Your Healthcare Technology Budget
Medical practices should consider their unique needs when planning their healthcare technology budget. Now more than ever, the healthcare industry is driven by, and dependent on, a secure and reliable network infrastructure. This dependency is mainly due to the Affordable Care Act and strict government regulations and compliance laws.
As a Healthcare IT Service Provider for over two decades, the following recommendations will help you better manage your healthcare technology budget.
Standardize your Technology
The first step in standardizing your technology is to unify your computer systems. By doing so, you can quickly implement a replacement plan when conducting a periodic analysis of your current systems. As a result, problems can be analyzed and repaired quickly. For example, when a technician examines a computer problem, he must know the following:
- Make and model
- Operating system
- Installed applications and versions
- Warranty status
These questions can be answered quickly when your computers are uniform and properly maintained.
Restrict Computers for Business Use Only
Many practices give their employees free reign on their computers resulting in daily lost productivity. To mitigate this problem, they need policies that clearly define the proper use of technology resources. These clearly defined policies will keep their employees mindful of their boundaries. By using a web filter to block access to specific websites, practices will prevent unwarranted downloads to their network. An internet filter will also restrict social media and personal email.
Virus and Malware Protection
Viruses and Malware originate from email, the internet, and software downloads. Antivirus software provides a defense against viruses and malware. However, antivirus software alone will not be enough to prevent every virus risk. It is imperative that your staff is fully educated. We suggest including the following policies in your employee handbook:
- Keep your antivirus software current
- Delete spam and unsolicited email
- Report suspicious activity to your IT department
- The internet is for business use only
- Personal email on business computers is prohibited
- Never download files from suspicious websites
New Hardware Releases
When purchasing new computers, we recommend that you invest in high-end hardware components. Buying ahead of the curve will increase the life of the computer. As a result higher productivity will occur.
New Software Releases
Buy slightly behind the curve when shopping for software. In fact, buying new software releases should be the opposite of buying new hardware. New software releases are usually buggy, and unpredictable. Sure, salespeople will entice you with the promise of the latest bells and whistles. However, they don’t always paint the full picture. Sometimes it’s better to hang on to your older version for a few months longer and let other practices work out the bugs.
Use Industry Leading Products
The hardware and software tools you choose play a significant role in the success of your medical practice. These mission critical systems are no place to experiment with unproven products. So, purchase quality products, made by well-known manufacturers like Microsoft, Barracuda, Symantec, and HP.
Have a Good Backup Plan
Every practice should have a reliable, robust backup plan in place. That’s because data drives your practice, so be prepared for everything from a natural disaster to accidental file deletion. Generally speaking, data is forty percent of your business value. So, make sure your most valuable asset is safe and secure in any situation. For healthcare practices, this means implementing an automated and encrypted backup solution. This solution must provide local and off-site (cloud) backups. Avoid tape or external drive backup solutions. They’re not reliable and difficult to maintain.
Perform Routine Maintenance
- Keep virus software active and updated
- Monitor your firewall and firmware versions
- Install Windows updates regularly
- Check server storage space
- Monitor your backups
Technology Support Options
Many healthcare practices believe there are only two technology support options available:
- Hire a full-time IT person
- Hire an hourly IT consultant
One major factor to consider when hiring technology support is their breadth of knowledge. Typically, the best technology personnel have experience with hundreds of practice systems. That’s because they can keep an eye on the strategic practice needs when making technology decisions. In most cases, a single IT technician will not have this breadth of experience.
The majority of small healthcare practices don’t need a full-time technician to manage their technology. Doing so can be very costly and become a burden on your practice. Also, you may hire someone who will grow bored, or burn out after a year or two. Not to mention, when this technician takes a vacation, personal days, or sick days you’re left without IT support for extended periods.
Hourly IT Consultant
Most practices believe their only other option is an hourly IT consultant to support their technology. Using hourly consultants to fix problems reactively is commonly known as a ”break-fix” model. Typically, this reactive support approach lacks the incentive to solve issues permanently. Also, many hourly consultants are only available nights and weekends which increases their response and resolution time.
The Best Option
The best choice to manage your healthcare technology budget is a Managed IT Services Provider, like Innovative Computer Systems. That’s because of our unlimited support for a fixed monthly fee model. In addition, one of the many benefits of our “all-covered” plan is that incentives are now in line with yours. In fact, the only way we can survive is by reducing your technology problems through more efficient controls and management.
Furthermore, our Helpdesk team responds to calls and support tickets within minutes. When you need us on-site, we’ll be there quickly. We’ll also ensure that your systems are streamlined, cost-effective, and efficient. You’ll reap the benefits by increased productivity and revenue. As a result, these additional savings and revenue will be available for other resources that can help take your practice to the next level.
The Short and Sweet Version
A summary of these recommendations is provided here for your reference. We hope the recommendations we made in the blog will help you better manage your healthcare technology budget.
• Standardize your hardware, software, and policies
• Keep computers for practice use only
• Get spam, virus, and spyware protection from day one
• Buy slightly ahead of the curve when purchasing hardware
• Buy slightly behind the curve when buying software
• Use industry leading products
• Have a good backup plan
• Perform regular maintenance
• Choose the right technology support for your practice
About Innovative Computer Systems
Innovative Computer Systems is a Managed Services Provider specializing in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) and Corporate Business Technology. We work closely with our clients to understand their daily workflow requirements. Some of our clients include leaders in Ophthalmology, Facility Maintenance, Pediatrics, Law, Urology, Dermatology, Commercial Real Estate, Internal Medicine and Ambulatory Surgery.