10 Super Essential IT Tools for a Group Medical Practice

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This IT checklist lists essential IT tools for group a medical practice. These tools make the lives of physicians and patients more comfortable. This checklist can also be used to start your medical group practice. vmware, RightFax, Windows server, Acronis Backup, QuickBooks, Synology, mail express, Hootsuite, Acroprint time and attendance, 3cx, Medical Practice ,office 365

1. VMware Vsphere Essential version ESXI

VMware Vsphere ESXI is a free tool for managing up to four virtual servers in any environment. Medical practices should opt for this tool, which sits in between Windows server software and Dell or any hardware. This helps in managing multiple servers with very little space and provides scalability for the life of your EMR Data.

Even if your office is using a Cloud-based solution for critical applications like EMR, you still need domain servers, fax and phone servers, file servers for managing the daily office work or communication across the different offices and employees. One VMware license for VM center server can also be purchased for large size enterprises.

2. Patient Kiosk

The kiosk allows your patients to check in for their appointments with ease, confirm insurance information, and answer questionnaires — and links that information directly to the EHR. Your front-office staff gain time they can use to answer calls and assist other patients. Why force your patients & your front office staff to do more work? Digital patient consent forms are faster & easier. Your patients fill out forms at home or on an iPad during each office visit. Once the forms are complete, the data is automatically loaded into the patient file. Your staff doesn’t have to scan documents, file or worry about shuffling through stacks of papers.

3. 3CX Cloud-based/Onsite Phone System

IP Phones are the best option for multiple locations, multi-provider offices. 3CX and Fonality phone server applications provide some great Cloud-based solutions that can also be installed on a small server site. Our recommendations would be to keep data in-house and use an in-house server. These solutions work with Voicepulse or any IP based telephony service. The cost of IP based telephony services is very cheap compared to the analog phone line. these solutions are flexible enough to move without changing the analog line in case your practice location changes.

Internal servers are faster than the cloud, and free-from ongoing subscription charges and data remain in your control. 3CX servers provide multi-location advantages and a reliable recording facility. You can configure your holiday messages and patient phone calls for better call center service. Supervisors are even able to jump into calls to intervene if required.

Calls can be forwarded to outside locations to save answering service expenses. You may use iPhone apps to make calls using the same network, and run both data and phone traffic on one network wire; this gives iPhones a tremendous edge over traditional, analog phone lines. ALERT if you decide to go to the cloud then expect a little delay in your calls.

4. 2016/2019 Windows Servers

Windows Servers 2016 or 2019 are lifelines for IT infrastructure. You can use these servers to connect desktops under one network, and install phone and fax servers, DHCP and file servers. Most EMR or database applications require a Windows server platform. These are the most important IT assets to your organization. Additionally, you may want to learn how to increase the speed of these networks.

5. Backup Strategy, Including Acronis or Windows backup

Possibly the most misunderstood essential IT tools for group a medical practice is  backup storage, on-site and online, provides peace of mind against disastrous failures, such as hard drive crashes and server failures. Windows 2008 and 2012 provide a great backup utility to help in restoring data in real-time; however, if you are looking for restorations that are more flexible and application-based, then we recommend using Acronis.

Acronis is a leading software in backup disaster management that can be installed on every desktop or server. If you are using VMware, then you have a different version of this designed for VMware. NetGear and Dell provide network-based storage solutions that can be used for the whole enterprise.

We also recommend creating an additional storage drive on each server for dedicated backups, which will allow the data to be restored in a much faster way than using network-based storage.

6. Fax Servers Such as RightFax

HIPAA compliant fax servers are essential applications that should be deployed in the entire enterprise. RightFax is a great tool that provides HIppa compliant solution for medical groups or business that deal with patient data. Practices should use these software solutions to send faxes with guaranteed security. Most EMR comes with their own built-in faxing solutions, which can be used as well.

7. Secure Encrypted Email Exchange Through Globalscape or Appriver

A secure email exchange service is extremely important if you use email in patient communication. Appriver and Globalscape provide secure email solutions that are easy to use and protect patient confidentiality. Secure communication is extremely important from a compliance perspective.

8. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a great accounting solution for practice offices large and small. Network-based versions can manage your HR functions, bill pay, self-pay patient invoicing and vendor management very effectively. We recommend keeping the accounting software in-house and providing remote access to an external accountant using the terminal server.

This gives you total control over your data and helps you avoid duplicate data entry and errors during the transition from paper-based accounting data to the CPA firm. In the new version of QuickBooks, you can scan invoices and important documents centrally, providing a repository of all important documents in one place. You can also link scanned documents to their respective accounts.

9. Acroprint and Other Fingerprint Readers

Biometric fingerprint readers are a great choice for tracking employee hours; Acroprint provides amazing solutions for this. Depending upon the size of your group, you can pick from different versions of Acroprint, through which data can be exported to QuickBooks as a report, creating an accurate payroll for the period.

10. Hootsuite.com

Last but not least, Hootsuite.com is a great tool to market your services by using multiple social media platforms all in one place. Social media is a great way to connect with new or existing patients and can help in marketing and patient satisfaction.

If you can think of any other essential IT tools for group a medical practice that we missed or can suggest, send us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Parul Garg, CEO and co-founder of PracticeForces, has significantly contributed to the growth of over 1,000 U.S. medical practices through her expertise in medical billing and coding since the company’s inception in 2003. With a background in Computer Science and an MBA in Human Resources, her leadership and AAPC-certified coding skills have been pivotal in managing the company’s operations effectively.

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