a note.
    Can see with bifocals; no neck strain.
  • Can have all my personal settings and programs handy all the time - PDR, links, hospital links, etc.
  • Can look at patient easily over the top of the laptop and can easily show patients what I'm doing.
  • Touchpad is always in the same place in relation to keys; easy to switch from it to typing or tabbing without looking. I like having a full size keyboard.

 

"I'm hooked on my laptop and am so accustomed to carrying it around that I don't even notice even though it is Dell's heaviest one."
-- Sue Andrews, MD, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

 

Tablet PCs


The basics:
There are two main types of tablet PCs: a slate tablet PC, which is a tablet with no attached keyboard (although one can be added), and a convertible tablet PC, which is basically a laptop computer with a screen that can swivel and fold onto the keyboard to create the tablet.

 

Advantages:

  • Tablets are truly portable and lightweight, typically weighing three to four pounds.
  • It is as powerful as a PC, but it doesn't require a keyboard. Instead, you add information by writing on the screen with a digital pen or stylus, much like you do in a paper chart.
  • Handwriting recognition software developed for tablet PCs is excellent, even for very poor handwriting.
  • Tablet PCs have integrated dictation capability with voice recognition software that transcribes directly into the patient record.


Disadvantages:

  • Writing with a stylus takes getting used to; there is a longer learning curve in adapting to a new way of using a computer.
  • Handwriting recognition dictionaries have not yet fully integrated medical terminology and acronyms, requiring more correction.
  • There is not as much standardized software yet available for tablets.
  • Screens are easily scratched and can become unusable without screen protectors purchased at additional cost.

 

What your peers have to say:
"I have been using a Gateway tablet in the room with my OB patients for the past two years. We use an ASP prenatal record called eNatal. I wouldn't trade for it. It has three methods of entering data on the screen, all vastly improved with the SP2 for Windows XP for Tablet.

 

"The first method is through tapping on a screen-based keyboard with the stylus (slow but very accurate). The second is through straight handwriting recognition. I have relatively poor handwriting, but it is amazing how accurate and fast this is! The only thing that seems to trip it up is some abbreviations, acronyms, or words that it can not find in the dictionary. The third option is a letter-by-letter handwriting recognition panel that is slower but extremely accurate.

 

"We've had no downtime. The wireless connection works well. The battery life is good (I plug it into the docking cradle between OB patients). We have used laptops and desktops for eNatal in the rooms and the tablet works best by far. As we look to add a full EMR, we hope to use a tablet-based system, probably the Motion Computing tablets with the biometric (fingerprint) access."
-- G. Jeffrey Young, MD, FAAFP, Levelland, Texas


Using EHR technology require a certain adjustment in the way you're used to interacting with your patiens and their charts. Deciding how to do this in the way that makes you the most comfortable will help guide your choice of hardware -- e.g. using a desktop, laptop, or tablet PC.

 

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In Situ Cured Silicone Could Enable Personalized Implants

In Situ Cured Silicone Could Enable Personalized Implants | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Medical-grade silicone is a highly valued, versatile biomaterial widely used for medical implants. Often associated with applications such as cardiovascular pacemakers, cochlear implants, hydrocephalus shunts, implantable infusion pumps, and even intraocular lenses, silicones began to be used for a broad range of orthopedic medical applications beginning in the 1960s. The idea of replacing the small joints of the hand with silicone implants was first introduced by Swanson about 50 years ago.1 Since then, medical-grade silicone elastomer implants have become common in the replacement of diseased small joints. Typically, silicone elastomers are used to fabricate components of devices or entire devices, which are then assembled, packaged, and sterilized prior to implantation via surgery. Now, new dispensing technology serves as a means to provide an alternate method of surgical implantation, where uncured pre-sterilized silicone can be provided as a part of the surgical kit and cured in situ during the orthopedic procedure.

 

Benefits and Innovation
Silicone provides a diverse range of characteristics that make it useful, with properties ranging from very sticky to very slippery, and from soft and pliable to stiff or rigid. Consequently, it is very attractive for different medical uses, such as molded parts or lubricious coatings for medical devices; soft silicone adhesives for wound care; soft tissue implants; and even high-modulus tubing.

 

Device manufacturers often choose silicone for its established pedigree of biocompatibility, unique physical properties, and its ability to be altered at the polymer level. This ability to let manufacturers custom-modify material properties to satisfy specific medical device requirements has given silicone a reputation as a high-technology biomaterial that invites innovation.

 

Innovation in silicones, however, is expanding beyond the properties of the biomaterial itself. A new development in sterilizable dispensing systems allows sterile, uncured silicone elastomers to be considered for therapeutic use in orthopedic and other applications where pre-formed silicone implants are traditionally used. By enabling the silicone to be cured to its final form in situ within the specific area in the body receiving the implant, new approaches to orthopedic device design, fabrication, and implantation have the potential to be developed.

 

Medical-Grade Silicones: Value for Implantable Devices
To explore the value of in situ cured silicone elastomers in orthopedic applications, it’s helpful to examine some key traits and performance considerations that make silicone particularly appealing for implants.

 

Biocompatibility: Medical-grade silicones have been proven to be chemically stable for use in long-term implantable devices, with results demonstrating that biocompatible silicones are not harmful to living tissue.

 

The biomaterials supply crisis of the early 1990s presented a significant testing and documentation challenge for medical device manufacturers. There was a need to provide exhaustive safety data to obtain the regulatory approval required to market their products. Silicone especially, as the primary material from which breast implants are made, received intense evaluation. As a result, more than two decades of laboratory and clinical research and experience with silicone-containing medical devices of all types has produced thousands of peer-reviewed articles, as well as carefully considered regulatory decisions. These findings validate the safety and biocompatibility of implantable devices manufactured with silicone.

 

Customization: Silicone-based implanted orthopedic devices have multiple therapeutic applications, whether for finger joints or even spinal repair. Depending upon how it is used, each device has unique physical property requirements, such as firmness, cushioning ability, or flexibility. The advantage of silicone is its ability to be highly customized, so the desired properties such as elasticity, fatigue resistance, and durometer can be formulated for the appropriate functionality in a device.

 

Durability: Cured silicone retains its properties over long periods of time. This is especially useful in applications such as finger joint replacement, where the elasticity of the moving joint is a key characteristic. In long-term implantable applications, whatever balance of elasticity or firmness the device manufacturer specifies needs to be sustained over the life of the implant.

 

Curability: To fully leverage the properties of silicone, the material must be cured to activate these properties and make the material chemically stable. A widely used method for curing silicone is platinum-catalyzed addition cure. With this method, a platinum-based catalyst is included in the silicone formulation to activate crosslinking. Depending upon the final application, the silicone can cure to be relatively flexible or very hard. Platinum-catalyzed, addition cure chemistry is frequently chosen for implanted medical devices because there are no catalyzation byproducts; all formulation components are chemically bonded in the polymer matrix. Another benefit is the platinum catalyzation allows for flexibility in controlling the cure rate over a wide range of time and temperature.

 

Benefits of In Situ Cured Silicones in Orthopedics
The distinctive features of silicone offer tremendous potential value for therapeutic orthopedic applications. For example, they can create a seal, fill a void, provide cushioning, or enable flexibility. These types of applications can perform best when they fit the anatomy of a patient.

 

Until recently, silicone orthopedic devices were typically produced, cured, and sterilized prior to surgical implantation. However, the advent of silicone that can be cured in situ at the site of the implant is appealing for several reasons. In situ curing of medical-grade silicones in the body, rather than fabricating the device outside the body and implanting it, increases the ability to customize the fit of implanted orthopedic devices, since it is more of a “real-time” implant. In fact, research has already been conducted on the use of in situ-cured silicones in spinal applications. In vertebral repair, for example, it is conceivable that in situ-cured silicone could enable a custom-fit device. Using in situ-cured silicone implants also opens possibilities for less invasive implantation procedures. In addition, customization of in situ-cured silicone enables the material properties to be “tuned” in accordance with specific therapeutic requirements. For example, viscosity can be defined to make in situ implantation and curing easier to accomplish. The cure time can be tuned, so that the silicone cures in situ at body temperature. Moreover, the final physical properties of the material can be precisely defined to provide the desired performance, such as a specific level of hardness, if the orthopedic application is to support; or softness, if the orthopedic device is meant to cushion.

 

Sterilizing Silicone for Implants
As the industry reviews the potential for versatility and usefulness of in situ-cured silicone materials for orthopedic implants, another key factor to consider is sterilization. In order to be implanted, devices pre-fabricated with medical-grade silicones must be sterilized—so an efficient and fully verifiable sterilization solution is necessary.

 

The traditional method for producing silicone orthopedic devices uses a multi-step process. Although methods vary between manufacturers, most implants are molded from liquid silicone, which is then cured. This cured, molded part is typically placed along with other devices used for a specific therapeutic application into a single package or tray, which is then sealed and sterilized before it is delivered for use with a patient.

 

A number of processes can be used to sterilize uncured silicone. However, these processes have had challenges in the past with sterilization of platinum-catalyzed, addition cure silicones in their uncured state.

 

  • Gamma and electron-beam irradiation: May cause premature cure
  • Dry heat and autoclave: May be detrimental for heat- or moisture-sensitive formulation ingredients and packaging components

 

Exposing the silicone to ethylene oxide (EtO) gas is a widely used and effective sterilization method when used with compatible packaging to allow for ingress and egress of the sterilant gas. The implant is typically packaged along with the other components in the orthopedic surgical kit and sterilized as a single unit.

This process works for implants that are fabricated and cured prior to implantation. However, a technical challenge often faced by silicone manufacturers is how to package uncured silicones, so they can be sterilized then later used for in situ-cured therapeutic treatments.

 

New Packaging Enables Sterilization
Designed specifically to allow sterilization of uncured medical grade silicones, a new innovation in silicone dispensing systems makes in situ-cured silicone implants for orthopedics possible.

This novel, patented system2 features a dual-cartridge prefilled dispensing system. One cartridge contains the uncured silicone while the other contains the catalyzing agent. Each cartridge has a gas-permeable plunger seal that allows EtO sterilant gas to permeate through the plunger seal to sterilize the contents of the cartridge.


Key features of the packaging system include:

  • Disposable syringes that are available in a variety of sizes—5.0, 10, 25, 50, and 75 mL—which offers choices to help match the needs for the specific quantity of material required
  • One-step sterilization of both the material in the cartridge and the packaging
  • Easily adaptable to a variety of injection technologies
  • Engineered for use in complete surgical kits

 

Testing of this two-part dispensing system demonstrated that, after sterilization, the uncured silicones were fully sterilized, and there was no residual EtO remaining in the material. Equally important, there was minimal change to key silicone physical properties, such as rheology, durometer, modulus, work time, and cure rate.

 

Thus, the highly valued material properties of silicone—and the increased versatility and custom-fit capabilities offered by in situ curing of silicone—are now more viable through a dispensing system that can be efficiently and effectively sterilized prior to the orthopedic procedure.

 

The development of a new patented dual-cartridge prefilled silicone dispensing system makes in situ silicone curing a practical reality, offering the orthopedic community the potential to explore new therapeutic approaches that provide better outcomes to meet the implant needs of patients.

 

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Cloud performance tests reveal the impact of location

Cloud performance tests reveal the impact of location | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If a cloud-based EHR isn’t fast enough to meet the needs of hospitals and other medical facilities, quality of care will suffer, clinicians and support staff will become frustrated, and provider organizations operating on thin margins will have wasted valuable IT dollars on inadequate technology.

 

Several industry trends make it clear that providers are increasingly confident cloud-based EHRs can deliver data and applications at sufficient speeds because vendors have dramatically reduced latency. Epic Systems, the largest EHR vendor in the U.S., began offering cloud services in 2014 to medical groups and small hospitals. The company said in 2016 that it has seen a big shift among its customers toward cloud-based systems. One of those customers is University of California San Diego Health, which announced in August 2017 that it is migrating its Epic EHR to the cloud.

 

Cerner has also revealed that a number of healthcare systems are moving onto its hosted cloud environment. Inspira Health Network, a nonprofit healthcare organization that serves communities across New Jersey, and Bay State, an integrated health system in western Massachusetts health system, have both moved to Cerner’s cloud hosting model.

 

Another EHR vendor, Athenahealth, offers only cloud-based EHR services to its network of 56 hospitals and 106,000 providers that serves more than 100 million patients. Ellenville Regional Hospital in upstate New York, reports that running its EHR on a single network gives staff in all departments real-time access to patient records.

 

For health systems that will select their own cloud host, after considering the cost of strategic planning and security, the success of a migration ultimately rests on performance. Can EHR data, applications and services be delivered fast enough to support the needs of clinicians? Cloud performance is generally measured by average latency which represents the delay between the time when a client computer requests data and the cloud platform responds.

 

Tests have shown that distance between the cloud provider and the enterprise can have a significant impact on latency with delays of as much as 50 percent when the cloud is at a great distance.

 

Cedexis tested services and found distance was a leading indicator of performance

 

Monitoring company Cedexis performed tests throughout the United States that quantify this. Tests were performed on all of the major cloud platform vendors. The determining factor in latency performance was distance from the test client system to the servers at the cloud data center, with a deterioration of as much as 50 percent seen over longer distances within the same region.

 

For example, tests performed in the northwest region recorded latency was as low as 63 ms. when the cloud was near; a latency of 92 ms. was recorded on a cloud system at a greater distance from the test location. A test on cloud platforms in the northeast found 66 ms. latency on the low end and 78 ms. on the high end.

 

A number of vendors offer cloud performance tests that are free to be used during an evaluation process. One example is

 

CloudHarmony who offers a free service that will test performance for many of the leading vendors at a variety of their geographic locations. The test, at Cloud Harmony Speed Test will provide results for DNS query, downlink and latency.

Integration challenges


Migrating an EHR system to the cloud rarely is an all-or-nothing process. Rather, many healthcare IT managers are moving incrementally, evaluating the success of each application migration, learning from mistakes, and carefully preparing the next move based on need and experience. For example, some may decide to first migrate back-office or HR applications, and eventually, migrate clinical apps and billing data at a later date. Providers certainly can choose a one-shot migration to the cloud, but they run the risk of network and system disruptions, loss of productivity, and bandwidth limitations.

 

After cloud migration goals are set, computing models are chosen, and a migration plan established, healthcare providers can begin choosing a CSP (or more than one). For providers with concerns about potential latency issues, selecting a CSP with a hosted location close to the provider’s facilities makes sense. The provider’s IT staff and the CSP can then begin the cloud migration. This process involves addressing several integration challenges.

 

Perhaps the primary challenge is to prevent disruptions to systems or services during or as a result of the migration that would impact clinical care, staff productivity, or IT processes. Other challenges include protecting and backing up migrated data and connecting to and integrating disparate systems.

 

Integration may involve linking cloud-based apps and data with non-cloud apps in legacy systems. “An illustrative scenario could involve a multi-hospital operation which chooses to retain on-premises EHR for inpatient operations but wants to leverage public cloud services for geographically distributed outpatient clinics,” according to the Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC).

 

The CSCC argues that a successful cloud EHR migration depends on security and network connectivity.

 

“Whether you are ensuring insurance coverage for the public, developing the next generation of cancer drugs, or providing critical care/tier I trauma services, the new emphasis is being put on providing network availability, performance and security,” CSCC writes. “Although creating a highly available network might be expensive, those costs can be offset by the capabilities provided to the organization.”

 

The vast majority of healthcare providers today have moved or are moving applications, infrastructure, or development platforms to the cloud because they recognize the performance benefits and cost savings. For a cloud migration to pay off, providers must develop a realistic migration strategy and goals, choose the appropriate cloud computing and services models, find one or more CSPs whose services, support, and pricing match their needs and ensure that their networks have the bandwidth capacity to handle cloud-based workloads.

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5 advantages of cloud computing and how they can benefit your practice

5 advantages of cloud computing and how they can benefit your practice | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While the specialty may vary, practices of all sizes across Australia are turning to the cloud to run their business. With the launch of Clinic to Cloud (C2C) in early 2015, over 1200+ healthcare professionals, operating from hundreds of different practices are now computing with our cloud-based platform. With new clinicians joining C2C daily, benefits of the cloud services are now being widely recognized and accepted as the norm.

 

So if you’re looking to open a new practice for the first time or hoping to migrate your existing practice to the cloud, let’s look at 5 advantages of cloud computing and how your practice can benefit:

 1. Staying in touch

Cloud computing is storing and securely interacting with data over the internet, rather than your computer or local server. That puts connectivity and real-time data as the clearest advantage of working on the cloud. Yes, someone changed the WIFI password without telling you or the careless construction worker nearby didn’t check before drilling. However, one can argue that servers fail and files get lost. The internet is truly an essential resource, which is why it has become so readily accessible and available from multiple sources, smartphone, portable WIFI device, personal connection, net hubs at cafes, offices and even some commercial planes will essentially keep you connected.

 

What does this mean for the clinician? Not only that your data is stored in state of the art datacentres, as long as you are connected, but you can also run your practice.  Control you practice on-site, from home, hospital, on break at your favorite café or even on the flight to your next medical conference from a desktop or mobile device. Full connectivity anytime, anywhere – this is the cloud.

 

  1. Tools of the Trade

Smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks are essential tools for any busy working professional. With top cloud services offering dedicated mobile apps, working on the go also means working with your indispensable devices. Like the stethoscope to the physician or the scalpel to the surgeon – The Clinic to Cloud App gives you the tools to stay conveniently connected with your practice whilst on the go. For time-poor clinicians, buying time during your super busy schedule comes from having your entire practice visible from your smartphone.

 

  1. That new software smell

Top cloud providers are regularly updating and improving their software. The moment updates are released, they are made available for the benefit of all customers. You would have noticed those design changes and new features on your social media account without you manually needing to install or upgrade anything. Simply log in and updates are there. Clinic to Cloud follows suit, we typically update every 3 to 4 weeks to better user outcomes and reduce practice costs. On release date, all our subscribers then benefit with the best part being at no extra cost. For the clinician - you are not wasting time having to update your practice software or pay for often expensive IT support to run updates. It’s cloud and it’s simple.

 

  1. Soft on the Wallet

Moving to the cloud can save you large capital expenditure, as you do not have to purchase expensive servers and other I.T hardware to host your data or run your software. Accessing your cloud application, in many cases, simply requires an internet capable device (smartphone, tablet, or computer) and an internet connection. Not to mention, local servers also have expensive on-going maintenance and repair costs and backup requirements as well. Clinic to Cloud does not require complex IT infrastructure and server equipment with messy cabling disrupting the feng shui of your practice. A modern desktop or laptop computer and you are on your way to the clouds.

 

  1. Security and Data

One of the concerns with Cloud is typically security and many are concerned about the safety of Cloud hosted software applications. Although we understand the feelings behind the concern, studies have shown that the cloud is safer than on-premise servers that are susceptible to virus and hardware failure and data loss daily. Cloud solutions can be compared to Airline travel; they remain the safest way to do business.  At Clinic to Cloud, we have taken additional security measures such as to Factor Authentication and high levels of encryption.

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Keep Your Appointments Afloat! 

Keep Your Appointments Afloat!  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Summer can be a busy time for sailing and boating businesses as people flock to the beach, bays, rivers and lakes for a fun day on the water. Online scheduling software from Appointment-Plus can be the perfect partner for operators looking to spend less time booking reservations and more time on the water with their customers.

 

Used by businesses coast to coast for scheduling sailing lessons and booking boat rental reservations, Appointment-Plus helps these operations automate and streamline their appointment-setting procedures with such functionality as online self-scheduling, which allows customers to view availability and book their lessons and reservations online, 24 hours a day; automated e-mail and text message reminders, which inform customers of their upcoming appointments and reservations; accurate recordkeeping and report-generating features; and e-marketing capabilities for sending current and past customers information on specials, discounts and other news.

 

“Sailing and boating businesses provide fantastic recreational opportunities for individuals and families throughout the nation,” says Jeff Fleming, marketing director at Appointment-Plus. “Our software helps automate and streamline the entire appointment- and reservation-scheduling process, allowing them to spend more time focused on their operations and their customers.”

 

A Software as a Service (SaaS) application, Appointment-Plus is Web-based and accessible from any Internet connection. This gives operators the ability to access their scheduling calendar from outside of their home or office. Additionally, Appointment-Plus does not require a Web site, expensive hardware or time-consuming installations to use. Pricing starts at $39 per month with no long-term contracts and free set-up assistance with a dedicated coach.

 

Businesses that utilize the online self-scheduling feature can expect a significant drop in the number of phone calls from customers looking to book appointments and check availability. This functionality is especially beneficial if the operator does not have an office or receptionist and routinely takes phone calls at the dock or on the water while giving lessons.

 

“Just think of the convenience of allowing your customers to schedule their lessons or reserve their watercraft at any hour of the day and at their own convenience,” Fleming adds. “Plus, you’ll spend less time answering the phone call and returning messages.”

 

Appointment-Plus supplies almost 4,000 clients throughout the United States, Canada and 10 other countries the tools they need to schedule customer and patient appointment times, book rooms, accept registrations and many other services. Geared primarily toward small businesses such as doctors’ offices, spas, health clubs and massage therapists, users of the service also include Fortune 500 companies; colleges and universities; healthcare agencies and facilities; federal and local government; and freight and delivery companies.

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Making your clinic & staff more efficient

Making your clinic & staff more efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Data collection on staff activity allows managers and leaders to determine how their team is spending their time and which activities take up the most of their working day. This post will help make your clinic and staff more efficient.

 

Data collection tools give you a clear picture of how your staff spends their time at work and how they can become more productive.

 

This is important in health businesses, as you are able to determine where your front desk and administration staff are spending their time.

 

I will use one of our clients as an example, they have two clinics and the managers found that there was always a workload on the weekend staff for scanning and administration. The staff that worked during the week were never able to complete the scanning, filing and other administrative tasks during their working day, resulting in a backlog of weekend staff.

 

By using the activity tracking software, they found out that the weekday staff was spending all of their time on the clinical software booking appointments and taking calls. This confirmed that the workload during the week was too much for the staff and allowed the client to justify hiring a new front desk staff member to complete the scanning and filing during the week.

 

You can use the data to:

  • Challenge your staff to spend an hour less a day on emails and use this hour to work on a project
  • Determine the average time staff spend on social media whilst they are in the office and raise alarms if, for example, a staff member has spent more than two hours on Facebook
  • Set yourself some goals, for example, spend less time on administration and more time using the clinical software.

 

A product that we use and is RescueTime. It is installed on all the devices in the workplace and it gives both staff and management a report of their efficiency, productivity, and areas of concern.

 

We use this software to determine processes in our workflow that need to improve and find out how productive we are compared to other staff members.

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Tablet Computers For Healthcare Professionals

Tablet Computers For Healthcare Professionals | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Considering where I work and what I do, my clinical colleagues often ask me for advice when they are shopping for a new computer. Most doctors and nurses are going to be happiest with some kind of mobile solution.

 

After all, doctors, nurses and other clinicians are always on the move. A desktop just doesn’t cut it for most of us who work in healthcare.

 

Tablet computers and convertible devices that can function as tablets, laptops and (when docked) even desktops, are becoming increasingly popular in clinical settings.

 

But all such devices aren’t created equal, especially when you consider the privacy, security and connectivity needs of enterprise healthcare environments. That’s something that has become all too clear for clinicians who in recent years have purchased one of the most popular consumer tablet devices on the market and brought it into work, only to find that it just didn’t deliver what’s needed in that setting.

 

Fortunately, there are now many good choices in tablet devices that will measure up when used in clinical settings. They are available from a  wide variety of manufacturers and come in screen sizes and at price points that are a good match for clinical use.

 

For starters, we’ve come up with some key criteria to help define what we believe works best in healthcare and what you should consider before buying a new device. These are also considerations that IT professionals must consider when purchasing devices to deploy in clinical settings. I like to call this “clinical grade”. 

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Every internet-connected device is a potential privacy risk

Every internet-connected device is a potential privacy risk | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Samsung has caused controversy with the revelation its voice-recognition system enables internet TVs to collect sounds and send them to a third party, including any sensitive information you might happen to talk about in front of the box.

While this warning is alarming for the privacy-conscious, it's a microcosm of a much larger threat that many in the consumer security business have been warning against  and which you can expect to hear more often.

Devices that require personal input and the collection of personal data to function — be it via voice, camera, location or otherwise — have been a part of our lives for years, and are only increasing.

Here is a list of some of the household and personal items snooping on you:

Smartphones

A small box that can collect location data, detect motion, store audio and video plus keeps track of your online activities, your phone provides a way for most of your apps and services to "listen in" on you in one way or another, not to mention a microphone which researchers have manipulated to spy .


You can easily control when a Samsung Smart will and will not collect voice data, the company says.

Apple's Siri, for example, functions almost identically to Samsung's voice recognition.

These services rely on a dedicated voice-recognition service somewhere in the cloud to take your complex requests and queries, translate them into understandable text, and send them back to your phone or TV.

While they may not be actively listening 24 hours a day, at the very least they are monitoring the microphone's feed in expectation of a command.

Video game consoles

Microsoft's Xbox One and its attached Kinect sensor works the same way, but adds video to the mix as well. Kinect keeps track of the people in a room so it can detect who's present and load their preferences accordingly, or zoom and pan the camera to make sure everybody is in frame during a Skype call.

Microsoft faced backlash in 2013 for its zealous attitude toward collecting data from Kinect (which eventually forced it to dial back its plans) and, coincidentally in the same year, LG landed in some strife for a voice-activated TV that was found to send voice recordings online.


The Smarter Wi-Fi Coffee Machine. It knows when you wake up or when you're likely to get home so it can greet you with sweet caffeine. Photo: Smarter

Coffee machines and airconditioners

A device that "listens" before using the internet to provide us with a service is not a new idea. The trigger for controversy, it seems, is the revelation that a device could do that without us explicitly telling it to. Yet this is the cornerstone of many devices and services we use every day (including web browsers, social media, smart public transport cards, Google Now etc) and will continue to be so as we move towards the all-connected "internet of things". 

A connected coffee-maker, for example, collates data about when you're home so it knows when to make coffee. Ditto for connected airconditioners. Both devices are soon to be (or already are) on the market, and necessarily "listen in" on your life and activities, collecting data on you so they can do their job. LG already has an voice-command airconditioner that literally "listens in", cooling the room if you yell out that it's too hot.


Your phone provides data on your movements, purchases, preferences, searches, and communications to countless apps and services. Photo: Reuters

Is this form of data collection really so scary considering the reams of information we already gladly hand over to the companies that provide our email, maps or ride-share services? Are we really concerned about Samsung's microphones in our house and fine with the microphone, GPS and camera we take around in our pocket literally every day?

A common piece of advice when it comes to the internet is "if you don't want the whole world to hear about it, don't say it online". Increasingly, we not only have to apply this test to emails and facebook messages but to the data we allow our appliances and devices to collect as well. If it's connected to the internet, assume this data is being transmitted online.

Some privacy-minded folks advocate active avoidance, keeping the use of these devices to a minimum, disabling settings or placing a piece of sticky tape over your device's data-collecting apparatus.

Others take pride in their old-school Nokia phones, dumb TVs and ability to "stay off the grid".

But most of us give up information about ourselves constantly because it gives us access to incredible conveniences and technology, and we can't have our cake and eat it too.

Yes, companies like Samsung and Apple and Microsoft must be transparent about what they do with our data, and to whom they give it. But if the last year or so of data breaches, wide-scale hacks and government snooping has taught us anything, it's that no data stored or transmitted online is safe from prying eyes.

In the end we have no absolute control over where our data goes.

The best we can do is be informed about what data our devices are collecting, and if you really don't want something transmitted online, take Samsung's advice and don't say it where an internet-connected TV can hear you.



Via Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry, Gust MEES, Oksana Borukh, Paulo Félix
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