If you are in the process of setting up a private medical practice, one of your early decisions needs to centre on your IT and computer needs. Even if you are a single consultant with a part-time secretary, you need an efficient office system to prevent your time being squandered on crisis-management when things go wrong.
Seems daunting? It’s common for medical staff not to know where to start – here PPM Software sets out the 6 simple steps you need to follow to get your IT working for you from day 1.
Ask yourself and your staff how you will be using the equipment:
You need to consider the scale of your practice – what will be your minimum requirements:
If space is at a premium, choosing hardware that combines different functions can work well but if you want high resolution printing you may need a more expensive stand-alone printer:
Your practice will need to fulfil the requirements of the Information Commissioner, particularly with respect to storing patient records and sensitive information relating to their condition/treatment.
For simple systems, perhaps with only one or two PCs, it may be fine to buy hardware ‘off the peg’ and arrange a maintenance contract with the supplier. For more complex network systems you need to ask:
Once a practice starts to get busy it can become increasingly difficult to keep track of money that is coming in, or that isn’t but should be…
Once you have considered each step you should have a fairly detailed picture of the type of computer system and support that you need. Installation and set up can be tricky so you will probably need support from your supplier to do this. Most practices find it cost-effective to pay for an initial set-up as this saves money due to less hassle for staff.
Even a small practice of one or two consultants can benefit from high-quality support for their hardware and security software, supplemented by the package ‘PPM’ – Private Practice Manager from PPM Software. ‘PPM’ can be tailored to any size of practice and can be fully integrated with Microsoft Office.
‘PPM’ will handle data storage and retrieval, provide financial management and enable you to set up secure communication between staff and between staff and patients via text and email. Encrypted communication is the key to ensuring patient confidentiality while offering the advantages of being able to deliver and receive important information without delays.
With the right hardware, peripherals, software and support, you can begin your private practice on the correct footing. Staff will be able to work effectively and efficiently and, as the practice becomes more successful, the foundation is there to allow expansion to accommodate increased numbers of patients and, if necessary, additional consultants and admin staff.