The Weak Link in Your HIPAA Compliance Is NOT Your Technology

Posted by John Feucht on Oct 25, 2014 8:23:00 AM

We talk about HIPAA compliance a lot on this blog. And for good reason, it’s a critically important yet often misunderstood issue for small medical practices. While we’ve addressed how to make sure your technology is HIPAA compliant in a number of posts, there’s another aspect of compliance to be addressed.

If your systems are set up correctly, they shouldn’t have a problem in keeping with HIPAA guidelines. However, the weak link in your HIPAA compliance is not your technology. It’s how you and your employees are using it.

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Topics: HIPAA

Got Multiple Offices? Here’s Why You Need to Utilize the Cloud

Posted by John Feucht on Oct 24, 2014 7:30:00 AM

While working across multiple offices may mean more business through a wider volume of patients, it also brings its own unique hassles. 

How often do you find yourself saving a file on one computer (like a quick reminder note in Notepad), only to try to unsuccessfully hunt it down on the new computer you’re on later?

Maybe you want to listen to some of your dictations of an earlier patient meeting, but the dictation software is only installed on one computer and surprise! - that computer’s down. You can’t download anything until it’s fixed later in the afternoon.

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Back It Up - A Guide to Data Backups for Small Medical Practices

Posted by John Feucht on Oct 23, 2014 8:12:54 AM

If you run a small medical practice, I have one question for you.

Are you backing up your data as often as you need to (and are you sure it’s working)?

Not only is backing up your data required by law by HIPAA, it’s a best practice that prepares you against a number of small disasters that could halt your operations immediately. Without proper backups, inevitable events such as computer or hard drive failures, power outages, or Internet outages mean you won’t be able to access patient files, test data, or even use your email.

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Topics: HIPAA

Why Hosted Desktops are THE Solution for Multi-Office Medical Practices

Posted by John Feucht on Oct 15, 2014 7:30:00 AM

Ask anyone who runs a multi-location medical practice: it’s no walk in the park.

Everything you need to do at one office, you now have to do at three or four. You need to coordinate schedules for who is going to be staffed at which location, plan for what hours each office will be open, and keep every location in sync and running smoothly so you can best serve your patients no matter where they are.

On top of it all, rather than make it easier, sometimes technology makes it even harder. Three office locations means three times as many computers, each with their own desktops, software, and peripherals. If a user saves something directly onto their computer, when they use a computer at a different office, they realize they don’t have the file they need. If everyone relies on the server at the main office, when the main office’s power or internet connection goes down, every other office grinds to a halt as well.

While there may be no magic bullet to make everything about running a multi-office practice easy, there is one solution that can solve all these IT frustrations and make technology a huge help rather a hindrance.
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Topics: IT advice for small business owners

How Your ISP Can Kill Your Cloud (and What To Do About It)

Posted by John Feucht on Oct 14, 2014 7:00:00 AM

If you’re like most small business owners, you’re probably itching to take advantage of all those wonderful benefits of the cloud you’ve been hearing so much about.

Increased productivity. Cost savings. Scalability.

Don’t have the budget for an IT staff? No problem. Outsource your IT support and services to a hosted IT partner.

While having an IT partner that can take care of all your IT needs with cloud services may sound great, don’t dive headfirst into signing up for cloud services without considering the #1 pushback to using the cloud: what if your internet goes down?

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Topics: IT advice for small business owners

Why Hosted Exchange is Better for Small Businesses than Gmail

Posted by John Feucht on Sep 24, 2014 2:42:11 PM

Gmail’s popularity among personal email users is certainly well-earned; it’s easy to use, cleanly designed, and rarely goes offline. (Rarely enough, that is, for personal use.) But as popular and useful as Gmail is, it’s not necessarily the best choice when you need a secure small business email system you can rely on to never go down (we've talked before about how the Google Suite isn't always the best solution). Hosted Exchange is a much more reliable alternative.

Hosted Exchange, as its name implies, is an email system hosted for your small business by a trusted IT partner. Email data is stored on a Microsoft Exchange server maintained by your IT partner and “pushed” to your computer and mobile devices over the Internet.

It’s very common for businesses to host their own Microsoft Exchange-based email in their own datacenters. Up until recently, this was the way almost all businesses—large and small—did email. Imagine transplanting those Exchange-based email servers from your business’s facility to a remote datacenter managed and maintained by an IT partner, and you have Hosted Exchange. Hosted Exchange provides all the benefits of a locally-hosted email system, minus the hassle and expense of keeping it running.

Here are some of the many reasons Hosted Exchange is a good fit for small businesses, especially in comparison to web services like Gmail:

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Topics: IT advice for small business owners

A Cheaper, Easier, More Convenient Way to Run QuickBooks for Your Small Business

Posted by John Feucht on Sep 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

The death of the desktop may or may not be imminent (we’ll leave that one for people with more time on their hands to think about) but one more argument for continuing to invest a hefty chunk of your small business budget in powerful desktop computers is quickly becoming irrelevant.

You don’t need to waste your money on powerful desktops—jam-packed with the latest processors and highest capacity hard drives—just to run that one software application your business couldn’t live without.

Advancements in cloud computing now make hosted applications a viable choice for small businesses looking for simpler, more affordable ways to equip their employees with their most critical software tools.

Hosted applications are just what they sound like: applications that run locally on your computers, laptops, and terminals, but that “live" on remote server space hosted by a trusted IT partner.

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Topics: IT advice for small business owners

The Ultimate HIPAA Compliance Checklist for Small Medical Practices

Posted by John Feucht on Sep 9, 2014 10:06:00 AM

If your experience is similar to that of most doctors who decide to take the plunge and start their own small medical practice, you probably had no idea how many  non-medical things you have to take care of to ensure your fledgling business is setting out on the right foot. Securing a business loan, hiring a staff, finding office space and moving in—so much to do. Well, here’s another thing to worry about: compliance with the data security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

When you’re the employee of a hospital or large healthcare network, HIPAA compliance is largely taken care of for you. When you own a small medical practice, the responsibility for protecting your patient’s sensitive health information (and protecting your own business from steep HIPAA penalties) rests squarely on your shoulders.

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Topics: HIPAA

What Makes a HIPAA Compliant Data Center?

Posted by John Feucht on Sep 4, 2014 1:17:00 PM

“Is your data center HIPAA compliant?”

We hear that question all the time from the owners of small businesses in the healthcare field—from one-doctor medical practices to health insurance brokerages—as they shop around for a host for their medical records systems, email, data storage, and other IT functions.

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Topics: HIPAA

Checklist: 22 Ways to Maximize Uptime

Posted by John Feucht on Aug 28, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Uptime is probably the single most important part of your IT setup - because downtime cost you your company's time and money.  Depending on your company, maybe your team could survive a whole day without email access (it might be a pain in the butt, but it could be done).  But what if you don't have that tolerance when it comes to response time? What if even going an hour without functioning email would grind everything to a halt?  Think of the same scenario, but this time it's a server that's gone down - how long can your team continue to do their jobs without access to any of their files?

Odds are: not very long.

So what can you do to prepare against the dreaded downtime? We've compiled a checklist to help you evaluate your IT environment.  All of the components below are essential to maximize uptime and keep your business running smoothly - without them, even a small bump in the road could leave you without the technology you need for hours.

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Topics: IT advice for small business owners