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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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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