Office Equipment for Medical Offices
Medical offices are tasked with keeping patient costs reasonable, while keeping private medical information secure. The demands placed on healthcare facilities are significant, and choosing the right office equipment for medical offices is vital.
Just like any place of business, medical offices rely on certain equipment to communicate, stay organized and effectively operate, but regulatory requirements demand that systems are chosen with care. Consider the following when planning for the needs of your medical office:
Printers, Scanners and Copiers For Medical Offices
Medical professionals are required to keep thorough and accurate records on all patients, but an increasing number of practices are switching to paperless recording. Deciding to switch to a paperless medical office will save time and lower costs, and it will also affect your equipment purchases.
Higher-end multifunction printers can be integrated with document-management, billing, e-prescribing and email applications. Choose a scanner that will convert documents into searchable and encrypted formats. If you lease, rather than purchase equipment, find out if there are options for clearing the machine’s memory, so that your private data is not saved and viewable by an office supply company or anyone who leases the equipment in the future.
Computers and Mobile Devices
Computers and mobile devices have become valuable pieces of equipment for medical offices. As technology advances, more and more applications are available to health care professionals. Computers and mobile devices are used for a host of important tasks, such as:
- time management
- health record maintenance and access
- insurance communication
- information gathering and research
- patient management and monitoring
- continuing education
- clinical decision making
There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting computers and mobile devices for your office, but portability can be a double-edged sword. Laptops, smart phones, USB drives and even wearable devices are now in widespread use throughout the business world; however, security risks increase when an item can be lost or stolen. Any device chosen for its ease and portability should also include advanced security features. Simply setting a password may not be enough to protect important data. When choosing office equipment for medical offices, it’s also important to ensure that all computers and mobile devices comply with State and Federal medical privacy laws.
Any computer or mobile device that you purchase should be compatible with your office systems and software. It’s also helpful to choose devices that can communicate information easily back and forth. If information can only be accessed from one device, this can cause complications and ultimately hurt your bottom line.
Managing User Access and Security
No matter how many patients you serve, data backup and security are necessary components of maintaining your business and medical files. Electronic records are of no use if your network is breached and your data is lost. Patients rely on you to keep their medical information safe, and compromised data can ruin the reputation of a medical office.
The AMA published specific guidelines for allowing patient access to medical records and keeping them safe. It’s advisable to prepare for a disaster before it occurs. Any medical or personal data should remain safe from loss or corruption. Backing up data to an offsite location is one of the easiest ways to do this.. Consider keeping one physical backup, along with one stored in the cloud. Frequent automatic backups of a server should be scheduled to keep files safe. When deciding on a cloud solution, make sure that the service provide allows for the storage of encrypted data.
Medical offices should choose business-grade security software. Access to data on both laptops and desktops should be restricted. Any mobile devices and tablets that are used should be included in your security plan. Absolutely every computer in a medical office should be equipped with appropriate anti-virus software. A single virus on one device could corrupt or completely destroy all of your medical or business data.
Integrating Office Equipment
Medical offices use many different tools to produce medical records, schedule patients, bill and prescribe medications. When purchasing software or hardware for a medical practice, ensuring that all programs can be integrated is important.
When all systems work together seamlessly, there is no need to constantly switch from one piece of equipment to another or toggle between multiple applications. When purchasing office equipment for medical offices, keep in mind these needs:
- Word processing
- Medical records
- Security, anti-virus and encryption
- Billing and accounting
- Electronic records transfer
- Intake management
- Patient portals
- Electronic signatures and consent forms
Maintain Compliance While Integrating
The Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets forth mandatory rules for how medical offices protect the privacy of their patient’s protected health information. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who are responsible for HIPAA enforcement, understand that not all disclosures can be prevented, they do expect that certain privacy measures are put into place.
Medical offices should take reasonable precautions to safeguard patient privacy.
Purchase office equipment for medical offices with security compliance in mind. When purchasing portable office equipment, such as laptop computers, remember that these items could potentially be lost or stolen. Any portable equipment should have the capability of saving files in an encrypted format, so that private medical information is not accessible to any individual who steals or finds any equipment belonging to your medical office.
Find a Reliable Partner For Medical Office Equipment
It’s important to choose a supplier who frequently provides office equipment for medical offices and understands your unique needs. The right partner will help you to manage your costs, while staying compliant with State and Federal regulations. You can count on Stone’s Office Equipment to design workflow and paper-handling solutions that are efficient and scalable, while keeping operating costs to a minimum. Call us today at 804-288-9000.