Has Your Internet Provider Setup Your Internet Access But Never Helped You Make It Work?

They provide a modem and send the bill, but sometimes you need a bit more help getting your Internet to work – and make it work for you!

Healthcare Internet Providers

Technology is the primary topic of every healthcare reform conversation, whether regarding billing or electronic health records (EHR), medical research, diagnostics, or advancements in treatments. From pacemakers to dialysis treatments, from radiologic magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to bionic limbs, much of modern medicine and medical discoveries are thanks to technology.

Research hospitals benefit from the latest technology to discover treatments and “cures”, and technology has aided in the diagnosis of broken bones, diagnosis and treatment of major illnesses, and performance of routine tests for preventive care with minimally invasive procedures.

The Basics

Healthcare clinics rely on technology for daily operations, too. A healthcare clinic contacted us recently after moving into a new location in Fort Worth. After completing the process for moving in their furniture, getting electricity and utilities established, their telecom provider set the office up for Internet access, but the clinic faced the next challenge of making their technology work.

When a telecommunications provider like Verizon, Cox, or Charter work with customers to provide Internet access, this often ends with the provider installing a connection in the wall for a cord to plug into, and offering the customer a modem for Internet access – at a cost, of course. After this, the telecom customer is usually on their own to figure out a plan for making the Internet work in the manner for which they need.

Upgrades

Once connected to the Internet, a healthcare clinic faces a multitude of “how to” decisions:

  • Securing EHRs
  • Processing patient billing and insurance claims
  • Maintaining HIPAA and HITECH compliance
  • Use cloud-based hosted systems to simplify processes
  • Protecting all systems

And that’s just the start – connecting to the Internet is just the first step!

Modern medical facilities take advantage of cloud data storage and EHR. At one time or another, EHRs in small practices may have used software stored on an in-house server, but nowadays it’s more common to take advantage of hosted software through providers like Athena Health which requires using the Internet to access cloud-based EHRs. This is different from practice management, like CareCloud which is still cloud-based software.

The Cloud Connection

If the purpose of technology is to simplify our lives, then cloud computing has only further streamlined everything. The network of devices and technologies that make up the cloud varies from one healthcare clinic to the next, but one thing remains the same: the cloud has improved medicine!

Technology has helped medical practices contain costs while increasing productivity and simultaneously improving patient care. While it’s debatable if productivity and patient care should be mentioned in the same discussion, a medical practice is still a business, and has to be run like any other company. If the practice isn’t profitable, it flounders, putting medical staff out of a job and leaving patients without a care provider.

The cloud can’t sacrifice confidentiality and privacy at the cost of security. The Fort Worth healthcare clinic that had Internet installed in their office needed to make their technology work – and work together!

Several of the questions they had included:

  • How does an office set up a wireless network?
    • Sure, the Internet provider sold them a modem that was plugged into the wall connection, but how did this “box” become a wireless network everyone can use – from laptops in exam rooms to smartphones and tablets? Aside from the modem, the office needs a wireless router, and after a few basic steps, a wireless network is established. This does not mean the network is secured – just that it’s set up.
  • How do computers connect to the network and the Internet?
    • The vast majority of computers sold today come with built-in Wi-Fi adapters, ready to connect to wireless routers for wireless network access and the Internet.
  • How does a fax machine work with VoIP?
    • A lot of traditional offices stick with landline telephone systems, but the popular choice is quickly changing to voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), which offers the same options as landlines – and more – but is a more economical solution for the long run.
    • Offices can use a fax machine with a VoIP system, but an adapter will be required and it’s a complicated set-up that’s not always reliable. A better solution is to transition to an eFax alternative, which works like traditional fax technology except the fax is transmitted to an email rather than a fax machine.
  • How can we use EHRs and protect the data?
    • Because EHRs include personally identifiable information (PII), they fall under HIPAA requirements to secure the records, and the responsibility for ensuring these records are secure is the provider maintaining and storing the records.
    • EHRs allow providers to access data more efficiently, allowing for improved patient care, but they increase the security risk for practices. Safety measures built-in to EHR systems include access controls like complex PINs or passwords, audit trails that records details on anyone accessing the information, and data encryption methods.

The big question most healthcare clinics ask…

“How can we make sure everything is secure, safe, and compliant?”

Patients view their EHRs as sharing important information about their medical history with their provider at every visit, and eliminating the chance of forgetting critical information – not some high-tech super-secret process. The irony is, it’s both!

Dr. Marie Savard, physician and author of How to Save Your Own Life, hints that an electronic medical record is only as good as its availability, and access is just as important as protecting the data.

Partnering with an IT security consultant like the Fort Worth healthcare clinic did is the right choice for one main reason: expertise. Medical providers oversee medical care, and leave the IT security to the IT experts, so each can focus on what the respective provider does best!

Managed IT services providers like Data Magic  focus on protecting healthcare providers from cybercrime and data breaches, with solutions like:

  • Firewalls to protect your information from unauthorized users
  • 24/7 monitoring to protect systems from viruses and malware
  • Web filtering to monitor Internet traffic and avoid dangerous sites and traffic
  • Password management, including education about password best practices
  • System updates and security patches
  • Wireless and device protection to expand security to smartphones and tablets

Internet providers install and set up Internet access, but that’s about it – and rightfully so! The next step in going online could result in a life-or-death situation for a medical practice, so take steps to protect your systems. Your technology – and your patients – will benefit from your decision.

Published By : Shane Kimbrel   On: 11 July 2018