IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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How the Cloud Benefits your Healthcare Workforce

How the Cloud Benefits your Healthcare Workforce | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Most Australians are familiar with the benefits of the cloud and whether you realise it or not, the majority of us are already using cloud services of some description, be it Gmail, Dropbox or Office 365. While healthcare is an industry that is commonly known for resisting change, entrepreneurial products and services, first adopters and government legislation for healthcare information and data privacy are driving a change from paper-based to digital record keeping. This, in turn, is allowing a further transition from reliance on on-premise resources to a more collaborative environment in the cloud.

 

At this point, we are aware of the elevator pitch on cloud adoption, where cost reduction, pay-as-you-go subscription models, scalability, flexibility and automated backups are just some of the benefits involved. While all of these are certainly true, healthcare professionals care about the tangible benefits of their practice or clinic. Will this benefit my business? If so, how? Will my staff require training? What processes are open to improvement? Will it increase the bottom line at year end?

 

There are no one-size fits all solution to these questions as each business will operate differently from the next. Cloud service providers that specialise in healthcare will be very familiar with the problems facing healthcare professionals, whether they are in the process of scanning paper-based records to digital, have completed this process and are wondering how to improve efficiency, or are looking to utilise the cloud to roll out additional patient services. Whatever stage you are at it is worth discussing your options with an experienced professional that can offer advice that suits your business.

 

Assuming you are interested in futureproofing your business using the latest technology, the cloud offers specific advantages that make your business easier to manage. These include but are not limited to:

Data Availability

When medical files and data is hosted securely on the cloud it means that any member of your healthcare workforce can use and access centralised data, which reduces administration costs and increases the speed of clinical service delivery. It is worth mentioning that when data is on the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere by those with the correct user permissions. All that is needed is internet access and a web browser. In other words, even when not on-site, authenticated users can view, add or update existing information as if they were sitting at their office desks.

 

Data availability at all times is key and avoids unnecessary delays when collaborating with fellow colleagues, specialists or patients. Alternatively, you could use fax or perhaps a courier?

Mobility

Data availability is key to successful mobile deployment and both are needed to allow the creation of on-the-move mobile clinics, which are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, given that many patients are located hours from their nearest healthcare provider. The use of mobile clinics allows healthcare professionals to go on tour, much like a rock band but without the noise, and provide first-rate care to their patients as all the information they need is available on the cloud. Add the necessary medical equipment and clinical staff and it is no different from the level of care offered in a brick and mortar practice. It is also cheaper than leasing multiple business premises to cater for a small population in each location. Mobility, in this case, is more than just smartphone or tablet access but the facility to create a mobile version of your clinic headquarters.

Workforce Management

Administration and practice management take up a substantial amount of each working day. Or, at least it used to. Nowadays, many clinics use practice management software for administration tasks and clinical software to handle patient medical records, including x-rays and any other pertinent data. When these are in the cloud, everything can be accessed remotely when necessary, saving time and improving efficiency. A specialist can update records or view appointments during a commute to work or during lunch. No training is required as the practice and clinical software behaves in exactly the same way as in would in the office.

 

When everything is available online, the clinic will find it much easier to outsource talent when needed. From answering calls (think call centre) during busy periods to hiring IT talent or additional administration staff, your business presence on the cloud allows more flexibility than is possible using a single on-premise IT infrastructure. You can select the most qualified applicant from any location if you open to remote working and many Australian companies are. IT professionals, for example, can maintain your on-premise IT structure and also the cloud by performing updates, security checks and backups. They can do all this remotely, saving your company the expense of an on-site and salaried IT support staff. The same is true of administration. If qualified, is it really necessary to travel to your premises when the same work can be performed remotely?

Setup

All of the above sounds great, right? It is only a fraction of the potential benefits available as telehealth, remote consults, video conferencing and more have not been discussed. Suffice to say, any clinic can make the necessary changes and promote themselves as innovative and forward-thinking. Unfortunately, not all make the transition successfully, as they sometimes rely on poor advice or retain IT service providers that lack experience in the cloud or healthcare or even both. Service providers that lack the skills are unlikely to recommend solutions they are unfamiliar with. When your business is at stake in a competitive marketplace, it is not a time to retain ‘the local IT guy’.

 

Therefore, before making any decisions, contact a service provider that focuses on healthcare clients, can support on-premise and cloud solutions with their own team and can offer advice that suits your business alone and not all businesses.

 

Before calling, think about your existing processes, how you would like to improve them and outline any concerns or objectives you may have. These can include compliance, security, cost or worries about integrating existing hardware and software into a cloud environment. An ethical provider will conduct an on-site audit to identify the best approach for your business and outline a range of options for selection.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Why Mobile Cloud Will Become the Great Disruptor

Why Mobile Cloud Will Become the Great Disruptor | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

One by one, more industries are being disrupted by the strategic use of mobile and cloud technology plays, as savvy new competitors seek ways to shift consumer preference to favor their online digital offering.

The emerging Mobile Cloud phenomena will eventually disrupt the enterprise IT arena. Meanwhile, it will certainly continue to change the dynamics of the video entertainment sector.

According to latest worldwide market study by The NPD Group, mobile gamers -- those who play on a smartphone, iPod touch, or tablet -- are playing more often, and for longer periods of time, than they were two years ago.

The study uncovered that the average time spent playing in a typical day has increased 57 percent to over two hours per day in 2014 versus one hour and 20 minutes in 2012.

The growth of the media tablet market has seen these devices become central to the mobile gaming story. New and improved devices enable the transformation of creative online gaming experiences.

Not only are they the devices that are being played on the most, but tablet gamers are also more likely to pay for games and to spend more money on average than gamers on other mobile platforms.

"Continued mobile growth will stem from existing customers paying more to play, especially in the free-to-play portion of the market," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst at www.npd.com/">https://www.npd.com/" target="_blank">NPD Group.

The average number of playing sessions are at their highest from ages 6 to 44. However, the average number of minutes per session peaks in the tween years, then falls through the teenage and early adult years.

As an example, children ages 2 to12 are spending the greatest proportion of their device time on gaming versus other activities. This age group is also playing more games (average of 5 games), as well as more games that were paid for (average of 3 games).

The average amount of money spent by this age group over the past 30 days on new games, and in-game purchases is also one of the highest, second only to mobile gamers in the 25 to 44 age group.

The majority of mobile gamers are also playing video games on other platforms or devices, with only one-in-five players being mobile-only gamers. That said, regardless of the number of devices used to play games, mobile devices have the greatest amount of play time.


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Cloud Backup Solutions - A Primer for Healthcare Organisations 

Cloud Backup Solutions - A Primer for Healthcare Organisations  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Some businesses rely on onsite backups, whether in the form of external hard drives or perhaps tape or storage media such as DVDs or DVD-RAM, all of which are subject to failure. Hard drives typically have a lifespan of three to five years and even high-grade disc-based media is easily damaged by careless handling or incorrect storage (near a magnetic source, for example).

Legislation and E-health Driving Change

With the introduction of electronic medical records and legislation on data privacy, businesses are legally obligated to secure their client's billing, medical and personally identifiable information (PII). Many companies have a disaster recovery plan that includes an offsite data backup solution. For convenience, this primarily takes place in the cloud, as the process of storing onsite backups in a fireproof safe or manually transporting backups to another location is widely considered obsolete.

Business Continuity?

Whether your business network is on-premise only, already in the cloud or a mix of the two (typically known as hybrid IT), business continuity is the aim and most organisations seek to include a solution that allows staff to continue working, even if the power or broadband service is down. When your business processes are in the cloud, restoring from backups is easy and business continuity is assured. Likely, your clients will not even know that there is a problem with your on-premise network as normal service is uninterrupted. Cloud service providers have several redundancy options in place so cloud services are rarely impacted by hardware failure.

Moving to the Cloud

If your business does not have an automated backup solution in place, it is certainly worth considering, as onsite hardware failure can jeopardise your business’s reputation, even if just a few hour’s data is lost. When a hard drive fails, specialist recovery is possible but is expensive and requires specialist knowledge and equipment. When data protection is the aim, an automated and real-time backup offsite is the only failsafe solution and use of the cloud ensures local disasters (whether hardware, fire or water damage, or extreme weather conditions) have no impact on your business data.

Cloud Provider Selection

All cloud providers are not created equal and like any other industry, service quality varies as does administration access. Ideally, your cloud service provider understands healthcare processes and the importance of immediate access to data in a clinical environment. Professionals in this area will offer a customised solution to fulfil all your backup and restoration requirements. This solution should include but is not limited to:

Onsite analysis of your existing broadband solution—Your broadband may well be adequate for general business use but when backup schedules are involved (even if daily backups are scheduled outside business hours, you cannot afford to miss a backup due to a broadband outage. Possible service provider recommendations could include an additional broadband connection, dedicated line or provision of a router that offers a 4G SIM redundancy option.

 

Backup method and process­—The way you backup can determine the success of the solution. The speed of the process is determined by the speed of the broadband connection.

Data Storage—Data must be stored in a location that complies with state laws. For example, selecting a provider with U.S. servers is not compliant.

Remote access—Can the backup be performed remotely if needed? Can the resulting backup be accessed and verified remotely?

Auditing—Once a backup is performed, it needs to be verified as good. Many companies have found that unchecked backups are corrupt, failing when they need them the most.

Exit Clauses—Every customer has a right to change service providers if they wish. Verify that your potential providers offer the facility to migrate your data to a new provider easily and that it is very clear who own the data involved.

 

Disaster Recovery Plan

Auditing and indeed backups themselves are a key part of any disaster recovery plan. To ensure business continuity and comply with governing regulations and industry standards, healthcare organisations are responsible for the storage, backup and security of their data.

Fortunately, cloud service providers are held to a higher standard than typical businesses and their infrastructure must incorporate redundancy options, security and backup processes that are very costly for smaller companies to implement.

In conclusion, from a cost perspective, it makes sense for healthcare organisations to use the cloud for backup, storage and security. In doing so, business owners can relax, secure in the knowledge that real-time automated backups of all data are carried out in a secure manner. All that is really needed to ensure business continuity in a cloud environment is remote access using an internet-enabled device. AND ensuring the internet is present is easily achieved by adding an on-premise router to the network, with redundant connections to a 4G mobile network. If you haven’t already, can your business afford not to automate data backups in the cloud?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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What Is "the Cloud" — and Where Is It?

What Is "the Cloud" — and Where Is It? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it
There's at least one funny joke in Sex Tape. While frantically trying to cut off access to the amateur porn vid he accidentally uploaded to iCloud, Jason Segel tries to explain why deleting the file won't work. "Nobody understands the cloud," he says. "It's a fucking mystery!" He's kind of right.

"Cloud" is a buzzword that vaguely suggests the promise and convenience of being able to access files from anywhere. But the reality is that the cloud is hardly floating like mist above our heads — it's a physical infrastructure, its many computers housed in massive warehouses all over the world. And yet as long as it's easy read email on our phones and watch movies on our laptops, we generally don't take the time to wonder where our data actually goes, how it gets there, and what happens to on its way.

What is actually happening when you punt your files, photos, and videos up to servers owned by Apple, Google, and Amazon? Let's peek behind the cloud, and face reality.
Origins of Cloud Computing

While the term "cloud computing" has only entered the public's lexicon in the past 10 years or so, the idea's been around for decades. Cloud computing basically refers to a process of sharing resources to optimize performance. Practically speaking, that means using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single machine.

The early days of computing actually leaned heavily on a pretty similar concept. Back in the 1950s, when computer mainframes were the size of a room, users would log on to a dumb terminal to take advantage of the machine's processing power. (They're called dumb terminals because they can't really do much of anything without the mainframe.) This time-sharing model is pretty analogous to the way cloud computing works on the internet today. But instead of one massive mainframe in the middle of a room, we rely on a global infrastructure of servers and data centers to do the heavy lifting.

By the time the 90s rolled around, it was pretty clear to the cyber-prophets of days gone by that the future would enable the whole world to share resources. Engineers started using a drawing of a cloud to refer to this network in patent drawings in the mid-90s. Compaq engineers coined the term "cloud computing" in late 1996, and less than a year later, Steve Jobs described a proto-iCloud at WWDC:

It was pretty revolutionary at the time. You store your files one place and you can access them from any device. Fast forward to the iPhone era, and it's easy to forget the dark ages, when you actually had to burn CDs and tote around external hard drives. Now you start watching a movie on your laptop, switch to your tablet, and finish it on your phone without missing a scene.

Let's back up for a second, though. The idea of cloud computing is almost metaphysical. In more practical terms, however, the applications of cloud computing tend to revolve around one key feature: storage.
Life Without a Hard Drive

A wonderful thing happened about a decade ago. Thanks to a confluence of factors, lots of computers started getting persistent, high speed internet connections. Not long thereafter, mobile devices started getting the same thing. So if devices are always online, and data transfer speeds aren't abysmal, why not just store all the software and storage online?

That's essentially where we're headed with the 21st century notion of cloud computing. Cloud computing means that your laptop works less like a standalone computer and more like a dumb terminal. Ever used a Chromebook?

From a technical point of view, leaning on the larger network of computers in the cloud makes great sense. Suddenly, you don't need to worry as much about hardware specifications, like RAM or hard drive space, because the network can do the heavy lifting.

Distributing the load across lots of powerful servers means web-based applications can run more dependably and efficiently. These servers are constantly updating, and those web apps more or less always work. If one server crashes, there are others to pick up the slack. Your IT department at work probably loves this idea.

Those are the broad strokes of cloud computing. What people sometimes blindly refer to as "the cloud" is something a little bit different.
The Truth About "the Cloud"

Cloud computing is wildly popular at the enterprise level, where IT managers are focused on maintaining stable systems that are used by hundreds or thousands of employees. Most consumers encounter the cloud on an individual basis, however, with cloud storage. Where's that sex tape? It's in the cloud. But wait, what's the cloud? It is not a giant hard drive in the sky.

When you store something "in the cloud," you're actually storing it in a very physical space. That file slides across the wire and then lives on a physical server—usually more than one—in some far flung place. And depending on which cloud storage service you use, that file is now in the possession of a giant corporation to whom you probably pay a monthly fee. Anybody who's ever used Dropbox knows that this makes it incredibly convenient to access files or to share files from any computer with an internet connection.

In the past, you just bought a computer with a hard drive inside and stored your files there. Now, you pay a company like Apple or Google to store the file remotely and provide you with access when you ask for it.

If your data lives "in the cloud," it actually lives on a company's server, and you more or less pay a membership fee to work in that company's sandbox. Depending on that company's terms of service, you may or may not actually own or control that data once it lives in cloud storage. This raises a few glaring concerns in terms of security and privacy.
Storms Ahead

The Sex Tape example is a terrific analogy for how helpless you can be once you've uploaded something to the cloud—terrible movie, terrific analogy. Once your data's in the cloud, you've lost some basic control over it. If you upload a file to a cloud storage service like iCloud, Google Drive, or Amazon CloudDrive, you're actually making copies of that file. The file likely lives on several servers in case Godzilla attacks one of the data center or something, so if you want to delete that file, you're trusting the company to delete all of the copies.

As we've seen in the past, this doesn't always happen like it's supposed to. So you're not really in control of your data if you're not in possession of it. You're just not.

Let's say the police want to have a look. Depending on its particular privacy policies, the company you picked for your cloud storage can actually hand over your data whenever the authorities ask them. Sometimes, the cops don't even need a warrant. Companies like Google publish transparency reports on a regular basis that show how many hundreds of times this happens every year.

So just keep that in mind next time you're uploading something to Google Drive instead of storing it locally. The cops would need a warrant to break down your door and go searching through your personal hard drive. The process of getting information from Google is somewhat more streamlined.

Once you're at the stage where you're uploading files to Apple's servers, you've already agreed to the company's terms of service. (By the way, those terms of service probably failed to clarify who actually owns the data in the cloud.) The shitty part about this concern is that you can't do much about it, except trust the company storing your data and hope nothing bad happens.

Granted, tracking down deleted files and worrying about warrantless police searches don't necessarily affect the average person on a daily basis. However, the concern that a hacker could get ahold of sensitive information should be. Look no further than the catastrophic iCloud hack to understand how this is a very real concern.

What you can do is encrypt data before you upload it to the cloud. Here's how.
What's Next

The cloud is convenient. That fantasy that Steve Jobs described in 1997 is now a reality for a lot of people, and that's awesome. The cloud so awesome that the world's biggest technology companies are scrambling to find out how to make the most money they can off of it.

For now, the monthly fees you pay for cloud storage are comparable to what you'd pay for an external hard drive back in the day. The advantage is that you can access the data from anywhere and never have to worry about the data disappearing—probably. The disadvantage is that you don't have as much control over the data and never really know what's being done with it, and could be hard-pressed to make it disappear if you want it to go away.

Google was already talking about how to put advertising on the cloud nearly a decade ago. The dystopian future in which you'd have to watch pre-roll ads just to update your resume is not as dystopian as you might think.

Cloud storage is just one aspect of cloud computing, though. While the promise of this very 21st century technology is exciting, the reality of living in a world where we all carry around dumb terminals and depend on a for-profit entity to manage our data is sobering. This doesn't mean you should use iCloud or Google Drive or Dropbox or OneDrive or CloudDrive. It just means you should know what you're really doing when you're using them.

The cloud isn't magic. It's a business.
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