November 12th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Nov12_AAs healthcare practices across the nation continue to find out, patients place ever-diminishing levels of importance on care alone. While it is and will forever be a factor that influences a person’s decision, convenience has become another key area patients look at when choosing a healthcare facility. Online scheduling, in particular, has become something more and more of us consider when selecting a healthcare provider.

In order to succeed in today’s technology-driven world, you have to provide convenience alongside top-notch care. As the use of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices has permeated society, healthcare hasn’t always done a great job of keeping up. Those facilities that have kept up with tech trends have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide, while places relying on the old ways continue to remain stagnant in both areas.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest, and most popular, pieces of technology used by forward-thinking healthcare clinics. With this, patients are able to see when a doctor is available and schedule an appointment using your website. According to research from Accenture, 38 percent of all healthcare appointments will be scheduled online by 2019. Still not convinced your practice needs it? Here are 4 additional benefits of online scheduling.

New patients prefer it

More than ever, people are less inclined to make phone calls especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one that has online scheduling to avoid having to make a call. If you don’t want your practice to miss out on potential new patients, having online scheduling is a no brainer.

More time for your staff

Think about how much time your staff spends each day answering phone calls from people needing to make an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Imagine if they were able to focus on patients at your facility instead of being on the phone with ones who want to be there. It would probably improve the level of care each person receives while at your facility. This will allow patients at your office to feel as if they are truly being taken care of and increasing the chances they return in the future.

Added flexibility for patients

One of the most difficult things for a patient is trying to schedule an appointment when your office is closed. If something happens at 8pm, they have no way of knowing if you will have time to see them the next morning. This puts them in a bind as they either have to take time off work and hope you can see them or go into work in the morning and wait until they can make an appointment.

With online scheduling, this problem is easily avoidable. They can simply log in to your website and see when you are available. This allows your patients to plan their schedule accordingly around the visit without having to wait until the next day.

You’re going to need it eventually

Sure, you probably can get away with not having online scheduling at the moment and maybe even for the next year or two, but eventually the time will come for your practice to embrace the technology. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your staff trained and the sooner your patients can enjoy the benefits of it. And for those healthcare providers who think online scheduling is simply a passing trend, well we’re sure there were plenty of doctors who said the same thing about the telephone when it was first introduced.

Need help setting up online scheduling at the your practice? Want to learn more about how technology can help make things easier for your patients? Talk to our IT experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

October 29th, 2015

164_A_HCIt’s already December and 2016 will be here sooner than you know it. This makes it an excellent time to start thinking about next year’s IT budget, and how to best address your technology needs to keep your practice growing, compliant, and not stifled by outdated IT that distracts you from your patients. To ensure your IT is dependable for 2016, here are a few steps you can take to prepare your practice.


One reason some practices fail to update their IT at all, and then wind up with broken technology that causes endless headaches and delays, is that they’re simply overwhelmed by the number of technology choices available, and are unsure what needs to be upgraded or replaced. That’s why the first task you should undertake in planning next year’s IT budget is to evaluate what you have right now.

If you have a small or medium-sized practice, you may be able to do this by walking around your office and simply taking a visual assessment of your technology. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, another option is to use a software tool or hire an IT provider to determine which pieces of technology you use regularly.


When you’re done with the evaluation, you’ll have likely discovered some IT issues that need to be addressed immediately. If you have the budget to fix them this year then go ahead and do so, otherwise prioritize these technology repairs in your 2016 budget. This will help ensure IT doesn’t create unnecessary dysfunction in your daily operations.


Stop thinking about technology for a moment. Instead, think about your long-term goals for your practice. What do you want to accomplish in the next one, five, and 10 years? What do you envision your practice looking like then? Jot your goals and answers to these questions down on a piece of paper, then evaluate whether or not your practice can achieve these goals with IT implemented as it is now. If it can’t, what technology changes need to take place? The answer will reveal which IT adjustments are necessary for the future of your practice in 2016 and beyond. Here are a few other ideas to consider when planning your long-term IT strategy.

Usability – complex technology not only scares the average user, but it also prevents many from using it. If you want you, your staff and your patients to use your new IT solution, make sure it’s user friendly. Otherwise you’re simply throwing money away.

Automation – because the healthcare industry is understaffed as it is, you need all the help you can get. Technology can act as your team of extra staff members, automating and taking care of processes that are usually performed manually. This will free up your real employees to spend more time taking care of your patients.

Adaptability – both technology and the healthcare industry are in a constant state of change. So when implementing new IT, find something that will evolve with your industry. If you’re unsure, talk with the vendor of the technology product you’re interested in, or consult with an IT provider to help you along.

Lastly, we understand that IT is not the specialist area of most healthcare professionals. So if you ever have any questions, or need assistance planning for your future IT needs, our experts are more than happy to help you in assessing, evaluating and implementing new technology that will take your practice into 2016 and beyond.

Published with permission from Source.
October 15th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Oct15_AFor the past few years, many doctors and healthcare practices have found themselves torn as to whether or not they should embrace telehealth. While the benefits of it are undeniable, there have been questions over its security and practicality since it started being implemented over 20 years ago. However, technology and acceptance have finally made telehealth a realistic option for everyone in the healthcare industry.

Telehealth is well past the days of when it constituted nothing more than a doctor and a patient talking over the phone. With the rise of mobile health, along with technological strides made in the past decade, telehealth has become a viable way for doctors to serve patients from all walks of life.

Not only is it a viable way to practice healthcare, in many places it is treated as an equal alternative to in-person doctor’s visits. There are 24 states, plus Washington D.C., that require private insurers to cover telehealth in the same way in-person treatment is covered. And that’s just the beginning. Here are a few other reasons it’s time to embrace telehealth.

It’s not just for rural patients anymore

The original goal of telehealth was to find a way to help connect rural patients to doctors when an in-person visit wasn’t feasible. While this is still an important function of telehealth, more and more city folk have determined it’s far easier to place a call to a doctor for a quick consultation than take time off work to visit one.

With a growing number of patients preferring a video-call doctor’s visit to the real thing, this has gone from being a fad to becoming the new norm. It’s not just the video calling that has proven to be a valuable tool in the telehealth arsenal, either. With countless health monitoring apps now available, it is easier than ever for doctors to get the information they need from clients in order to make informed decisions remotely.

Security and regulations are becoming settled

One of the biggest drawbacks of embracing telehealth was the fact that state and federal regulations seemed to change on a near daily basis, meaning you never knew whether you were compliant with them. Not only that, but you also had to worry about getting equipment and systems that were HIPAA-compliant.

However, regulations on both the state and federal level have become much more stable as telehealth has become more commonplace. Telehealth technology has greatly improved as well, since manufacturers continue to better understand the security requirements involved. Nearly all equipment on the market today is compliant with HIPAA.

It’s covered by insurance

We’ve already mentioned that almost half of the the country requires private insurance to provide full telehealth coverage. Medicare and Medicaid also provide partial telehealth coverage for patients. As the accessibility and acceptance of telehealth continues its upward trajectory, it would seem likely that more insurance companies will be required to cover it. Even if you haven’t noticed a surge in demand for telehealth at your practice, implementing it now can make sure you’re prepared when the rush does come.

If you would like to know more about what you can do to implement telehealth, mHealth or any other healthcare technology, get in touch with us.

Published with permission from Source.

September 24th, 2015

164_Gcare_AWhile many small businesses mistakenly think they’re immune to data breaches because of their size, and therefore put minimum protection in place, healthcare organizations can't ever risk taking this laissez-faire approach - and they'd be in trouble if they did. After all, there are rules and regulations when it comes to healthcare IT systems, and huge fines if you don't meet certain standards. Health practices are tempting targets for hackers, who appreciate the high cost of patient treatment and the wealth of personal information stored by doctors. This is why malicious attacks are carried out on healthcare centers all the time. Two separate 2015 surveys, performed by the Ponemon Institute and the global corporation KPMG, produced some alarming statistics. Here’s what they discovered.

The 2015 KPMG Healthcare Cybersecurity survey

This survey of 223 chief healthcare executives revealed that 81 percent of healthcare organizations have been breached in the last two years. What may come as even more disturbing news is that 25% of these executives noted that their organizations were attacked anywhere from one to five times a week.

And the organizations which are aware they’re being attacked are actually the lucky ones. According to Greg Bell, KPMG’s leader of the firm’s Cyber Practice, "The experienced hackers that penetrate a vulnerable health care organization like to remain undetected as long as they can before extracting a great deal of content, similar to a blood-sucking insect." That means the longer a cyber attack goes unnoticed, the more damage it can do to your practice.

The survey also revealed the greatest threats facing today’s healthcare organizations by type, according to the respondents:

  • 65% - external attacks: cyber attacks are more sophisticated and well funded than ever. With healthcare organizations as prime targets, they are increasingly difficult to prevent.
  • 48% - sharing data with third parties: because it’s easy to distribute ePHI over the Internet and mobile devices, it’s more likely for this data to fall into the wrong hands.
  • 35% - employee breaches: an unhappy employee steals or alters your practice’s critical information.
  • 27% - insufficient firewalls: a firewall blocks viruses, worms and hackers. If yours is inadequate, it’s easier for these threats to break into and corrupt your network.

The Ponemon study

Released in early 2015, the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data may come as even more of a shock than KPMG’s survey. According to this study, 91% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach in the last two years, 39% have had two to five breaches, and 40% have had more than five.

So what’s the real reason for all these data breaches? The report claims that "cyber criminals recognize two critical facts of the healthcare industry: 1) healthcare organizations manage a treasure trove of financially lucrative personal information and 2) healthcare organizations do not have the resources, processes, and technologies to prevent and detect attacks and adequately protect patient data."

Although the information revealed by these two surveys is anything but positive, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. To protect your practice, there are five key steps you can take:

  1. Prevention - just as integral to data security as it is to your patients’ health
  2. Monitoring your network - so you know when and if your organization is under attack
  3. Management - of passwords, applications, and staff policies
  4. Compliance - it's your legal duty to be compliant with all rules and regulations in the industry, such as HIPAA
  5. Penetration testing - find the holes in your security that a hacker could exploit, and close them
These are just the basics of what you should be doing if you run any sort of healthcare center. Protecting the data of your patients, both personal and financial, is of paramount importance; failure to do so will result in fines or, worse still, the loss of your reputation. We have years of experience in designing, deploying and maintaining IT services and solutions tailored for the healthcare industry. To learn more about how you can protect the data of your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today.
Published with permission from Source.

September 10th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Sep10_AWearables, mobile apps and other mobile health (mHealth) devices are the latest technologies entering the healthcare industry. Some hospitals may have held off adopting mHealth, believing they won’t benefit much from it. Others remain concerned their patients won’t have much interest in these tools, or technical the knowledge required for them. But recent research shows a growing interest for patients when it comes to using mHealth, due to its cost-effectiveness and convenience. If you’re wondering what mHealth is, or are considering implementing it into your practice, here’s what you need to know.

mHealth defined

mHealth, also known as mobile health, refers to medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices.

How is mHealth used?

Medical institutions across the globe have applied mHealth to deliver healthcare and healthcare information to patients, with satisfying results. Some of the most common uses of mHealth include:
  • Remote data collection and monitoring
  • Diagnostic and treatment support
  • Telehealth and telemedicine
  • Patient safety systems
  • Emergency response systems
  • Healthcare staff telecommunications and training

Advantages of mHealth

There are many advantages of adopting mHealth, including its versatility across all aspects of health care and its potential to improve the monitoring of patients. Let’s take a closer look at the top three benefits of mHealth.
  • Improved data accuracy - entering medical data into mobile devices such as mobile workstations, laptops, and tablets helps eliminate the data entry errors that often occur when information is first recorded on paper and entered at a later time in electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
  • More data access - implementation of mHealth enables healthcare staff to not only enter, but also access, critical patient data from anywhere, at any time. In a scenario when you want to download, view, or transmit a patient’s health records online, you can easily do so with mHealth.
  • Better patient care - the ultimate goal of any healthcare technology is to improve patient care, and mHealth can definitely deliver on that promise. For instance, doctors can refer to their mobile devices for a list of viable diagnoses that they may not have otherwise considered, in order to ensure that patients get the best possible treatment plans.

Current market for mHealth

The number of mobile device users is increasing every day. The expansion of wireless network coverage also provides digital health systems with new possibilities to address even the most complex healthcare challenges. This leads to an increasing acceptance of mHealth in the medical industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, has estimated that the mHealth market will expand to $23 billion by 2017.

mHealth allows physicians to keep a close watch on their chronically ill patients without having to see them in the office. What’s more, they can collect health metrics such as weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels remotely, allowing for more convenience and cost-savings.

If you want to learn how implementing healthcare technology can benefit your business, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

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 Source.

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 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.


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 Source.

July 6th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Jun22_AWe’ve been hearing about nanotechnology for a while now, but it still seems a long way off. However, recent advancements in nanotechnology could revolutionize the healthcare and medical device industry, and change the landscape of healthcare delivery forever. Nanotechnology, the science of extremely small materials, holds the key to improving healthcare, from delivering drugs more effectively to providing better patient care and much more. You’re truly missing out if you’re not taking advantage of this groundbreaking innovation. Here’s how nanotechnology could change healthcare for the better.

Nanotechnology and cancer

The traditional method for curing cancer is chemotherapy, whereby patients take certain drugs to kill cancer cells before they spread. The powerful medication circulates in the bloodstream and directly damages the cancer cells that are growing and multiplying. But chemotherapy has the unfortunate side effect of also killing regular cells, which makes patients extremely sick and susceptible to other ailments.

Through the use of magnetic nanoparticles in a miniature resonance sensor, doctors are able to detect cancer early, increasing the patient’s chance of survival. Scientists have started using nanotechnology to devise a highly specific method of killing cancer cells. The process involves inserting nanotubes into cancer cells and exposing the tissue to laser light, heating up the nanotubes and killing the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Nanotechnology and brain disorders

Nanotechnology has made it possible for researchers to collect in-depth data on the human brain. By using nano-scale diamond particles, the brain’s activities are converted into frequencies of light that can be registered by external sensors, allowing researchers to study the brain in much greater detail.

With a microscopic size of just a billionth of a millimeter, nanoparticles are able to cross the blood brain barrier and access the brain’s remote areas. They have also shown tremendous potential in being a useful alternative to diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative diseases.

Nanotechnology and diagnostics

Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the way we collect medical data. Doctors are able to distribute nano-scale diagnostic devices throughout the body in order to detect chemical changes on the spot. This allows for real-time tracking of a patient’s health status.

Diagnosis techniques based on nanotechnology also provide several advantages, including complete diagnosis and treatment with just one visit to the doctor, rather than needing multiple follow-up visits. Another benefit is the accurate and early detection of diseases, which allows doctors to potentially stop diseases before they can cause more damage to the patient.

Want to learn how you can implement nanotechnology into your medical practices? Drop us a line today and get advice from our experts.

Published with permission from Source.

June 8th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Jun8_AThe past few years have seen rapid technological advancements in the medical industry, and healthcare institutions are focusing more than ever on implementing devices that deliver cheaper, faster, and more efficient patient care. Thought leaders in the healthcare industry are pushing out new ideas and technologies that are capable of increasing patient safety and survival rates - here are the latest innovations in medical practice.

Electronic aspirin

For people who suffer from daily or chronic headaches, or excruciating facial pain, taking ordinary aspirins may no longer do the trick. Now scientists have invented a new technology that is attached to Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) in order to alleviate migraines and other similar pains. The electronic aspirin is a patient-powered tool for blocking SPG signals at the first sign of a headache.

The system involves the permanent implant of a small nerve-stimulating device in the upper gum on the side of the head. The tip of the implant connects to the SPG, and when a patient feels the first signs of an imminent headache, they simply place a remote controller on their cheek, next to the implant. This triggers an electronic charge to stimulate nerve cells and block the pain-causing neurotransmitters. In tests, the end results showed clinical improvement in 68 percent of patients, who stated that they felt less pain.

Insulin patches

Diabetes self-care is a pain - literally. As well as conducting your own glucose blood tests, you also need to take daily insulin shots, which increases the risk of infection. Insulin patches are designed to deliver insulin painlessly through the skin similar to how transdermal patches like nicotine patches and muscle pain relief patches work.

An insulin patch is placed on the skin, and agents in the patch help insulin to pass through the skin and into the blood vessels. It can also be used to read blood analytes through the skin without actually drawing blood. The technology utilizes an electronic device that removes top-layer skin cells to place the patient’s blood chemistry within the signal range of the patch’s biosensor. The data is transmitted data wirelessly to a remote sensor, which emits an audible alarm if glucose levels are too high.

Cancer scanner

A surgical biopsy is an effective way to identify and diagnose skin cancer. But more often than not doctors find it hard to make the right call, and patients are left with unnecessary biopsy scars and end up paying for the high cost of surgery. The cancer scanner is a handheld tool used for tissue analysis and is not used to confirm a clinical diagnosis of cancer, but rather for when a dermatologist needs additional information to make the decision to perform a biopsy.

These healthcare innovations can reduce the overall cost of medical care, and help medical experts and patients to respond to health issues quickly, as well as to take preventative measures. If you’re looking to implement technology to your healthcare business, contact us today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from Source.