Understanding The Unique IT Needs of a Medical Office

 July 15, 2018

By  Anton Kiorolgo

There are certain technology needs that most businesses share. Protection from viruses and system intrusions, reliable backup systems, and an IT support team that can get them back up and running fast when things go down.

But some businesses have extra tech needs that are unique to their specific industry sector. Medical offices are one of these, which is why finding a provider that specializes in medical office IT support is essential for these businesses to keep things running smoothly.

When medical systems go down, they not only suffer the normal downtime costs, they could also have lives hanging in the balance. There might be a critical patient record they need to get to the hospital before surgery or they may need to send a pharmacist an important prescription history.

An example of one of the systems unique to physician’s and medical offices is the electronic health record (EHR). This digitalized version of a patient’s paper medical record makes it much easier to share their health and treatment history with other authorized healthcare professionals.

But what happens if that connection to the EHR goes down?

The Cost of IT Downtime in Medical Practices

According to a white paper by Mark R. Anderson of AC Group, Inc, a premier healthcare IT research futurist, it can cost a physician’s office of five doctors approximately $25,000 for just ten hours of downtime, being unable to connect to their EHR system. One hour of software downtime can cost almost $488 per physician, according to the report.

When medical systems go down, they not only suffer the normal downtime costs, they could also have lives hanging in the balance. There might be a critical patient record they need to get to the hospital before surgery or they may need to send a pharmacist an important prescription history.

There are a number of multiplying factors that many medical offices may not be aware of that cost them money when IT systems are down. These include:

  • Cost of repair to the system
  • Cost of any data recovery needed
  • Cost of lost staff productivity
  • Cost of patient time or care due to the delay
  • Cost of confidence in your business

Medical Office IT Support Requirements

Electronic health records aren’t the only specialized technology that medical offices use daily to keep their offices running smoothly and patients getting the best care possible. There are a number of other IT systems specific to medical offices:

  • Medical Coding Software Compliant with CPT®ICD-10HCPCS
  • System Compliance with HIPAA & HITECH (securing patient information)
  • Medical Billing Software
  • Digital Medical Transcription Hardware and Software
  • mHealth (mobile health) devices and connections

You can usually tell whether an IT support provider knows your business or not on their first vital service call, when something goes down and you need it back up and running as soon as possible. But no one wants to find out the hard way that their service provider doesn’t know their particular computer systems.

So it’s important to check out references before you choose the provider that you’re going to trust to keep your vital computers, software connections, and networks running smoothly. You want someone who has experience in your industry and who is going to be there for you when you need them most.

One IT support provider that medical offices in the Charlotte, NC area trust to help them avoid costly downtime is Security First IT who has earned an excellent reputation for reliable support and their 24-hour emergency service is popular with medical offices that are open late and on weekends.

Here are some tips from Security First IT on what to ask before you choose a company for your medical office IT support:

  • Have you worked with electronic health records systems?
  • How many customer references do you have in my industry?
  • Can you help me with HIPAA/HITECH compliance?
  • What hours can I contact you?
  • Do you have 24/7 support?
  • What is your typical response time?
  • What software/hardware specific to the medical industry have you worked with?

The Future of Technology in Healthcare

As technology advances in all facets of life, it’s also continuing to make an important impact in the healthcare industry.

Some of the advances that are already making their way into medical offices around the world include:


How would you like to visit the doctor from the comfort of your own home? Or see a patient from yours? The new “virtual house call” through video conferencing is making that possible. The Bon Secours 24/7 program is an excellent example of this.

Patient Portal

Some people may have experienced entering a child in a new school and having to frantically dig through paper files to find their immunization records. Well, with a secure online patient portal, you have access to all your (and your child’s) medical records at the click of a mouse.

Healthcare Kiosks

Kiosks have made the check-in process in airports faster and easier, and now they are making their way into hospitals and medical offices. Healthcare kiosks can scan insurance cards, check-in patients for real-time office scheduling, and even take payments.

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With technology becoming more and more integrated into medical offices as the years go by, finding a qualified and knowledgeable IT provider that has experience with the unique hardware, software, and technology needs of the healthcare industry is vital if you’re in this field.

A medical experienced IT firm can also save you a lot of time researching new medical tech, because most likely they’ll have serviced several and can give you input on which systems are most reliable.

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