Most people are never satisfied with the speed of their local computers and network no matter how many upgrades they do. Often no amount of money spent on IT enhances their experience either. The same is true for us here at PracticeForces. Our secret though is that we relentlessly pursue performance excellence in everything we do, whether it’s Revenue Cycle Management or IT Services. This drive led us to develop an innovative upgrade approach that we implemented in-house, as well as with some of our clients. This method increased the speed of our clients’ local networks, and radically enhanced the performance of their aging EMR and servers.
As a result, their satellite offices now perform much better on virtual private network (VPN), and their security exceeds strict HIPAA requirements.
Let me share with you briefly how we developed this free upgrade approach for a client of PracticeForces, and how you can implement the same strategy to achieve similar or even greater results.
First, after contacting their internet service provider to determine the amount of pipe available for data throughput, we tested our client’s network to find out their highest achievable speed of data transfer. This particular client had not adjusted their router in 7 years, which limited their speed to just 10mpbs. Even though they had equipment capable of achieving 1gbps (VMware with 1 GB speed cards), their router severely limited their capability.
This was unacceptable as their entire server for EMR sat on VM Host. Also, contributing to the problem was the fact that their IP phones were incorrectly configured, resulting in a data transfer of only 10 MB throughputs in the entire network.
After doing an exhaustive hardware scan, we found that their local network was only sending the 10kbps data throughput instead of 1Gb. We changed their 6 year old router with a free Linux based PFSense installation on their VMware with two network cards.
This adjustment resulted in an immediate speed boost (1 GB data throughput) to their outside network and VP clients. This enabled their outside network to be connected through Open VPN, and transfer data at a reliable high speed of 300mbps. Additionally, this freed them up to utilize inbuilt network anti-virus software at the router level, instead of local antivirus at each computer.
The next step was to configure their VOIP phones data transfer rate to 100mbps. Moments after making this adjustment there was a noticeable difference in their EMR speed on their local network.
These upgrades were achieved without adding any new hardware or equipment to their existing environment. Because of our proven track record of enhancing performance with existing equipment, we feel it is vital to exhaust all available options before making any decision to change or purchase new equipment.
When upgrades are necessary
In situations where purchasing new technology in necessary, we’ve found technology based on open-sourced and Linux platforms to be better than proprietary ones like Windows. This is mostly due to the availability of performance related tools on the Linux platform. We have even found free software like PBX and 3CX, which can be easily configured and maintained on an existing VMware host.
What can you do today?
Here is a small cheat sheet of the free tools available for a small business office or medical practice:
- VMware Free edition to host multiple servers
- PFsense Linux router, DHCP Server, DNS, Firewall, the Security Appliance
- Free PBX or Free version of 3CX to manage the phones and configure even VOIP
- Voicepulse VOIP phone services
- MySQL Database Free available for most EMR including eClinicalWorks
- OPENVPN to connect to your PF sense Linux router.
I hope our experience encourages you to try and use some of the technology available to enhance the performance of your medical practice or small business.
Please feel free to contact us for any IT related performance issues in your network, or simply to optimize your IT infrastructure.