November 24th, 2015

VoIP_Nov24_AVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are designed to provide a reliable and cost-effective telecommunication environment for businesses. If you’re looking to deploy a VoIP telephony system for your company, you’ll probably come across the acronyms FXS and FXO from time to time. But what exactly do these phrases mean? Here, we’ll explain the difference between FXS and FXO, so you can choose the perfect VoIP system for your business.

FXS and FXO are the interfaces for analog telephony, also called POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). Using these interfaces enables a call to be established - the ports provide the necessary electricity, dial tone, and call signal.

What is an FXS port?

FXS stands for Foreign Exchange Subscriber, a port that connects the router or access server to end-user equipment such as office phones, fax machines, or modems. In other words, it is a plug on the wall that delivers dial battery, loop current, and ringing voltage to the device, so that the analog signal can be transmitted.

What is an FXO port?

FXO stands for Foreign Exchange Office, a port on the end communication device, such as an office phone or fax machine. The FXO connects the device to the FXS port, as well as to the outside telephone line, requesting the dial tone needed to initiate a call.

How the connection works

In order for a call to work, a telecommunication line from an FXO port must be connected to an FXS port, and vice versa. The process for making calls is simple: when your FXS and FXO ports are connected, you will receive a signal from the telephone company through the FXS port in the wall. This signal is then transmitted to the FXO port connected to the device so that, when you pick up the phone, you hear the dial tone. Then you dial the phone number, which is passed as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) digits to the FXS port, allowing you to make the call.

When you’re receiving an inbound call, on the other hand, the FXS port receives the call, then sends a ring voltage through the FXO port to your end device. The phone will ring, and you can pick it up to answer the call.


The signal transmission process becomes more complex when you implement an additional network element, such as VoIP gateway. You need an FXS gateway to connect one or more lines to a VoIP system or provider. You’ll also need an FXO gateway to connect the VoIP system with analog phone lines, and to translate the analog phone line to a VoIP call.

In summary...

  • FXS is a plug on the wall, and FXO is a plug on the phone
  • FXS provides the dial tone, and FXO requests it
  • FXS is a port that receives a call; FXO is a port that initiates it
Want to learn more about FXS, FXO, or VoIP? Give us a call and our telephony experts will be happy to help.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic VoIP General
November 23rd, 2015

Blogging has gone from being a fun side project for aspiring creatives to an absolute necessity for businesses of all sizes. For many companies, especially small to medium-sized ones, it’s likely to be just about the only web page that is updated with any regularity on their websites. And that’s why you need to be pushing your blogs. With hard work and engaging content, you can morph your company’s blog from afterthought to valuable asset that brings in people to your site.

Do any of these sound like your blog?

Sporadic posts often months apart A once vibrant blog that is now nothing more than digital tumbleweeds blowing by A page that says “coming soon”

We’re not here to judge. However, if any one of these scenarios resembles the current state of your blog, it might be time to do something about it. We know you’re busy and that the last thing you want to do is write about your business but, with content that is carefully crafted and curated, your company will have an unique asset that can help lead your marketing, by establishing you as an expert in your field, and promote sales efforts by driving people to your website.

You’re probably wondering where to begin. Well go ahead and reset the password for your WordPress or Tumblr account, because we have a few pointers to help you get started.

Use your blog to build your brand identity

For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be difficult to build a brand identity. You have your logo and colors, but what does your brand consist of beyond that? What is its personality, what characteristics does it have, and what is its tone? These are just a few of the questions you need to consider before you begin writing your blog posts, or having someone else write them for you, of course, which is a good option for busy business people.

A blog that reflects the personality of your business helps to give you a brand identity in the minds of readers by letting them know just what your company is. A hardware store is most likely going to want the contents of its blog to be straightforward, reliable and no-nonsense, while a marketing company is likely to have a blog that shows off its creativity, playfulness and skill at design and wordplay. This is your chance to develop your company’s identity, and explore just how you wish to be perceived by online readers.

Tip: Before starting to write posts for your blog, picture your business as a person, and write down what this person would say and how they would say it. This should be used as the foundation for each and every blog post.

Create a strategy and schedule for your blog

A clearly defined schedule and game plan for your blog will help make sure that once the ball starts rolling, it keeps rolling. Your goal from a scheduling perspective should be to have at least one new post a week. More is always better, but weekly posts will at least let both readers and Google know your site is still active.

In terms of a blogging strategy, don’t feel like every post needs to be a second coming of The Odyssey. Sometimes all you need to do is come up with a quick tip, or share a video you think is useful to people visiting your website. Varying the the length and type of content featured on your blog is a good way to keep things fresh.

Tip: At the start of each month, you should come up with blog topics and a deadline for each post. This should help make sure content is always going up on your blog.

Lead and inform, but do not sell

One of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized businesses with a blog is to keep the content related to your company without putting on the hard sell. Realistically, the goal of your blog should be to point people in the direction of your business without pushing them into buying something. They should be able to reach that conclusion organically.

Let’s use an auto parts store as an example. A blog on the quality of the windshield wipers it sells is unlikely to generate a lot of interest. That’s because it is not something that resonates with a lot of people. A post on the dangers of driving with old wiper blades, however, will help get readers more interested in investing in new blades. And the good news for them is that they can purchase new wiper blades right, without even having to leave your website.

Tip: In addition to creating informational posts, don’t be afraid to add blog posts about your employees, especially if you do not have dedicated staff pages on your website. This can enable people get to know the names and faces behind your business, and help potential customers to feel more comfortable with your company as a whole.

You made it to our blog, so there must be something to this whole blogging thing. Get in touch with us if you want to know more about how blogging, or any other technology-related tools, can help add value to your business. And of course, feel free to keep reading our blog while you’re here!

Published with permission from Source.

November 16th, 2015

You have finally decided your small or medium-sized business is ready to utilize Business Intelligence (BI) software. This is a big step for your company and one that must be approached with diligence. If you are not careful the cost of BI software, not to mention training, could far outweigh the actual benefits you end up receiving. However, with thoughtful BI planning, you are likely to see results you would have never thought possible.

Quite a few business owners see other companies using BI software and tools successfully and hope to emulate those results. Unfortunately, BI goes far beyond installing a program on your employee’s computers and expecting them to churn out results because of it. In fact, without proper planning in place, you could end up losing money on your BI investment.

If you’re ready to bring BI software and tools to your small or medium-sized business but aren’t quite sure what your should be looking for, here are four things you need to consider during the planning process.

What data do you need to know

BI software is great at helping you obtain data and presenting it to you in all kinds of different ways. But it’s only helpful if you can actually use the information. Too many businesses jump on the BI software bandwagon because they hear about the great results other companies have achieved using these tools. However, if you don’t know what information you’re looking for or how to use that data to your advantage, BI software essentially becomes a toy for you and your staff to play with.

That’s why you need to fully understand what information and data your business needs before implementing any BI software. This will help you pick the best tool for your needs and then utilize it to great effect.

Create specific goals

When you are planning to implement BI software it is vital to have a specific endgame in mind. Increasing profits sounds great but it’s hard to utilize BI effectively when tackling a goal of that magnitude. Instead focus on performance metrics you can measure like higher closing rates or more online conversations. This will help make your planning easier and allow you to find the BI tools required to reach those goals as well as track your progress along the way.

Think about today and the future

It is important to not only think about BI software in correlation to your short term goals but your long term ones as well. You want to make sure your BI software is useful both now and in the future. Find something that can grow alongside your company over the long haul. You don’t want to constantly be changing or adding on to BI tools unless it is absolutely necessary. If possible, find BI solutions that are scalable and flexible so they can help over a longer period of time.

Keep it simple

Sometimes the desire to know more about your company can see you end up overloading your staff and employees with complex toolsets and data. The goal, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, should be data that is quickly accessible and easy to comprehend. This will allow you and your team to make speedy and informed decisions. Convoluting the process with unnecessary information or complicated process will only serve to negate what you are trying to do by installing BI software in the first place.

BI tools and software are designed to help you work smarter, not harder. When you plan to bring them to your company, this is something you will want to keep at the forefront of your decision making process.

If your company is looking to start utilizing BI tools, our team of experts can help. Together we can create a BI plan that works best for your business.

Published with permission from Source.

November 12th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Nov12_AAs healthcare practices across the nation continue to find out, patients place ever-diminishing levels of importance on care alone. While it is and will forever be a factor that influences a person’s decision, convenience has become another key area patients look at when choosing a healthcare facility. Online scheduling, in particular, has become something more and more of us consider when selecting a healthcare provider.

In order to succeed in today’s technology-driven world, you have to provide convenience alongside top-notch care. As the use of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices has permeated society, healthcare hasn’t always done a great job of keeping up. Those facilities that have kept up with tech trends have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide, while places relying on the old ways continue to remain stagnant in both areas.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest, and most popular, pieces of technology used by forward-thinking healthcare clinics. With this, patients are able to see when a doctor is available and schedule an appointment using your website. According to research from Accenture, 38 percent of all healthcare appointments will be scheduled online by 2019. Still not convinced your practice needs it? Here are 4 additional benefits of online scheduling.

New patients prefer it

More than ever, people are less inclined to make phone calls especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one that has online scheduling to avoid having to make a call. If you don’t want your practice to miss out on potential new patients, having online scheduling is a no brainer.

More time for your staff

Think about how much time your staff spends each day answering phone calls from people needing to make an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Imagine if they were able to focus on patients at your facility instead of being on the phone with ones who want to be there. It would probably improve the level of care each person receives while at your facility. This will allow patients at your office to feel as if they are truly being taken care of and increasing the chances they return in the future.

Added flexibility for patients

One of the most difficult things for a patient is trying to schedule an appointment when your office is closed. If something happens at 8pm, they have no way of knowing if you will have time to see them the next morning. This puts them in a bind as they either have to take time off work and hope you can see them or go into work in the morning and wait until they can make an appointment.

With online scheduling, this problem is easily avoidable. They can simply log in to your website and see when you are available. This allows your patients to plan their schedule accordingly around the visit without having to wait until the next day.

You’re going to need it eventually

Sure, you probably can get away with not having online scheduling at the moment and maybe even for the next year or two, but eventually the time will come for your practice to embrace the technology. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your staff trained and the sooner your patients can enjoy the benefits of it. And for those healthcare providers who think online scheduling is simply a passing trend, well we’re sure there were plenty of doctors who said the same thing about the telephone when it was first introduced.

Need help setting up online scheduling at the your practice? Want to learn more about how technology can help make things easier for your patients? Talk to our IT experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

November 10th, 2015

Hardware_Nov10_AWith the holidays approaching, computers are likely to be among the season’s best-selling gifts. But there are so many different types of computers out there, each with varying specifications and capabilities - how do you find the best one for your needs? Whether you’re purchasing a computer for yourself, for your loved one, or for your friend at work, here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you make the right decision.

Desktop or Laptop?

This depends on your working style and environment. The rule is quite simple: if you rarely work out of the office, get a desktop PC. If you need to work at home, on the go, or at client meetings, then go for a laptop. It’s worth noting that desktops are generally cheaper than laptops at similar specifications, have a longer usage life, and make for easier changing or upgrading of components. Laptops, on the other hand, are very portable due to their compact size, they consume less energy, and they offer a more flexible user experience.


If you want a computer that loads programs in a flash, completes tasks almost instantly, and runs smoothly at all times, then we recommend you invest in the strongest processors available. The performance of a processor is determined by its number of cores and speed, so the bigger the number, the better. Processors with two to four cores will often suffice for most users. However, if your tasks involve rendering high-definition images, animations, graphics, and analysis, then for optimum results it makes sense to get a processor with more than four cores.


Random Access Memory (RAM) allows your computer to perform multiple tasks at once without a hitch. Just like processors, the amount of RAM your computer has will determine how fast it will run when you work on several programs simultaneously. Nowadays, standard computers come with 1-2GB of RAM. However, we advise you to get at least 4GB, or even 8GB, of RAM so that you can navigate smoothly between tasks such as email browsing, Internet surfing, and working on word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Hard Drive

The bigger the hard drive, the more space you have to store files. If you plan on using your computer with no peripherals, you’ll want to choose a computer that offers the biggest hard drive. But remember that you can always purchase an external hard drive to transfer or store files if your current hard drive is running out of space. Another thing to consider in a hard drive is its spin speed. Modern computers usually have 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives, the latter being more efficient. The faster your hard drive disk is spinning, the quicker data can be transferred to and from it.

Operating Systems

Picking an operating system is a big decision when it comes to choosing a new computer. You’ll probably want to stick with an operating system you’re already familiar with, since it can take some time to adapt yourself to a new OS. Here are some of the popular options available on the market:
    • Windows
    • Mac
    • Linux
    • Ubuntu
Most people will just go for either Windows or Mac OS, because the complexity of Linux and Ubuntu mean they are are not popular among everyday users.

Want more hardware tips and tricks? Get in touch with our technology experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
November 9th, 2015

164_A_SMFor many business owners who have dabbled in social media, they may think their efforts have been in vain and growing a large social media presence is impossible. They may go as far to believe that social media simply doesn’t work, especially when you don’t have an exciting brand like Nike or Google. The truth is you can succeed with social media, even if you have a boring brand. And here is one company that is doing just that.

Owning a “boring brand” is not an excuse for a poor social media presence

You've probably heard of 3M but may not know exactly what they do. However, there’s a good chance you may have some of their products in your house. If you have Ace bandages, Scotchgard, or Post-it notes lying around your bathroom or home office, then you are guilty of being an owner of 3M products.

So when it comes to social media, why does this company matter? Simple. They have 121,000 followers on Twitter, which may sound pretty remarkable when the name of this brand isn’t Apple, BMW or Taylor Swift. So how does a company like 3M succeed? Here are a few things they do well, and you can do too.

Invest in people

If you’re the sole person shooting out tweets, updating the status of your business’s Facebook page or writing articles to post on Linkedin - all while you’re trying to run your business - it’s no wonder your social media presence is failing. You know as well as anyone, that you don’t have the time for it. And for this reason, it’s impossible to put your full effort into growing a social media presence. So why not hire at least one expert (or maybe a few) to manage it for you? You’ll likely see a noticeable uptick in your followers. And even better, you’ll no longer be distracted with social media, and can focus on growing your business. What’s not to love about that?

As for may wonder, how many people do they employ to manage their social media presence? The answer is about ten, which is a very tiny percentage of the 90,000 employees who work there. Obviously, with 120,000 followers, their efforts are paying off.

Shoot for more content over quality content

Quality content is undoubtedly important, but quality should not be an excuse to avoid publishing content. As a business owner, that means you can’t review and approve every post and article that goes out. You need to trust your social media team to do their job. What’s more, you may fear that your team could commit some social media faux pas and accidentally publish content that outrages some of your followers. Here’s a news flash for you: it’s likely going to happen at one point or another. 3M publishes content quickly. Do you think they’ve posted content that some of their 120,000 followers have disagreed with? Of course they have. When you speak to the masses, there is no way to please everybody. So sit back, accept it and trust your social media staff. Mistakes will happen, but nothing engages your followers more than fresh, timely content. That is except for this last pointer...

Ask questions

Many social media platforms are all about engagement. If you’re aiming for more followers, you need to engage your customers and prospects. And a perfect way to do so is to ask questions. Not only does this create a connection between your brand and your customer, but it also attracts new followers. 3M posed the question, “what does science mean to you?” to their Twitter following with some incredible results. The tweet generated more than 500 favorites and 200 retweets. This is an example of the power of a question. So when it comes to social media, remember to ask questions, respond and engage. This is what many of the platforms are designed for.

What it comes down to is that your business already provides value and improves your customers’ lives in one way or another. If it didn’t, no one would buy from you and you wouldn’t have a business to begin with. So leverage that value and educate your customers on social media. You are the expert, and there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say.

For assistance with your social media presence or any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Social Media
November 3rd, 2015

Office_Nov3_AFor Mac users who have been waiting with great anticipation, Office 2016 for Mac is finally available. The new version is worth the wait; Microsoft has implemented exciting new upgrades to improve the user experience. Office 2016 possesses far superior functionality and user interface than its predecessor, Office 2011. We’ve highlighted some of the new features of Microsoft Office’s core applications and cloud-based services that you need to be aware of.

So what’s new?

The obvious change in Office 2016 for Mac is the user interface. You’ll experience a cleaner and more modern design that looks consistent across all core applications. The toolbars and icons have been redesigned with a minimalistic approach, resulting in less clutter and making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Looks are not the only improvement. Office 2016 for Mac provides huge improvements to the performance of Microsoft’s well-known applications.

Word 2016

Apart from the interface changes, in Word 2016 multiple Mac users can now work simultaneously on the same document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, a notification that highlights the changes is sent to other users. This new feature is similar to that of Google Docs, where users can collaborate by sharing and editing files online. Word 2016 includes a style pane on the right-hand side of the screen. When selected, you can apply pre-set styles to texts and paragraphs. What’s more, Word 2016 also adds a nifty new navigation pane, allowing you to navigate through files based on the changes you’ve made, including comments, formatting, deletion, and more.

PowerPoint 2016

The most prominent change made to PowerPoint 2016 is the redesigned ribbon. Many ribbons have been removed, renamed, and given new icons. The new PowerPoint also has the very same collaboration features as Word, meaning you and your colleagues can edit presentations simultaneously. In addition, Microsoft has added 24 all-new themes to PowerPoint, and these aren’t just normal themes - with just one click, you can alternate between different color palettes, fonts, and background styles for your current theme. These new features are identical to the ones in PowerPoint for Windows, but they have more functionality and are much easier to use.

Excel 2016

As soon as you launch Excel 2016, you’ll be greeted by its modern new appearance. One addition is a slicer tool that greatly increases the performance of pivot tables. With slicers, you can create buttons that simplify data filtering in a pivot table report without the need to use drop-down lists. Another new feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Analysis Toolpak extension. This add-on is especially useful if you want to generate complex statistical and engineering data - the Analysis Toolpak offers a number of advanced formulas that were absent in the former Excel for Mac 2011.

Outlook 2016

The previous Outlook for Mac 2011 proved to be flawed in many areas. And if you find that Apple Mail is not living up to your expectations, Outlook 2016 will be a great alternative to meet your email needs. As with other Office 2016 applications, the new Outlook has gotten a visual revamp. Some notable new features include improved usability, such as a blue vertical bar spanning across unread messages, faster email search and filtering, and a more powerful database and mail server that enables you to send and receive messages much more quickly.

Want to learn more about Office 2016 for Mac, and how you can implement it into your business? Give us a call today; we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

November 2nd, 2015

As it is only a matter of time before the first winter storms hit in many places, you might want to consider taking a look at your company’s business continuity plan. Each year heavy snowfall and other weather-related incidents interrupt services and cost businesses money. One way to prevent this from happening is by communicating with clients and staff before a storm hits, in order to ensure everyone is prepared.

While weather varies drastically depending on where you live, nowhere is immune from inclement conditions during the winter. It’s only a matter of time before your local weatherperson appears on TV warning you to brace for yet another “Storm of the Century”, and in turn everyone whips themselves into a frenzy preparing for the worst-case scenario.

However, you shouldn’t just be focusing on your personal affairs; you need to make sure your business is ready as well. Even if the forecast doesn’t turn out to be accurate, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For this to happen, you will need to stay in constant contact with both your employees and customers before and during a storm to make sure they know what to expect. Doing this will help limit interruptions and make sure clients can adjust the expectations they have of your business. Here is how you can use communication technology to prepare for any possible service interruptions caused by bad weather.


The great thing about technological advancements over the past few years is that they allow for many employees to work from home, or from anywhere that has an internet connection. However, they must be prepared to do so. That means you should be letting employees know that there is a chance they might be working from home three or four days before a storm is due to hit. During this time, have your IT department or provider check with those employees to ensure they have the capabilities to work from home, even if it is in a limited capacity.

During this time, designate certain employees as flex workers if you can’t determine just how bad the weather will be the next day. This means that they will check the weather in the morning and come in if it is safe. They will also be in charge of informing other employees whether or not they will need to come into work.

Finally, make sure there is an updated spreadsheet or file with all your employees’ contact details, and that this is available to those who may need it. It is important that each person at your company is able to be reached via multiple channels, because you never know which services a storm may knock out. Having this ready before anything happens will allow for more efficient communication during inclement weather.


Your customers depend on you, and it is absolutely vital that you keep them informed of how the weather situation will affect your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is via social media. In the days leading up to the storm, let your followers know that you are keeping an eye on the situation, and provide contact information for someone at your company who can give them additional information if needed.

If your business will have to close because of bad weather, it’s good practice to announce it as far ahead of time as possible. Ideally this will be done on the night before or, at the latest, early in the morning of the closure. You don’t want customers trekking in three feet of snow to get to your shop or office, only to find out it's closed.

Make sure you get in touch with clients right away to inform them of any delays that might occur in delivering goods or services because of the office shut-down, and give them an estimate as to when your business will be fully operational again. Just because you aren’t responsible for the weather doesn’t mean you can stop being accountable altogether. Staying ahead of the game will prove to clients that your company is organized and prepared for anything.

Of course, communication is just one part of a comprehensive business continuity plan. Contact our experts today and find out how we can keep your company functional no matter the weather.

Published with permission from Source.

October 30th, 2015

Windows_Oct13_AWindows 10’s Cortana is billed as the next generation of digital assistants, bringing a whole suite of capabilities to the fore in an attempt to upstage Apple’s Siri and Google Now. The latest is the extension of Cortana’s assistance to non-Microsoft services like Dropbox and Google Drive. The REACHit service, released by manufacturer Lenovo on its latest devices, allows Cortana to seamlessly search not only local content, but that stored on third-party cloud systems including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 convertible laptop device, expected to be released by the end of 2015, will be among the first to feature the REACHit app, available only on Lenovo PCs running Windows 10. At the heart of REACHit is an improved search experience that allows users to track down files across their various devices - meaning you’ll find what you’re looking for, regardless of whether you saved it on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone - and cloud-based services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

These kind of comprehensive queries bear similarity to the deep Spotlight searches made possible in Apple’s latest operating system release, El Capitan. But REACHit can be used with both voice commands and plain-English typed search terms, something to be expected given it uses Cortana as a base upon which Lenovo and Microsoft have collaborated to develop additional functionality. The search flexibility means it’s possible not only to look for specific files when you already know the name, but also to specify parameters and find everything that matches. That includes finding photos, for example, based on where and when they were taken, who they’ve been shared with, and when they were last accessed. Perhaps most practically, this means REACHit can use date and location information to locate files even where they are not tagged in a way that would normally assist search execution.

Restricting the types of files that can be searched by REACHit, and the kind of information it uses to conduct those searches, will allow you to allay some privacy concerns - particularly prevalent given that the app is cloud-hosted. Certainly, REACHit signals further advancements in simplified natural-language searching across the numerous devices most of us now routinely use. It also exemplifies the increased importance manufacturers are attaching to an enhanced user experience that enables us to save valuable minutes in our workday.

Want to find out how effective implementation of Windows 10 in your workplace could help you boost productivity? Give us a call and we’ll show you.

Published with permission from Source.

October 29th, 2015

164_A_HCWith Halloween just a few days away, and the holidays following shortly after, 2016 will be here sooner than you know it. This makes it an excellent time to start thinking about next year’s IT budget, and how to best address your technology needs to keep your practice growing, compliant, and not stifled by outdated IT that distracts you from your patients. To ensure your IT is dependable for 2016, here are a few steps you can take to prepare your practice.


One reason some practices fail to update their IT at all, and then wind up with broken technology that causes endless headaches and delays, is that they’re simply overwhelmed by the number of technology choices available, and are unsure what needs to be upgraded or replaced. That’s why the first task you should undertake in planning next year’s IT budget is to evaluate what you have right now.

If you have a small or medium-sized practice, you may be able to do this by walking around your office and simply taking a visual assessment of your technology. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, another option is to use a software tool or hire an IT provider to determine which pieces of technology you use regularly.


When you’re done with the evaluation, you’ll have likely discovered some IT issues that need to be addressed immediately. If you have the budget to fix them this year then go ahead and do so, otherwise prioritize these technology repairs in your 2016 budget. This will help ensure IT doesn’t create unnecessary dysfunction in your daily operations.


Stop thinking about technology for a moment. Instead, think about your long-term goals for your practice. What do you want to accomplish in the next one, five, and 10 years? What do you envision your practice looking like then? Jot your goals and answers to these questions down on a piece of paper, then evaluate whether or not your practice can achieve these goals with IT implemented as it is now. If it can’t, what technology changes need to take place? The answer will reveal which IT adjustments are necessary for the future of your practice in 2016 and beyond. Here are a few other ideas to consider when planning your long-term IT strategy.

Usability - complex technology not only scares the average user, but it also prevents many from using it. If you want you, your staff and your patients to use your new IT solution, make sure it’s user friendly. Otherwise you’re simply throwing money away.

Automation - because the healthcare industry is understaffed as it is, you need all the help you can get. Technology can act as your team of extra staff members, automating and taking care of processes that are usually performed manually. This will free up your real employees to spend more time taking care of your patients.

Adaptability - both technology and the healthcare industry are in a constant state of change. So when implementing new IT, find something that will evolve with your industry. If you’re unsure, talk with the vendor of the technology product you’re interested in, or consult with an IT provider to help you along.

Lastly, we understand that IT is not the specialist area of most healthcare professionals. So if you ever have any questions, or need assistance planning for your future IT needs, our experts are more than happy to help you in assessing, evaluating and implementing new technology that will take your practice into 2016 and beyond.

Published with permission from Source.