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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on October 29th, 2015

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How to Connect with Your Practice and Access Data From Anywhere

Practice Management | Healthcare Advice

Connect with Your PracticeIn the digitally connected, technology rich healthcare environment, physicians can connect with their practice and access valuable information from anywhere in the world, whether it is an obstetrician in route to deliver a preterm baby or oncologist on call for the local emergency room  who gets a call on the 17th hole of his favorite course.

There are many ways, like the ones below, to stay connected in our mobile society.

Laptops and Convertibles for On-the-go Connections

Accessing patient records and back office analytics while away from the office using a laptop or convertible device is easy from anywhere in the world. Physicians can simply login using their secure passcode and authentication protocol and connect with the same procedures as he or she would from the exam room.

Diverse systems utilize diverse authentication mechanisms from smart cards and passwords to sophisticated biometrics and USB tokens.There are some similarities and some distinct differences to each device solution and practitioners should consider their patients and their off-site utilization patterns before deciding which one, or ones, will be best-fit for the organization.

  • Convertibles are a bit more durable than laptops, but often come with desirable features like built-in cameras, stylus and full keyboard.
  • Laptops are lightweight, easily transportable and generally have CD/DVD capabilities so it is easy to share digital x-ray images with patients. The laptop concept is popular among many physicians and if equipped with front-facing camera, stylus and touch screens, this is an excellent tool for diagnosing and information sharing away from the office.
  • Tablets are smaller and weigh less than convertibles or laptops. Tablets generally are wi-fi enables, but do not have Ethernet ports or CD/DVD devices.

Interfaces and Connective

There is a growing movement that supports meeting patients where they are as a way to achieve Meaningful Use benchmarks. Physicians who travel into communities to provide medical screenings or connect with hard-to-reach patient groups beyond clinical walls and traditional exam rooms, often rely on interfaces to connect to the EHR and access patient records.

Fully integrated systems equipped with interoperability features may also enable connections through hospital kiosks, smartphones and other devices supplied by external facilities and EHR solution vendors.

System Solutions & Requirements

Although connecting to your practice to access data from anywhere is possible as long as there is an internal connection, or access to the Internet via WI-FI or Ethernet port, privacy and data security must be in the forefront of every medical provider's mind before completing a connection. HIPPA regulations, MU standards and other compliance mandates demand rigorous authentication protocol is in place. There are a variety of remote connection options:

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) enable remote workers to connect to a cloud-based centralized network. VPNs are typically used by large hospitals and third-party payment processors working with insurance companies and multiple clients. One of the advantages of VPN technology is that the desktop interface mimics the clients normal in-office setup. There are some security concerns since data resides on laptops and mobile access devices.

Connecting remotely to your practice is not limited to accessing patient files, physicians and administrators may use remote technology solutions to manage clinical, financial, and operational data. Connect from anywhere, anytime to improve quality of care, revenue capture and coordination of health services.

Key Focus Points:

  • Cloud-based solutions work with diverse digital devices
  • Some platforms and networks provide stronger security and privacy protection
  • Remote access is not limited by geographic boundaries 

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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.