Blog

August 21st, 2015

As technology continues to evolve in the healthcare industry, new developments are being made to improve the quality of delivering patient care. Breakthroughs in treatments, communication systems, and information gathering have provided healthcare practitioners with new tools to better serve patients. With that said, here are some of the biggest impacts technology has made in healthcare.

Enhanced information access

There’s no doubt that more and more people are using the Internet to research their medical issues. The introduction of Internet has allowed countless people to look up symptoms, exploring treatments and medicines on the web. Now that’s not to say that paying a visit to a doctor is a bad idea. But browsing for information online has enabled patients to understand what kind of symptoms they’re having, and allowed them to make better decisions about what to do next.

Better treatments and less suffering

Technology has also brought about new and innovative machines, medicines, and treatments that have the potential to save lives and improve the chance of recovery for billions. Not only can sophisticated technologies help patients heal and recover directly, they have also assisted researchers to make healthcare even more effective.

Take surgery for example. The invention of new medical tools and treatments, such as anesthetics, has enabled doctors to perform operations that were not possible before. They can undertake surgeries slowly and carefully, without worrying that their patients might feel pain or have their body give up altogether.

Improved patient care and staff efficiency

Electronic medical records have made patient care safer and more reliable than ever before. Physicians and nurses use portable devices to store patients’ medical records and check that they are administering the correct treatment. What’s more, results of lab tests, medicine orders, and patient information are all electronically stored in the main database, allowing for future reference.

Healthcare staff also benefit from technology - they have instant access to thousands of case studies, medical textbooks, and detailed patient history. Technology has also created telemedicine, a practice that enables doctors to consult with professionals from all over the world to diagnose, treat, and research conditions more effectively.

Medical trends prediction

Major search engines are now capable of predicting medical trends such as epidemics and flu outbreaks, based on the health information that users search for. Although not everyone who searches for “flu” is actually sick, these search queries tend to be popular when flu season is happening. The queries are added together to estimate how much flu is circulating in countries around the world. Medical experts are able to apply this information to take preventative measures and respond to outbreaks quickly.

Technology is paving the way for patients to live healthier lives. If you’re looking for efficient technology solutions to propel your healthcare business forward, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today - we have the perfect tools for all your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 17th, 2015

164_SM_BThe coveted email list: it can be the difference between a growing business and one that sputters out before it gets off the ground. So what can you do to grow yours? Although it’s often less talked about, social media can be an instrumental tool to gain subscribers. Here are three tips on how you can use it to grow your email list.

Post and share your emails publicly

If you create great content for your email list and no one sees it except your subscribers, how are your non-subscribers going to know what they’re missing out on? They won’t, which is exactly why you should give your social media fans and followers a taste of the valuable content that awaits them after sign up.

Now let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean you should share every single email you send out to your list. If you did, there would be less of a need to subscribe. Instead, try sharing or posting an email once every few weeks or once a month.

Make it easy to sign up

Let’s face it. Many of us will take the easier, simpler path whenever possible. This is just as true in marketing as it is in other more primal aspects of human nature. Take eating, for example: if you’re short on time and have a choice between two restaurants for lunch, and one delivers and the other doesn’t, which one are you going to take? Likely the delivery. Even if you prefer the one that doesn’t deliver slightly better, you’d probably still take the delivery for the simple fact that they’ve made it easier for you.

In the online marketing world, the same concept works for gaining subscribers. This is why you need to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up after they’ve read your publicly shared email. To do this, simply add a sign-up link to the emails you share.

Create valuable content

You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king”. However, whoever came up with this catchphrase left out a very important keyword. It should instead read “valuable content is king.” If you’re shelling out dozens of blog posts, emails, podcasts or videos a month but the content is useless to the reader, you’re not going to make any traction with your email list.

When trying to gain subscribers, always ask yourself, “what’s in it for them if they sign up?” If you simply have a signup box on your website or social media page, but no valuable content to go along with it, why would someone sign up? Would you sign up? The point is that there needs to be a reason for someone to subscribe to your email list. And valuable content is a very good reason.

Lastly, don’t forget to demonstrate why it’s more valuable for your future audience to subscribe rather than simply follow you on social media. To do this, give them an incentive to sign up. This could be in the form of an exclusive offer or a free ebook, course, report, or something similar.

Want more tips on leveraging social media to grow your business? Send us a message today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 14th, 2015

As the healthcare industry continues to embrace significant technological changes, healthcare providers need to keep up with the latest trends to deliver better patient care. That’s why more and more healthcare organizations are turning to managed services providers to lower costs and improve productivity. While this concept is on the rise, the services and level of support offered by managed services providers remain all over the place. However, there are certain managed services providers that work specifically within the healthcare verticals.

Here are some things to look for in a managed services provider before you consider partnering with one.

They guarantee response times

When it comes to providing healthcare services, talking about fast response times is not the only thing that matters. You should always make sure that your provider guarantees response times, and that you’re able to contact them 24/7. Consider this: in a scenario where something breaks or you come across technical issues in the dead of the night, your best bet would be to contact your service provider, not to try fixing things on your own. Therefore you need a provider who is able to provide assistance whenever you need it most.

They support a business continuity plan

You risk putting your organization in jeopardy if your managed services provider can’t assist in your recovery from major outages or natural disasters. A business continuity plan is an absolute necessity in your healthcare organization - you simply can’t afford to lose all your valuable medical data in the event of a disaster. You need all the help you can get from your managed services provider to maintain redundant systems, as well as help manage automatic failovers.

They provide proactive security

In the world of healthcare data security, aligning your practice with HIPAA compliance mandates is essential. Failing to meet regulations may result in huge fines, serious penalties, and even the withdrawal of your license to operate. The ideal managed services provider should offer core security services that include identity-based security and encryption, authorized privileges and access control, and data accountability and integrity.

They offer staffing services

Healthcare staffing shouldn’t be a hassle but, thanks to the changing dynamics of healthcare IT requiring a sophisticated workforce, that’s exactly what it can become. You need a managed services provider that assumes full responsibility for your clinical labor while providing you with a single point of contact for all your staffing operations, including account management, customer support, order placement, and more.

Choosing the right managed services provider can be a time-consuming task but, when you do make the switch, they can streamline your operations, reduce operational costs, and enhance workforce transparency.

If you want to learn how great technology and support can benefit your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today - we provide the perfect set of IT solutions and outstanding support to drive your organization forward.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 12th, 2015

164_Virt_BData centers can be expensive, and they can suck up large amounts of energy fast. With that said, do you know how much yours is costing you every month? You may be afraid to find out the answer. Not to fear though, there are specific steps you can take to get your data center costs under control. Here are a few to get you started.

Perform an energy audit

There’s a good chance your IT staff has never once thought about how much energy your server room and data center are consuming. So, the first step to rectifying this problem is to identify just how much power is being sucked up.

To get you started, here are a few questions to ask:

  • How much of the data center’s power budget goes to support systems?
  • How much goes to IT systems?
  • How much IT output do you get for every kilowatt/hour of power sucked up by your data center IT systems?
Answering these questions will help you determine just how efficient, or inefficient, your data center actually is.

Decrease the IT workload

When you save a single watt of energy at the server level, it can result in a total saving of nearly three watts in your data center costs.

So how do you decrease the IT workload? Virtualization is a common and effective tactic. Instead of wasting money on cooling your own servers in your data center, with virtualization you can have them hosted by your IT provider and then their technology delivered to you through the Internet. This allows you to eliminate some of your servers from your office and therefore reduce cooling costs.

For alternate ways to decrease server workload, you can also:

  • Eliminate unused servers
  • Consolidate servers
  • Purchase more energy-efficient technology

Mind your humidity and temperature levels

Because many non-IT personnel are terrified of the data center and simply don’t understand it, often they falsely believe that the room must be kept as cold as the North Pole in order to protect sensitive data. This is simply not true. While it is true that excessively high temperatures, humidity or dry conditions can harm your data, most modern-day data center equipment is incredibly durable and can tolerate a much wider range of humidity and temperatures than in decades past. Because of this, it is highly likely you can get away with a lot less cooling and dehumidification than you thought possible. That said, it’s wise to consult with an IT professional before doing this to ensure you don’t damage your data.

Another innovation that can help you cool down your data center more economically is utilizing an economizer system. This technology uses cool air from the outside to provide “free” cooling cycles for your data center.

Want more tips on reducing your overall IT bill? Curious to learn more about virtualization? Call us today to learn from one of our experts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 10th, 2015

BusinessContinuity_Aug10_BEnsuring the implementation of effective business continuity planning (BCP) is an essential requirement for organizations today. Disasters strike at the most unexpected times and, when they do, you need to be prepared for the worst. While most organizations recognize the importance of BCP, their ability to execute a successful implementation is limited by certain challenges. With that said, we’ve listed some issues you need to be aware of, and what you can do about them.

Challenge #1: Prohibitive costs

Business continuity planning has become exponentially expensive as availability requirements increase. Many solutions require substantial investments on the installation and maintenance of additional hardware, software, and data center infrastructure. These requirements drive up the cost of business continuity, and many company owners are reluctant to invest in protective measures.

The solution Instead of relying on costly physical servers to accommodate your backups, consider using efficient and affordable cloud computing solutions. You can transfer your important business files to the cloud and eliminate the expense of having to install and manage hardware infrastructure and software licenses.

Challenge #2: High complexity

Traditional business continuity planning is complex to implement, manage and execute. From managing the recovery infrastructure to updating disaster recovery documentation and testing the BCP to find and close potential loopholes, the prospect of embarking on a BCP project can be daunting, and the whole experience can prove time consuming. Combine with the pressure of your ordinary day-to-day duties, it can seem almost impossible to focus your attention on initiating a BCP.

The solution With all this in mind, it makes more sense to hire a professional IT service provider to plan, implement, and execute your business continuity plan. This way you can leverage their experience and expertise to ensure that, in the event of a disaster, your company will be able to get back on its feet and resume business operations as quickly as possible.

Challenge #3: Lack of staff involvement

There are so many requirements to be considered in a business continuity plan. And the more employees your organization has, the more difficult it is to relay the essence of the plan for everyone to understand. Staff involvement isn’t an option - it’s an absolute necessity if you wish for a successful BCP implementation!

The solution Depending on the size of your organization, you can either hold a company meeting to announce the essentials of your BCP, or schedule a meeting with key staff members who take an active role in the planning process. To create a long-lasting BCP program, you need to get everyone on the same page by emphasizing the importance of the plan in an easy-to-understand way.

Business continuity planning is one of the most important things you need to have in place. You never know when, or in what form, a disaster will strike - all the more reason to take a preventative approach to securing your company and all you’ve worked for.

Need a reliable partner to take care of all your business continuity planning needs? Get in touch with us today - we have exactly what you need to prepare and protect your company.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 7th, 2015

HealthcareGeneral_Aug7_AThe healthcare industry is undertaking a transition from paper-based to paperless medical records, resulting in an expansion of electronic medical records (EMR) market worldwide. According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR), a global market intelligence company, the trend for virtualization in the healthcare industry will continue to rise until 2020.

The rising trend of EMR

EMR is a digital version of a wide range of health-related information, such as patients’ medical history, medications, laboratory test results, and diagnostic images. The system grants physicians and staff access to this data from virtually anywhere, allowing them to collaborate and work more efficiently, as well as being able to provide better patient care.

The adoption of EMR systems is increasing across healthcare facilities worldwide. In the past, EMR remained more prevalent among medium to large-sized hospitals than smaller ones, primarily because of budget differences. However, with the development of modern EMR systems, even smaller medical institutions are now able to benefit from the latest healthcare technology, and the market for EMR systems is expected to grow at a significant rate.

Causes for EMR growth

Some of the major factors contributing to the growth of the market are the significant advantages of EMR systems and financial incentives from governments. The benefits of implementing an EMR system include more accurate and up-to-date patient information, reduced operational costs in the long term, reduced medical errors from poor handwriting and coordination, quick access to patient data, increased patient participation, and the improved efficiency of healthcare providers. These advantages encourage healthcare providers to switch from traditional paper-based systems to a more advanced EMR system.

Another cause for EMR market growth is the financial incentive programs initiated by governments of various countries. For instance, the U.S. federal government allocated $27 billion in an attempt to encourage EMR adoption across the nation. As a result of this incentive program, more and more healthcare providers are implementing EMR, and the numbers are on the rise.

EMR market segmentation

According to TMR, about 42 percent of the total EMR market was held by North America in 2013. The second largest market was Europe, followed by Asia Pacific. These rankings are unlikely to change within the next few years, but the EMR market is seeing a steady growth in some Asian countries.

EMR is here to stay, and it’s important that healthcare organizations implement it properly. Get in touch with one of our experts today and learn more about how EMR can benefit your healthcare practice.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 31st, 2015

HealthcareIT_Jul31_ACloud computing and cloud-based applications are steadily becoming more widely accepted and adopted by healthcare organizations across the globe. They are continually evolving to meet the growing requirements in the healthcare industry. And in recent years, many healthcare providers have shifted their resources to cloud platforms - for good reason. Here’s why you should implement cloud computing into your medical practice.

Easy information access

The increasing demand for doctors’ time often means that they are only able to view patient records in the evening. In the past, this meant being stuck in an office for hours. But with cloud computing solutions, doctors are able to quickly and easily access medical records from anywhere, at any time. By recording medical data in a word-processing application and storing the files in the cloud, doctors are able to provide high-quality care to patients.

HIPAA Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal regulation created to protect sensitive health information with a list of requirements by which medical practitioners need to abide. Failure to meet HIPAA requirements can result in heavy fines and penalties. Cloud computing is one of the best ways for healthcare organizations to stay HIPAA compliant, since it offers advanced security as well as encryption and backup, to protect healthcare information.

Cost reduction

Cloud computing has vast potential to help healthcare organizations cut expenditure. By adopting cloud-based solutions, you don’t have to pay for expensive on-site hardware and infrastructure installation and maintenance fees, nor the costs of new software updates. Cloud computing also helps boost efficiency and productivity, and allows your IT department do more with fewer staff.

Scalability

Unlike hardware infrastructure, you can easily scale your cloud storage solutions to fit your needs, allowing you to manage and maintain your ever-growing patient data with ease. Just consider how much office space you need to store five years’ worth of healthcare records. With the help of cloud computing, however, you can virtualize and store the medical records in secure cloud storage, and retrieve them within seconds.

Better data backup and recovery

If your healthcare practice were to face an unexpected disaster, what would become of your paper medical records? Most of your precious data would likely be either damaged or destroyed, and so too would your years of hard-earned reputation. Things are different when you opt for cloud computing. Most service providers will make a backup of your backups for maximum protection and redundancy, allowing you to get back to serving patients within hours, not days.

Want to learn more about how cloud computing can assist in your healthcare practice? Get in touch with one of our tech experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 30th, 2015

164_Prod_ BHave you heard of Managed Services, but are still unsure of how they can help your business? Do you often hear IT providers trying to sell them with words and phrases like “productivity” and “more profits”? If you’re looking for a clearer description of just how Managed Services can increase your productivity, today is your day. Here’s the truth about how this common IT service can take your productivity levels to heights you’ve never seen.

Managed Services essentially amounts to preventative IT maintenance. What this means for your business is that little IT problems are nipped in the bud as soon as they bubble up, and before they have a chance to compound into much bigger, more costly ones. But before we delve deeper into how this increases your business’s productivity levels, it makes sense to look at the history of this service and the role of “preventative maintenance” in our culture.

Why preventative maintenance matters

Managed Services have been around for decades. But despite this, many businesses have been slow to catch on. And really, is it all that surprising? Preventative maintenance is not exactly a priority in mass culture. Whether you hire a mechanic to replace a catalytic converter, a plumber to repair a leaky pipe or doctor to correct your coronary heart disease, many of these oftentimes preventable problems have been culturally accepted as commonplace. Yet people are so used to the mindset of thinking “everything is okay until it’s not”, which is really where the true problem lies.

Additionally, when preventable problems are ignored long enough to the point they explode into emergency repairs, your wallet almost always suffers. This is just as true for a network crash to your business’s IT infrastructure as it is for a trip to the emergency room for a neglected health problem.

Because Managed Services prevent catastrophic IT repairs that surprise you out of nowhere, your bottom line will enjoy long-term savings. Along with this, you’ll also get a significant bump in your productivity levels.

How does Managed Services boost productivity?

To answer this question, it makes sense to look at a fundamental principle of productivity - focus. Imagine if you’re trying to complete a new marketing strategy for the next quarter. You’re doing some research, compiling a list upcoming networking events and trade shows to attend, when suddenly you’re disrupted by an urgent phone call. After you’re off the phone, you return to your research, and then your secretary bursts in with an handful of vendor invoices you need to sign off on. As these disruptions continue to pile up, what happens if your IT breaks down and you’re unable to use your computer? Basically, you don’t get anything done during the day. You become stuck.

When it comes to IT, Managed Services take preventative measures to ensure your IT is always running at its optimal level, so that you don’t suffer technology breakdowns or distractions that blow your focus - preventing you and your staff from getting any work done. Smooth running IT won’t resolve all your productivity problems, such as your staff focusing more on Facebook or their phone rather than their work, but it will resolve all of those that relate directly to technology. No longer will your business be held down by daily computer disruptions and associated repairs, and instead you and your staff can move forward and focus on growing your business. That is the beauty of Managed Services. More productivity, focus and growth for your entire organization.

Have more questions about Managed Services? Give us a call today. We’re happy to provide you the information you need.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Productivity
July 28th, 2015

BusinessValue_July28_BWhen it comes to increasing your employees’ efficiency and productivity, technology can provide countless opportunities to streamline workflows, eliminate redundant processes and reduce costs within your organization. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the competition, you need to ditch the traditional ways of working and implement technology to your practices to encourage more employee productivity - here’s how.

Change office communication

In order to increase efficiency, set up instant messaging software such as Skype on your employees’ workstations. This allows them to send instant messages to correspondents instead of having to get up from their desks to see whether the person is available. Of course, if you need to discuss big projects or issues, face-to-face communication is likely the best choice. But you can simply send a quick message for more trivial conversations, saving precious minutes and allowing you to get more work done.

Install video conferencing

Traveling to offsite meetings and training sessions takes time and, all too often, time spent on the road is time lost. Rather than commuting for hours outside your office, opt for a networked phone solution that offers video calls and conferencing. This way you can hold a video conference to discuss business matters from the comfort and convenience of your office. You can also take things up a notch and equip the conference room with tools to pull up documents and have them displayed on a big screen, so that everyone in the meeting can follow the conversation with ease.

Upgrade workstations

Outdated technologies and workstations limit your business’s progress, and are a hindrance to developing clued-up, efficient employees. Aging phone systems and slow networks can frustrate your team and bring productivity to a standstill. So it’s important to take the time to assess your current workstations, applications, hardware, and tools. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy a set of entirely new workstations. But you should replace obsolete equipment with more up-to-date machines. In addition, make sure all software and applications are up-to-date to ensure maximum efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Implement ERP software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows organizations to automate processes and centralize data in order for employees to collaborate more efficiently. ERP software provides employees with up-to-date business information that they can easily access and make use of. What’s more, ERP also eliminates redundant data entry and reduces the number of spreadsheets that are used to record critical business data, by storing information in a centralized database.

To get the maximum return on your technology investment, it’s also important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. Get in touch with our tech experts today to find out how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 22nd, 2015

164_Sec_BSince many of us out there have been using the internet for decades, it’s likely that most of us have had our systems infected by malware at one point or another. But how many of us actually know what the differences are between malware, viruses, trojans, and other online threats? For those without a clue, here’s a description of four of the most common ones and the security measures you can take to keep your business protected.

Malware

Malware is the short version of the word malicious software. And this is a general term that encompasses many types of online threats including spyware, viruses, worms, trojans, adware, ransomware and more. Though you likely already know this, the purpose of malware is to specifically infect and harm your computer and potentially steal your information.

But how do the different types of malware differ from one another? How can you protect your business from them? Let’s take a look at four of the most common forms of malware below.

Virus - like a virus that can infect a person, a computer virus is a contagious piece of code that infects software and then spreads from file to file on a system. When infected software or files are shared between computers, the virus then spreads to the new host.

The best way to protect yourself from viruses is with a reliable antivirus program that is kept updated. Additionally, you should be wary of any executable files you receive because viruses often come packaged in this form. For example, if you’re sent a video file, be aware that if the name includes an “exe” extension like .mov.exe, you’re almost certainly dealing with a virus.

Spyware - just like a spy, a hacker uses spyware to track your internet activities and steal your information without you being aware of it. What kind of information is likely to be stolen by Spyware? Credit card numbers and passwords are two common targets.

And if stealing your information isn’t bad enough, Spyware is also known to cause PC slowdown, especially when there is more than one program running on your system - which is usually the case with a system that’s infected.

A common mistake many people make is they assume their antivirus software automatically protects them from Spyware. This is not always true as some antivirus isn’t designed to catch spyware. If you’re unsure if your antivirus prevents Spyware, get verification from your vendor. And for those that are already suffering from Spyware infestation, two programs that work wonders to clean it out are Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware.

Worms - similar to viruses, worms also replicate themselves and spread when they infect a computer. The difference, however, between a worm and a virus is that a worm doesn’t require the help of a human or host program to spread. Instead, they self-replicate and spread across networks without the guidance of a hacker or a file/program to latch onto.

In addition to a reliable antivirus software, to prevent worms from infecting your system you should ensure your firewall is activated and working properly.

Trojan - like the trojan horse from ancient greek mythology, this type of malware is disguised as a safe program designed to fool users, so that they unwittingly install it on their own system, and later are sabotaged by it. Generally, the hacker uses a trojan to steal both financial and personal information. It can do this by creating a “backdoor” to your computer that allows the hacker to remotely control it.

Similar to the other malware mentioned above, antivirus software is a dependable way to protect yourself against trojans. For further safety, it’s wise to not open up suspicious attachments, and also ensure that your staff members aren't downloading any programs or applications illegally at the office - as this is a favorite place hackers like to hide trojans.

Curious to learn about other common malware that can cause trouble for business owners? Want to upgrade your existing network security system? Give us a call today, we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security