3 key physician considerations before implementing new practice technology

This article was originally published here

Healthcare providers continue to seek innovative technology to boost efficiency and ease administrative burden.

Before adopting that next piece of equipment, though, Mark Hollis, CEO of Lincoln, Neb.-based MacPractice, advises physicians to consider three components of technology purchases.

1. Don’t be blinded by acquisition cost. Mr. Hollis specifically recommends providers invest in Macs over PCs. Referencing an IBM study, presented at the Jamf Nation User Conference in October 2016, Mr. Hollis relays the following stats:

• PCs cost three times the amount of Macs’ management costs
• PCs require eight times the amount of support calls compared to Macs’ needed support
• Every PC costs $535 more over four years, compared to a Mac’s cost

Based on this study, IBM realized acquisition costs account for a fraction of the total cost of purchasing a business computer.

“One key factor is the concept of cost of total of ownership. Doctors are easily confused and mislead by [IT] people who have it in their own best interest to tell them that a Mac is more expensive,” Mr. Hollis says.

He suggests providers consider these questions before purchasing an operating system:

• What are your annual costs for onsite IT services?
• How often does onsite IT support interfere with your day-to-day operation?
• How safe do you feel, and how confident are you that your IT provider can protect your patients’ data and your practice’s reputation?

2. Avoid and minimize risk. The healthcare industry is witnessing an increasing number of cyberattacks, especially in the form of ransomware.

Mr. Hollis notes employees are often the inadvertent culprits of these breaches when they click on embedded links in emails.

“We try to train employees on how to use email, but the problem with that is it doesn’t work,” he explains. Instead, he recommends organizations refrain from giving email to everybody, unless it is critical to their jobs.

Additionally, facilities may consider minimizing internet access. “Let them limit their personal internet access to their personal time, device and connection,” he advises.

Organizations may also want to consider purchasing macOS, as Mr. Hollis says this operating system has not experienced any ransomware attacks.

3. Is the cloud more secure? Mr. Hollis says the cloud is not inherently more secure, and presents a significant target for cyberattacks.

“So, cloud vendors’ claims of greater security are purely based upon the ability of the host (the company that owns the equipment where your data resides) to employ many more and much better cybersecurity experts than you,” explains Mr. Hollis.

But he warns that providers can’t shift responsibility of protecting electronic protected health information to someone else.

“You share responsibility for protecting ePHI you collect, and you retain sole responsibility for your own network devices, computers and browsers required to access a web-based solution,” says Mr. Hollis.

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