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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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.

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

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

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Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security

Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While we are aware of the importance of the integrity and security of clinical data, recent onsite surveys conducted by REND Tech showed that more than half of the health businesses in Sydney did not implement strong security policies to protect clinical data.

There are a number of steps that will help you increase the security policies around your clinical data. Below are our top five tips:

 

  • To stop unauthorized internal data access, the server must be protected by an administrator password known only to the management team.
  • To ensure that no viruses or malware products are downloaded on your workstations, all computers must be protected with a business grade antivirus product (not the free version of AVG). We recommend NOD32.
  • Management and IT staff should be the only people allowed to access the server. This includes providing server access to pathology companies, Medicare Local staff and so on. If access is required you need to authorize it first and then notify your IT team.
  • To avoid network hacking, change your router password from the generic password to an administrator password. – If you have a Windows XP machine then you need to consider changing it. Recent studies showed that they are six times more likely to be hacked.
  • Never install software on your business computers that have not been approved and authorized by your IT team. Work computers must host clinical and business applications only.
  • If you access your clinical data remotely then you need to ensure that the remote access application you use is secure and password protected. Never share those details with anyone, including your colleagues.

 

By following the processes above, you should be confident in the security of your clinical data. It is highly recommended that you arrange for a security audit every six months to ensure that all the relevant security policies are in place. Take the opportunity to rate your level of data security.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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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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Avoid Clinical Data Loss

Avoid Clinical Data Loss | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Have you checked your clinical data backups in the last four weeks? Do you have a signed document from your IT vendor agreeing to your patient confidentiality policy? Finally, as a business owner or manager, do you know what security policies and technologies are in place to protect your patients’ data?

 

If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, then you’re not alone and unfortunately, your business might be at risk.

 

43 percent of the health businesses audited by REND Tech Associates in 2013 believed they implemented adequate security measures in their businesses. However, our audit results told a different story.

 

One of the costliest technology risks to a healthy business is the failure to recover current patient data easily and promptly. The inability to do so can have severe medico-legal implications for health businesses and their patients. Such risk is always linked to the backup policy that businesses chose to implement.

 

To minimize the risk of not being able to recover your patients’ data when you need it most, I suggest contracting an eHealth engineer to design and tailor a backup plan unique to your business and available technology.

 

The second major source of data loss risk is the unauthorized access to clinical patient data by IT vendors. Whilst we can agree that not all IT vendors actively choose to access clinical patient data, there have been cases reported where practices and health businesses have faced legal actions due to their inability to provide signed confidentiality agreements from their IT vendors and staff.

 

If you don’t have a signed document from your eHealth engineer stating that they meet your patient data access policy then you need to obtain one now.

 

If you’d like a confidentiality agreement template then please feel free to call us and we’ll be able to send you a generic template.

 

The third security risk to health businesses is the unauthorized access of patient data, which we all commonly know as hacking. However, most health business owners or managers aren’t aware that half the hacking cases reported aren’t external hacks but internal ones.

 

An internal hack is when an unauthorized staff member or stakeholder within the business is able to access clinical or business data that they are not supposed to.

 

To remove the internal hack risk from your business you can implement a few simple steps. The first step is to ask the clinical staff not to share their passwords with other staff members. The second tip is to ensure that no one except the business owner, manager and IT vendor can access the server. The third tip is to audit your business IT platform every 12 months. It is important to have an external eHealth engineer audit your current IT platform and check the level of service that your IT provider is delivering.

 

Ongoing regular audits ensure that your business is protected from downtime due to technology failure, medico-legal complications due to unauthorized data access and most importantly, ensuring that you can always use your backups when needed.

 

If you enjoyed this article and would like more useful tips, then I’d encourage you to visit our website for more useful articles, tips, and recommendations.

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

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

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Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient

Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Business process engineering or business workflow optimization are terms used to describe how an organization and its staff are able to achieve more by changing or improving the way they do things.

 

By ’achieving more‘ we mean either getting the same results from a previous process but by doing less or delivering better results by doing things in a new way.

 

Ultimately business process engineering makes the clinic more efficient AND more productive. We surveyed some of our existing customers (specifically for this blog) to find out areas that they had improved on in their business. The key areas were:

  • Reducing administration work
  • Simplifying the patient journey
  • Reducing staff error
  • Reducing the workload on management and the team in general
  • Promoting a better culture at work by making it less stressful

 

Now for the fun part, below are the top five workflow changes our clients implemented (by using technology) that made them and their staff more productive:

 

Systemise the business via an online portal: We touched on this last week and it’s no surprise that systemizing the business in a way that makes it easy for the staff to follow the processes helps both business efficiency and staff productivity. Our clients (specifically those in the management layer) have found more time to focus on more important tasks by directing the staff to visit the online portals for answers they may require in terms of completing a business task. Systemising all business processes and delivering them in an interactive method will certainly reduce the number of times you will hear “How do I do this?” and the number of times you will think “Why can’t they just do it?”.

 

Technology on the go (Cloud Computing): Are you one of those doctors/practice managers who travel or work from different locations? You see your patient, write your notes then drive (or fly) back to the office to enter the notes into your clinical system? Cloud computing allows doctors to access their clinical software from anywhere. This simply permits you to enter the patient data while you are still with the patient which in turn, cuts down your administration work dramatically.

 

Social media at work: Sure, some managers will say “No Way” to have a chat program at work but the reality is that all high-efficiency organizations are implementing work-specific chat programs to allow their staff to communicate quicker. Whilst Skype is an option, there are many other programs that permit staff to chat and share information with each other easily.

 

Let the website reduce inbound inquiries: This isn’t something new or revolutionary but we still work with businesses on changing their website from a business card to a new staff member. Here’s the tip, write a list of the 10 most common inbound inquiries your staff receive and then put the answers to those inquiries on the contact us page on your website. You’ll notice that the inbound calls you receive are now more relevant and direct. If you could use short videos to answer those questions then you have just saved yourself and your staff a lot of time, freeing them up to complete more important work.

 

Online timesheets: You’re probably thinking, huh? What do you mean by online timesheets? Well, those who work on a contract basis are generally required to submit a timesheet. It’s generally printing out a spreadsheet, filling in the hours, signing the form and popping it into the manager's pigeonhole. We believe it’s easier to complete the time sheet and submit it online. It saves the payroll staff and management a lot of time and processing work. General practice clinics (same as all health businesses) have adopted this technology to reduce user error, payroll issues and most importantly, reduce the time it takes to remind staff to complete their timesheets.

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

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

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How to Prepare Your IT Department for Telemedicine 

How to Prepare Your IT Department for Telemedicine  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

You've read all about the benefits telemedicine can offer not just to your patients, but also to your practitioners and your clinic as a whole. You've done your research and have decided to take the leap, bringing telemedicine technology and services into your clinic - congratulations!

 

While this is an exciting time for you and your clinicians, it's important that you work closely with the other side of your telemedicine operations - your IT department - to ensure as smooth a transition and adoption process as possible. Here are a few things to make sure you cover with your IT department before you go live with your telemedicine solutions.

Get your infrastructure ready

One of the great things about modern telemedicine technology is the flexibility it allows - aside from the software and hardware, all a clinic needs is an Internet connection. Well, almost. It's essential to ensure that your Internet speed is capable of handling the rigors that may be placed on it by telemedicine technology such as videoconferencing. According to the American Telemedicine Association, any operation that offers one- or two-way videoconferencing should have a broadband connection capable of supporting speeds of 500 kbps both downlink and uplink. With many modern telemedicine encounter management software products used today, the amount of bandwidth taken can be adjusted or allocated between video and data sources accordingly.

The ATA recommends using the most reliable means available of connecting to the Internet. So for many applications such as a clinic, this means your IT department should hardwire your telemedicine equipment directly to your modem rather than relying on a WiFi connection and a router. Satellite and WiFi connection are used frequently for telemedicine applications, but users can experience noticeable differences in the communication speed, image quality and intermittence of signals.

Have a hardware plan in advance

Do you know if your telemedicine equipment will be arriving preassembled, or will you need to construct it upon receiving it? If the latter, are you and your IT department comfortable with doing so reliably and safely?

It seems like a minor point, but if you're a first-time adopter of telemedicine, try and find equipment solutions that are fairly low-maintenance in terms of requirements on your end. This means either shopping for equipment that is available out of the box as a telemedicine system, or trying to find an end-to-end solution provider that can take care of all your requirements. Trying to source multiple pieces of equipment from multiple vendors can make getting support or maintenance a nightmare. Try and find a "one-stop shop" to make the process as simple as possible.

Interoperability with existing software or hardware

Interoperability is a term used widely these days, and everyone claims it. The truth is, it would be impossible to deliver interoperability that would satisfy everyone's needs, but the best case scenario at this point in time is to use telemedicine products and technologies that can be easily integrated with your existing workflow and follow standards-based guidelines for transferring or transmitting data - such as HL7 integration.

Don't forget privacy

One of the sticking points that telemedicine has faced in recent years is that of privacy in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It's a requirement that any Internet connections used to discuss sensitive patient information should have encryption using secure socket layer (SSL) and system-user identifiers such as logins and passwords.

Similarly, any cloud-based servers used to store patient data should be encrypted as well to prevent cybersecurity risks.

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

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

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