Medical Professionals IT Q&A

Well happy spring and Easter! We certainly hope that everyone is starting to crawl out into the sunshine so to speak. By now we hope that everyone is getting their vaccinations, starting some spring cleaning and preparing for what could be a fabulous vacation time for the first time in over a year.

So we finally got some reader questions and thought we would dedicate this session to reviewing those and providing some answers:

  • From a doctor’s office out at the beaches: I have been thinking about moving all staff to iPad’s from carrying around a laptop. What is the biggest issue in doing so?

Well there really is no particular issue in moving to what falls within the mobile device segment. They can provide a very good ease of use, much lighter and easier to carry around and as long as you are staying on your internal secured network, data security really is not an issue.

In some cases, the mobile devices can actually be a more secure means of performing the basic office and patient functions. Meaning, typically those devices cannot have data saved to them directly, well they really can, but it is not as easy as other devices, thus cutting down on data walking around so to speak as compared to a laptop.

The first decision you should make is whether to have the devices open to cellular services or just Wi-Fi services. Unless you are a heavy user of these devices outside of the office, we recommend Wi-Fi only. Also, we highly recommend the use of a Mobile Device Manager (MDM). Having this tool will allow you to remotely manage and monitor these devices, including the locking or wiping of the device when lost or stolen, or taken by a departing employee.

Lastly, do not allow the device to be setup at a user level, meaning keep the devices registered at the office level. This is the only way to restrict what is being backed up from the device. i.e. into someone’s personal iCloud or backup service. You must utilize complex passcodes as well; this is a HIPPA basic requirement.

  • From an in home health care network provider; We just bought an existing practice, with that purchase came quite a bit of equipment, i.e. laptops, desktop computers and monitors. Should I be worried about connecting this new stuff our network?

Great question! Nothing to be overly worried about here. Equipment in most cases is interchangeable and should not represent any worries at first blush.

That being said, it is extremely important to have each device scanned for applications and viruses prior to being connected to the network. This is to not only ensure there is nothing hidden on the device application wise or functionally. But also to ensure the latest patches have been installed and the device is functioning as expected.

Allowing an out of date device relating to operating system patches in particular, is like opening a new door to your network. Particularly if the device is utilizing a no longer support operating system such as windows 7 or something else.

Best practice is to have each device cleaned and scanned by your technology partner/team prior to bringing them into the workforce of connecting to your network.

  • From a dentist in Orange Park: The practice I have worked at for years just got a new technology company, they are telling me I have to use a specific brand of computer and printer now. Why is that?

Well, another great question. Really there is not a good reason to require specific types or brands of equipment. Your new technology company may have turned a preference into a requirement, or perhaps they just get good deals on specific brands, thus they have a higher margin when dictating your equipment.

Now some systems and applications do work better of course when specific minimums are being required with respect to hardware/device specifications. Example would be consistent use or need to review and manipulate high resolution images, would perform better with a newer processor and certainly more random access memory (RAM). Also, if you are keeping multiple applications open at once on your devices, having more RAM onboard will serve you well.

If you are using specific voice based applications, then in some cases a specific requirement of certain microphones and headsets can come into play. This is usually driven from a general performance perspective though.  An example of this is, we have a client who prefers a specific dictation software, while there is no requirement of a specific external microphone, we have found a couple of brands that just work more consistently with this application and we will “recommend” your usage of those specific peripherals.

We have found in some cases the “required” equipment actually not performing as well in some cases. Recently we had a practice that their application was recommending a very specific scanner. Once the environment was fully evaluated, we found an alternate scanner that performed more consistently and faster, so it was swapped out for the user.

Best answer on this one, be a little skeptical of required equipment. Again, while some environments may perform better with some devices versus others. Look deeper into what is driving the requirement, it might just be your provider.

Thank you for your time this month. Thank you again as well for your questions, please keep them coming.

Please remember Venture Pointe does not charge anything for initial consulting, network reviews or general conversations relating to your technology needs. Heck, we will even bring you a cup of coffee, jest for sitting down with our team.