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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Online Healthcare Can Reduce Your Printing Costs

Online Healthcare Can Reduce Your Printing Costs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Arguably one of the biggest expenses in a healthcare business is contributed to the toner and paper costs.

Although a lot of clinics are now moving to a “paperless” practice, printing is still a requirement for prescriptions, reports and referrals.

 

On average, a medical centre prints 900 pages per month per provider and close to 1600 pages per month per reception desk.

The average printing costs per page are around the $0.04 per page which is roughly $432 per year per provider. This does not consider the costs of the drums, repairs, paper and ongoing troubleshooting.

 

Working with our printing partners we have come up with a few effective steps which will reduce your printing costs and increase the lifecycle of your printers.

 

Standardise The Printers

The most effective way to reduce your printing costs is to ensure that all the printers in the clinic are of the same brand and model. This means that you can acquire the toner at a cheaper rate (buy in bulk) and service and support the printers at a lower cost.

 

Use Original Toner

Although it is tempting to acquire the cheaper toner from the web, it is important to know that the original toner can guarantee more prints which equates to a lower cost per page and more importantly, using the original toner will not affect your printer.

Aftermarket toners are made with low-quality products which will damage the drums, sensors and other parts of your printer. Ultimately by saving a few dollars per month on toner, you are reducing the lifecycle of your printers.

 

Acquire High-Quality Printers

You get what you pay for right? Make the initial investment a good one and you will give yourself a high 5 for years to come.

What you need to look for is a printer with a long product life for the toner, drums and other parts. Most personal printers cost less than the toner and that is because they are manufactured to be replaced within a short amount of time.

In terms of high-quality printers, they will last for years and if you were to look at your investment across a 3-year span then you will see that high-quality printers and toner will cost less over that period.

 

Consider A Print Management Solution

This is new on the market and it is where you don’t pay for the printer or setup but rather pay a monthly fee against the usage.

For example, you want a top-tier printer which comes at a cost of $600 and you calculate that you will need $600 worth of toner in the first year.

Over a 3 year period, you will spend $2400 on the printer and toner. This excludes any repairs or maintenance.

A print management solution will give you the printer and all the toner you need and base it on a cost per page. Usually 1 or 2 cents per page. The solution also covers any repairs and replacement to the printer.

This means that at the end of 3 years you would’ve paid less and ensured that you didn’t need to replace the hardware.

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

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

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8 tips for telehealth success

8 tips for telehealth success | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Telehealth, or connected health as some call it, takes different forms depending on the provider organization and its strategy. The primary driver may be extending geographic reach by providing telehealth services to rural areas. Or it may be largely a focus on consumer engagement.

Regardless, there are common themes for successful initiatives. Based on my experience in several healthcare systems in recent years, I offer these tips for success:

 

Strategy is key – The organization must first determine what the key drivers are for the initiative. Is it to extend reach or provide an easier patient experience or a combination?

 

Tactics and specific programs will follow – Once the strategy is clear, which specific clinical services and offerings are needed the most will become clear.

 

Physician leadership is needed – If the focus is on extending the reach of certain clinical services, physicians are at the center and must provide overall direction. For consumer-focused services, ambulatory services or strategic planning leadership may play a more central role.

 

Operational issues and decisions must be considered early on – There are legal and billing factors along with workflow issues for clinicians and staff to work out before any implementation.

 

Governance and prioritization is needed – By now it should be clear who needs to be involved in oversight and prioritizing of programs within the overall initiative. Physician leaders, ambulatory, strategic planning, legal, revenue cycle and IT must all be part of this effort.

 

Common platform and tools to the extent possible – Before there is a formal organization-wide initiative, multiple efforts may spring up with different tools in different clinical services. Establishing a common platform and standard tools to deploy will be more cost effective over time and allow for more efficient support.

 

Leverage the core EHR vendor – Before investing in one-off solutions that need to be integrated, you need to fully understand what your core EHR vendor provides and what their product roadmap looks like for this rapidly evolving market.

 

Commit and invest – Senior leadership needs to be willing to invest money and resources to launch and support programs.

 

Pilot and refine before scaling up – Technology and workflows need to be thoroughly tested and refined based on user feedback before broad rollout at scale.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Homecare Technologies Extend the Reach of Healthcare

Homecare Technologies Extend the Reach of Healthcare | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Fitness bands may well have been among the first widespread consumer-driven instance of personal health monitoring, but advances in technology have since changed healthcare forever. Clinics, hospitals and healthcare providers throughout Australia are adopting clinical and practice management solutions that reflect advances in technology and related legislation and standards that ensure data privacy and security.

 

The progression from paper-based record keeping to today’s digital medical records and e-health initiatives lead to improved efficiency, proactive healthcare solutions and of course, increased the ability to save lives by using data analysis to predict at-risk groups.

 

As investors and tech entrepreneurs continue to make their presence felt in healthcare, future healthcare applications are only limited by the imagination. Healthcare providers are now embracing technology to provide added healthcare solutions to those most at risk, namely the elderly and those with disabilities or acute conditions such as diabetes.

 

Homecare Technology Overview

The elderly, those with disabilities or acute conditions can avail of a wide variety of health monitoring solutions (generally in the form of wearable devices) that collect data by monitoring vital signs and send it over the Internet to their healthcare provider. This data allows a diagnosis to be made, whether that involves a request for additional tests, a change in medication or a precautionary hospital stay for extensive monitoring.

 

The range of wearable devices is already quite extensive, with the healthcare provider selecting one that is suitable for the condition involved.

 

Who among us is willing to give up our independence? The same is certainly true of the elderly but by using wearable devices, many can stay in their own home, with a home carer where necessary. Medical alerts are possible with these devices and obviously, can also save lives when vital signs reach dangerous levels, immediately alerting healthcare providers.

 

Collaborating to Improve Quality of Life

In the elderly and those with disabilities, improving quality of life is a key aim and again, the use of the Internet and connected devices can certainly help. Video conferencing allows direct consults with medical professionals. Those living alone can contact their family and friends in real-time and ward off any feelings of isolation.

By using these collaborative methods, patients can reduce risks of mental illness and depression. By actively monitoring the health of those at risk, governments can reduce the costs of hospital admissions by using the data received to implement an enhanced triage process.

 

Home carers also benefit as they no longer worry about their patients between visits. They can check on them at any time using cloud solutions linked to onsite cameras in the patient’s home, for example. They are also confident that if vital signs change, they will receive an alert that prompts action.

 

Technology Benefits

It is certainly true that the modern healthcare provider has benefitted from technology. Routine admin tasks are automated, staff training is easier thanks to computer-based materials and with electronic medical records, wait times are reduced as a patient’s medical history is readily available. With ubiquitous high-speed broadband and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, medical professionals can work from anywhere. They can consult with a specialist in other locations, share medical data to aid diagnosis and even use remote video to teach surgical techniques.

 

In conclusion, when home carers, patients and healthcare providers are all connected, it makes sense to assume that a better quality of healthcare will result. With the combination of technology, internet and a growing list of online services available, we, as a society, are better positioned to ensure that our sick and elderly live longer and enjoy a better quality of life to boot.

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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