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What Are Wireless Business Phone Systems?

What Are Wireless Business Phone Systems? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Small businesses take a lot of calls each day. How many? They get approximately 400 million per day.

 

Historically, growing small businesses turned to PBX or private branch exchange systems.

 

In recent years, however, small businesses chose wireless business phone systems. So, what is a wireless phone system and how does it compare with traditional PBX systems?

Traditional PBX

A PBX system basically works like a switchboard. It allows internal users to call one another on local extensions. It also routes external calls through a set number of external lines or numbers.

 

Some businesses inherit old PBX systems that prove entirely analog when they buy or lease a building. These systems will disappear over time as PBX service providers switch over to digital technology to route calls.

 

PBX solutions were deisgned for single location businesses in which all workers come into the office every day to work.

Wireless Systems

A wireless phone system performs the same essential routing tasks as a PBX system but does it without the pesky hardware. Instead, wireless systems use a cloud-based system that centralizes all of the call routing. Instead of all your calls getting routed around by on-site, analog or digital switches, the routing happens on a server at a data center.

Wireless System Benefits

Wireless systems offer a wide range of potential benefits, many that you can’t get through a PBX system or only for a fee.

 

The switch to a modern, cloud-based system makes a bunch of exciting features available. Video conferencing tops the list. With businesses relying on remote workers, video conferencing helps maintain team unity. Many providers bundle this feature in a standard part of their service package.

 

You can also take advantage of call recording services, which lets you monitor customer service calls. That lets you coach your team when they fall away from best practices. You can also record client meetings to keep track of orders or new service contract particulars.

 

Service providers may also offer integration with your CRM system. This helps keep your customer records up-to-date whenever you get a call.

Standard features you get with wireless systems include:

  • Talk and text
  • Computer-based calling
  • Multiple extensions
  • Video chat

Of course, no system lacks flaws. So, let’s move on to the pitfalls.

Wireless System Pitfalls

As with all other cloud-based applications, a wireless phone system depends on a stable broadband connection. If your broadband service is sketchy, the quality of your calls will end up equally sketchy. You could expect fade-outs, distorted speech, or dropped calls.

 

The good news is that broadband quality and reliability has come a very long way in the last few years and most people can count on having sufficient bandwidth to support calls that are indistinguishable from land-line calls.

PBX System Pitfalls

PBX systems create several pitfalls.

You’ll pay a hefty fee for the hardware and installation. That’s before you even get into the cost for the service and lines. Since cloud-based systems have no hardware, you pay no hardware or installation fees.

 

Each individual line you get from the service provider costs money (they are usually purchased in groups of 23) and you’ll pay an additional per minute rate for each call.

 

By comparison, wireless systems typically charge a small fee for each number and either a low, per minute rate for domestic calls or an unlimited calling plan.

Picking Between the Options

For many businesses, a wireless system makes a lot of sense.

You get a wide range of additional features you can’t get with PBX. You avoid steep hardware and installation costs. You can even dodge long-distance fees with a little bit of effort.

 

For any business with access to good broadband, it’s something of a no-brainer.

 

 

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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COVID-19 Telehealth Considerations

COVID-19 Telehealth Considerations | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Many healthcare providers have been working to define and implement a telehealth strategy over the past several years. In the initiatives I’ve been involved with, this has generally been a slow march through figuring out the legal, reimbursement, compliance, and physician staffing and compensation implications.

 

With current events, this timeline has obviously accelerated, with IT and clinical staff being tasked with standing up telehealth programs in weeks, if not days, to deal with COVID-19.

 

Telehealth is a key tool to limit visitors at a time of overcapacity, to reduce the risk of infection spread, and to manage non-Covid-19 care when clinics are closed.

 

Below I outline some of the key considerations I have seen in my work with telemedicine, and what that might mean in the near term for health systems scrambling to deploy telehealth functionality as soon as possible.

 

Here focused on synchronous, clinician to home-based patient communication, although launching other forms of telemedicine (clinician to clinician, virtual ICU, etc.) will have similar concerns.

 

TECHNOLOGY


For both hardware and software, there is limited time to go through assessments and procurement processes.

 

Given the time-sensitivity, the focus should be on understanding what is available to be deployed immediately. For hardware, that may mean distributing laptops to ensure clinicians have access to camera and microphone-equipped PCs, or even redistributing hardware from training rooms.

 

For software, this will entail understanding precisely what applications you currently have available, and what the licensing implications would be to scale up to additional users.

 

If a new application or additional licenses are necessary, it is important to pull in legal and supply chain as soon as possible to ensure an efficient contracting process.

 

OPERATING MODEL


The technology for telehealth is relatively easy, but getting clinician, compliance, and revenue cycle leadership buy-in is not. I recommend immediately standing up a taskforce with accountability for decision making and defining policies and procedures.

 

This group should include your IT, EMR, HIM/privacy, compliance, and physician leadership. They will be tasked with determining who is staffing the telehealth service, what the patient consent process is, patient and clinician support, and how documentation will be entered into your EMR.

 

Since time is of the essence here, pulling this group together for a couple of long work sessions is likely the most expedient route.

 

TRAINING AND SUPPORT


You will need to be able to quickly and efficiently train your providers, IT help desk, and scheduling and registration staff. Reception and call center staff will need to know the basics to direct patients to online appointments.

 

Clinicians will need tip sheets on configuring hardware, installing software, and managing appointments and documentation. Help desk staff will need to understand setup and troubleshooting, including working with “non-standard” devices as clinicians work from home.

 

You will need basic how-tos for your patients, and coordination with your marketing and web teams to publish information and links to your telehealth service.

 

LONG-TERM PLANNING


The version of telehealth that you roll out overnight is not likely to be the ideal model.

 

Once your immediate telehealth service is operational at scale, your focus can turn to the longer-term view. This plan should be focused on patient and provider usability, integration with your existing patient portal and digital front door, and seamless interoperability with your EMR.

 

Scoping out the new interfaces, services, or UI integration will allow you to plan for and allocate your team over the coming weeks. While the immediate need for Covid-19 screening is urgent, telehealth will continue to be very relevant over the coming months to allow non-Covid-19 business as usual for those with chronic conditions or requiring prescription refills.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System

The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The voice over internet protocol (VoIP) market is expected to reach $55 billion by 2025. More companies are making the switch to VoIP, allowing them to make calls using broadband internet instead of a conventional phone system.

 

VoIP works by converting sounds into digital communications. Then, the digital file is transferred through internet broadband. By using VoIP, companies can use the internet to make phone calls!

 

Why make the switch? Keep reading to find out. Here are the 10 benefits of switching to a virtual phone system!

 

1. Easy Installation And Integration

 

Many businesses hesitate to make major technological changes. Any change takes time, testing, and money. Installing, configuring, and maintaining a VoIP, however, is incredibly easy.

 

In fact, it’s so easy that VoIP is now the number one telephone service choice for businesses in the country. Already 36 percent of businesses are utilizing a VoIP.

 

Even someone who is less technically savvy can install a VoIP on their own. You can either call an expert technician or try it yourself. VoIP phones are pretty much plug-and-play.

 

It’s also very easy to add new users using hosted VoIP software. The web portal will make it easy for you to move, add, and change systems as needed. The simplicity means you also won’t have to worry about maintenance.

 

As a result, you’ll rarely need professional support when making changes.

 

VoIP also makes it easy for you to utilize other systems and technologies. Integrating other Softwares can enhance your operations, boosting efficiency throughout your company. VoIP integrates a wide variety of business systems, allowing you to customize your VoIP as you see fit.

 

In other words, you’ll have all the benefits of VoIP without needing someone to modify your existing IT infrastructure.

 

2. Scalability

 

One of the top benefits of using an internet business phone system is its scalability.

 

Your virtual phone system will scale along with the needs of your business. A traditional phone system, on the other hand, is usually more difficult to scale. You’ll likely need an IT expert to handle any changes you might need.

 

This scalability will support your company’s efficiency and productivity efforts. You won’t have to waste time or money making company-wide changes to your system.

 

Instead, you can use your small business phone system to add a line the next time you hire a new employee. You can eliminate lines if you’re downsizing, too. Either way, your VoIP will scale along with you.

 

3. Reliability

 

As your company grows, you’ll need a system you can rely on.

 

Some companies think that if they’re without internet, they’ll end up without a phone system as well. One of the benefits of VoIP is that you can still rely on your system even if the internet does go down. In case of an event like this, you can have your calls forwarded to your mobile phone or another device.

 

That means you won’t have to worry about weather issues or power outages impacting your business operations.

 

4. Effective Communication

 

Whether your team is big or small, you’ll need to make sure everyone can communicate. With more people working from home, it’s important to have a system that prioritizes communication.

 

With a virtual phone system, the line will ring at your desk phone a few times before ringing on your mobile device, laptop, or tablet.

 

As a result, you won’t have to worry about missing urgent calls. You’ll save time trying to check your voicemail, too!

 

5. Flexibility

 

With a mobile business phone system, you don’t need your underlying network as part of a specific technology layout. Instead, you can use your existing ethernet, ATM, WiFi, or SONET as the foundation of the network.

 

Traditional phone networks require a lot of complexity, which can make it difficult for your IT team to make adjustments. The network flexibility with VoIP allows you to create a standardized system. As a result, you can support a number of communication types and require less equipment management.

 

6. Additional Features

 

There are a number of benefits and additional features that come included with your internet business phone system. For example, VoIP systems allow clients to connect with a variety of devices. This makes it easier for you to keep your company’s productivity levels up.

 

VoIP programs often include:

 

  • Caller ID
  • Virtual numbers
  • Contact lists
  • Voicemail

You can customize these features to improve your company’s operational efficiency.

 

For example, you can have voicemails forwarded to multiple co-workers. You can also use voicemail-to-text transcriptions and send these documents to your email with ease.

 

7. Work From Anywhere Access

 

Are more of your employees working from home? A work-at-home program can help you save money on office space and decrease utility costs. Before you make that transition, however, it helps to have a VoIP in place.

 

VoIP can ensure your team communicates effectively. Employees can use the voice, fax, and data services through their internet connection.

 

Employees can communicate straight from their home offices or even abroad.

 

As a result, you don’t have to worry about a drop in communication with your team members.

 

8. Simplified Conferences

 

Traditional phone systems allow you to conference with teams and clients. However, you usually need to pay for an additional service in order to host multiple callers. With a small business phone system, you can simplify this process.

 

VoIP removes the need for dedicated phone lines. Instead, you’ll operate on a converged data network. The features are usually native.

 

With the cost already built-in, you won’t have to worry about paying more for conferencing features.

 

9. Functionality

 

With a VoIP, you’re not limited to phone calls. You can also host video-conference, allowing you to communicate with co-workers and clients better than before. Video-conferencing will allow you to share meetings, files, documents, and agendas right from your VoIP system.

 

10. Cost-Efficiency

 

Above all else, switching to a virtual phone system will help your company cut costs. These systems are cheaper than conventional phone systems. The ability to install and remove lines as needed will help you adjust your system to cut costs, too.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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What You Need to Know About Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare

What You Need to Know About Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital Health Communication and Messaging

Digital information is everywhere, including medical institutions where it is now common practice to utilize electronic medical records. This can be a good thing, making patient care more efficient and effective. However, it can also be an easy doorway for data thieves to access private information.

 

Many doctors and nurses utilize mobile data to aid in their daily tasks from accessing clinical data to communicating with other staff members.

 

Many primary care providers also regularly use text messaging as a way to communicate with patients for appointment bookings and cancellations. Text messaging is a quick and easy way to do this.

HIPAA

The U.S.’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 exists, in part, to protect personally identifiable information when being used by the healthcare industry, through regulating how it can be used and communicated. Specifically, the HIPAA Security Rule stipulates that numerous safeguards be employed by administrative and medical staff to protect personal information, including the use of encryption in digital communication where possible.

 

If medical staff and institutions follow the safeguards required by HIPAA, there shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, HIPAA doesn’t require encryption non-discriminately across the board, and there is always the possibility of human error and negligence. In particular, smaller clinics which previously had minimal security procedures in place have found it particularly challenging to comply with the requirements of HIPAA.

Safeguarding Medical Information

So, what can be done to safeguard medical communications? Secure text messaging is a viable option, though it is challenging to implement on a whole-scale level and depends a great deal on employee participation. One study found that only 31 percent of medical staff were encrypting information as standard practice before sending it to the cloud. Apps exist that will encrypt text messages, but every single device sending and receiving these texts has to be using the same system.

 

However, medical staff also need to consider the chance that someone other than their intended recipient may view their messages, making it imperative that personally identifiable information be communicated in a way that maintains patient privacy.

 

Ideally, a medical facility’s IT department will spearhead the efforts to get everyone on board. But this becomes increasingly difficult with nationwide coverage of medical care. It is one thing to secure one system.

 

It is quite another to secure two systems or hundreds of systems, as is the case with many of the larger institutions.

 

If it is deemed too daunting a task for the whole company to establish an all-encompassing encryption service. At the bare minimum, each employee’s device should use its own encryption app, and the use of encryption should be monitored with employees being held responsible for failure to comply. In addition to encryption, a passcode should be made mandatory on every device.

 

Finally, medical staff should never assume that having access to a patient’s mobile number means that they have given their consent to be contacted via text message.

 

Consent should be gained by each patient before any text-based communication occurs, and the patient should be informed that any messages sent or received may become part of their medical record.

 

Since there is no way to cease the use of smart devices or text messaging in this day and age, establishing secure mobile messaging in healthcare is a must.

 

Medical information is among the most sensitive and expensive information out there and when, or if, it gets into the wrong hands. The consequences could be far-reaching and devastating. A patient seeking medical help should not have to be concerned for the security of their personal information.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Telemedicine Checklist

Telemedicine Checklist | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine services are rapidly expanding, with many providers realizing that they can expand their reach and revenue by utilizing improved connectivity and convenient technology.

 

Telemedicine takes several forms, including consultation directly in the office, school-based consultation to provide emergency services to students, home video consultations, and even integration of biometric data from a person’s health wearables.

 

While telemedicine is indeed beneficial for all stakeholders, it is equally important for providers to make sure they are well-versed with the entire process before they step into it.

 

In order to offer effective primary care and enable truly coordinate care, providers must consider all the planning element that are part of successful telemedicine ventures.

 

Here are the important steps to be taken care of when starting telemedicine.

 

1. Identify Your Mission and Goals

 

Before you do anything to start the process at all, you must sit down and ask yourself certain questions. Why do you want to engage in telemedicine? What are your goals? Do you want to grow your practice? Are you looking to increase your access? Are you interested in saving time or making extra money? Do you think these goals are realizable?

 

It is imperative to have the answers to these basic questions in mind, so you know which path to take right from the beginning.

 

2. Identify Your Patients

 

Once you know what you want to do and have a rough plan on how to achieve it, you must determine your target market and create your patient panel.

 

Do you want to acquire new patients or merely communicate better with your existing patients? Which areas will your patients be in? What health issues will you focus on? Will your patients be tach-savvy millennials or older patients with caregivers? Knowing your patient panel will automatically narrow down and simplify the next steps in the process.

 

3. Create a Relevant Profile

 

As a provider, while you may have all your work experience listed down on your resume, it is essential to update it before diving into telemedicine and to make yourself seem suitable for the job.

 

It is important to update and highlight licenses, since these are critical in matching you with potential positions and patients. Additionally, make sure you make your remote experience stand out, if any. You should also emphasize on the additional skills needed for a telemedicine provider, for example, listening and conversational skills.

 

4. Manage Your Licenses

 

Having multi-state licenses will ensure that you get the most-suited telemedicine position. While telemedicine recruiters may help you in obtaining licenses, there is no denying that they are looking for providers who already have licenses secured before they apply for the job.

 

5. Research HIPAA-Compliant Platforms

 

When considering where to apply, you must research which telemedicine platforms are HIPAA compliant. You should also consider whether the platforms you are looking at are cloud-based, what equipment do they require, what are the training requirements and options, what are the billing procedures, will you need IT support, will you be able to import patient data into your EHR, etc. 

 

6. Reach Out to Telemedicine Recruiters

 

Do some research on the latest clinical outcomes and trends in telemedicine, and then reach out to a recruiter to find you jobs in the area of expertise you would like to focus on.

 

While you may search for jobs online, remember that this area of medicine is still relatively new, and recruiters can guide you and help you find the best jobs at top companies. Following this, make sure you speak to a few companies and evaluate their benefits before finalizing one.

 

7. Acquire Legal Consultation

 

It is wise to obtain legal advice on your telemedicine contract before you finalize it. This is especially necessary and beneficial if there are two organizations involve through your telemedicine practice.

 

You must take into account state laws like prescribing laws, which may be different in the area your patients are. To keep a track of these matters, it is recommended that you have a legal counselor’s services handy.

 

8. Assess Needs and Identify Resources

 

Identify the needs of your telemedicine practice and identify the resources that you have at hand, and those you will need to acquire.

 

At this point, you will also have to determine whether you need a team. If you do, you must focus on administrators, finance managers, clinical operations supervisors, and technical support personnel.

 

9. Set Up Your Office

 

This is perhaps the most important part of the telemedicine experience, because you will have to pick the perfect place to facilitate your telemedicine practice. Ideally, this can be a quiet and secluded corner of your home and must be set up to look professional on video calls.

 

It is also important to make sure you acquire the best technological equipment, since your computer and your internet connection will be your most important tools in the process.

 

10. Engage in Networking

 

Once you are ready to indulge into the process, you must then insert yourself into the telemedicine circle of professionals. If you don’t find any people doing this in your area, it is wise to use social media to reach out to fellow professionals. Communicate with peers and follow different organizations.

 

Additionally, attend telemedicine events around the country to create a constructive network and to learn from those doing similar work.

 

Taking care of these essential steps should ensure the smooth beginning of your telemedicine career. Over time, successful providers not only continue to take steps to improve their care delivery and maximize patient satisfaction, but they also stay connected with industry peers.

 

Eventually, if done right, this could be a life-changing move in your career and could potentially help you excel in the modern care delivery landscape.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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How to Pick the Best Business Phone System for You

How to Pick the Best Business Phone System for You | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Did you know that consumers prefer a personal relationship with small business owners? Well, recent reports indicate that 60% of customers communicate with small entrepreneurs over the phone.

 

For entrepreneurs, knowing how your customers love to communicate with you is an insightful revelation.

 

It helps you provide a communication system that offers them the best experience.

 

Are you unable to decide on the best business phone system for your new establishment? You need to keep in mind the phone systems today are not merely tools for making and receiving calls.

 

Customers will want a unified system that permits an array of communication options.

 

That way, your employees can also connect to clients in whichever way they choose.

 

The market has countless phone systems options, and you could easily fall into confusion. But you could turn that to your advantage by knowing the killer selection tips.

 

What Features Should You Consider as a Solo Entrepreneur?

You probably don’t wish to incur a whole new expenditure installing a new system. As such, you need to adopt a phone system that will sustain the establishment in the future.

 

You likely have expansion goals in the future, and you will not run the business alone forever. You can envision the number of staff you are likely to have soon.

 

Check out some key phone system features for a sole proprietor.

1. Scalability

Scalability is a crucial feature for your sole enterprise if you have expansion goals. You can easily add phones to the system each time you hire new staff. The VoIP system could be a good option for adding your new team.

2. Call Logs

If you run the business all alone, the information coming your way could be overwhelming. If you choose a phone system with call logs, you’ll never miss a beat. With call logs you can view all incoming, outgoing, fax and missed calls to your business phone number(s).

You can even filter logs to view only calls made to a specific queue, extension or calls made to/from an individual number.

3. Call Handling Rules

Although your business is small (for now), with the right business phone system, you can give callers the type of experience that has only been available to large enterprises that can afford to spend a fortune. Fortunately, modern systems make features like call handling rules available for everyone.

Using call handling rules, you can route incoming calls to a single destination, or different destinations based on the day and time or the Caller ID of the call received. You can send calls to voicemail, menus, custom greetings, or even your computer.

 

Does Your Business Have More Than Five Employees?

If you’ve got a small team handling your business, efficiency is the name of the game. You’ll want to look for a solution that covers all of these bases.

1. Is It User-Friendly?

Some aspects of the system could seem simple to you but remember you won’t be handling calls alone. You need a system that your team can comfortably handle and serve customers in the best way.

Look for a solution that is intuitive and be sure that the provider offers technical support.

2. Mobile Applications

A part of your team could be sales and marketing individuals, and I bet they spend most of their time out. So, how do they keep in touch with clients?

Your VoIP phone service should support extensions for each team member. 78% of adults own a mobile phone, and you could take advantage of the fact. Your team can receive calls away from the office using a mobile app or softphones.

3. Call Recording

Call recording is an excellent way to support your training and quality assurance efforts. Look for a system that lets you choose to record all calls, all incoming calls, all outbound calls, or a custom setup that you choose.

You may have to pay a bit extra for call recording, but it can be a big productivity booster, so it’s worth it.

 

What If Your Business Has More Than 10 Employees?

Well, congratulations! Your business is taking the right path. However, you have to upgrade your business phone service.

You are probably wondering what features would work best for your big team. Here are some of the features to inquire about as you talk to your phone service providers.

1. Conference Calls

Your team is big, and you don’t want to limit their productivity. They will probably need to communicate with different clients at the same time using your network.

Choose a service that gives each employee an easy-to-configure conference bridge that has a dedicated number and is password protected. This allows your team to easily set up a conference call without having to plan ahead or use a third-party conferencing provider.

2. Call Routing

Everyone seems busy at their desks, and it could be challenging to know who among the team members is available to respond to a call. Your system could solve the puzzle for you!

Make sure the VoIP phone system can route calls to whoever is available.

3. Emergency Management

Some emergencies could cut off communication in your business, and you shouldn’t take chances. Your business needs to keep moving despite the weather — thus, your system ought to eliminate possible downtime.

The recovery infrastructure needs to be topnotch and ensure communication keeps flowing after the disaster, power failure, or weather emergency.

4. Call Data Records

Call data records give you insight into your business activities. Are there certain times of day, days of the week, or parts of the year that require additional staffing? Is every employee who is expected to be engaged on the phones pulling their weight? 

Your system can do more than help you make calls, it can help you manage your business.

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CTI for Connectwise: How does it work on your Phone System?

CTI for Connectwise: How does it work on your Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

SMEs and large enterprises have found that IP (internet protocol) phone systems are cheaper, easier to use, streamlined, and scalable. In other words, they give users more features and better quality while reducing the costs of traditional phone systems.

 

IP phones allow users to be mobile: users have location flexible as well as access to different modes of communication. Agents can log in to the system, talk to clients, and video-conference inside or outside of the office.

 

Given increases in IP access and reductions in cost, companies are still incorporating IP phone systems and will likely continue this expansion for the foreseeable future. According to current research, the VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service market, which was valued at 83 billion dollars in 2015, is expected to surpass 140 billion dollars by 2021.

 

A CTI (computer telephony integration) application is a crucial part of the IP phone revolution of the twenty-first century. By allowing agents and users to combine their phones with their customer support software, companies can further streamline call center processes and maximize productivity.

 

CTI integration helps businesses with high volume manage telephone calls through one system, which can lead to greater productivity and customer satisfaction. CTI software can offer a host of different features, customized to businesses’ needs, to create a more sophisticated and efficient call center process.

 

CTIs can let agents make calls directly from their desktop computers, laptops, or mobile devices, which can free agents from the office and let them go mobile. CTIs give companies features such as intelligent call routing, which automatically routes calls to where they need to go. The speed of access has been shown to increase customer satisfaction; companies using CTI in conjunction with their 800-number service make sure customers get through faster and more effectively.

 

Moreover, CTIs incorporate features that streamline call times and provide client analytics, caller identification, and data recording. Broadly, CTIs allows call centers and other phone users up-to-date technology that allows seamless integration between phone services and computer features. In customer-service oriented businesses, such value-added services allow a company’s call center to be more efficient, skilled, and customer friendly than its competitors.

 

What is ConnectWise CTI and how can its features help agents be more productive?

 

ConnectWise has been helping companies manage IT for over thirty years. Today, its current CRM helps companies manage their sales pipeline, manage client-agent interactions, and integrate sales, data, and services into one system. In addition to sales, the CRM can automate functions in service and support to streamline processes and enable much better customer interaction.

 

ConnectWise CRM focuses on the centralization of information and real-time operational visibility. ConnectWise offers a host of project management systems, as well as dashboards for numerous third-party integrations. As such, ConnectWise CRM can function as companies’ dominant software system or be an add-on that serves as a technology platform on top of businesses’ other computing programs.

 

Geared toward IT service businesses and other technology companies, ConnectWise CRM focuses on ticket management, time tracking, billing and invoicing, inventory management, technician dispatch, and project management. The software offers high levels of customization and scalability for companies of all sizes.

 

As a call center management CRM, ConnectWise offers instant chat for simultaneous customer management, customizable prioritization, and dynamic mobility. Users can integrate websites and emails with chat, while managers can analyze team performance. The CRM’s elegant dashboard allows agents to manage a high-volume flow of calls efficiently and easily. ConnectWise CTI applications link the CRM to businesses’ VoIP phone systems. By using ConnectWise CTI software, VoIP phone services can join with the CRM’s host of specific programs in IT, sales, and services technology.

 

Features and benefits for businesses that thoroughly integrate phone systems with ConnectWise CRM:

 

Advanced technological infrastructure: ConnectWise CTI integration allows for native integration from CRM to phone service, with software created specifically for the ConnectWise CRM platform. ConnectWise CRM’s cloud-based service would allow a new call center or system to be up and running in hours or days, not months. Cloud-based integration maximizes space and minimizes on-premise infrastructure. Moreover, cloud-based CTI connection makes businesses more scalable. In this way, businesses can increase their volume of agents without adding on-site infrastructure and can do so quickly and easily.

 

Integrated Dashboard: ConnectWise phone integration lets users manage all aspects of calls from the screen. At a glance, users can see call histories and addresses. They can make, receive, and transfer calls directly through the system, which speeds up calls and allows agents to reach clients more quickly.  The dashboard is intuitive and easy-to-use, while also being customizable to fit companies’ or users’ specific needs.

 

Minimized data entry: With ConnectWise CTI, businesses can minimize data entry by logging key information about the call automatically. The CRM can log the interaction and include data that can be collected automatically, such as duration, caller, related leads or contacts. The function frees agents so they only have to enter non-automatic information. It also includes space for these notes.

 

Increased call capacity: With phone integration, users are able to minimize time wasted by searching for hyperlinks or typing in numbers. With a click to dial feature, agents can dial a phone number with one click when the number is on a web page, in an inbox, or a document. Furthermore, users can add a prospective client as a contact right from the popup, again reducing repetitive data entry.

 

Caller ID and Routing: Using ConnectWise integration, calls can be routed for higher efficiency. For example, calls can be accessed and routed by caller location, previous interactions between business and client, geographical field, language used, current agent availability, or a host of other factors. These factors optimize caller-agent relationships; by putting the most appropriate agent on the call, the CRM saves time and provides a better customer experience. Additionally, caller ID gives agents instant access to client information. Instead of having to search for customer profiles, users can have automatic access to clients’ locations, previous interactions, and professional details.

 

Task follow-ups: CTI integration makes collaboration and follow-up easier between colleagues. Because the system works in real-time and connects calls to data, involved team members can see what agents have done or what they plan to do. As such, tasks can be categorized and allocated automatically. The CRM can create events and plan callbacks so that there is always a potential next step for agent/client interaction already on the schedule.

 

Call analytics: With CTI integration, data becomes instantaneously shareable across teams and automatically synced. In this way, multiple agents can have access to real-time updates and new data. Moreover, ConnectWise CRM helps manage, organize, and analyze data. It can record and store customer configuration data in a centralized, accessible location, thus allowing agents and managers immediate access to a host of useful data, including contact databases, inventories, previous sales, and other crucial elements.

 

VoIP phone systems are the most efficient and cost-effect system to use in contemporary call centers and IT service departments. A badly integrated CRM, however, can be detrimental to a company in which business thrives on creating and maximizing opportunity. Not only must a company find the right CRM for its business, but it must also effectively coordinate its desktop services with its phone system. ConnectWise CTI phone integration works to allow users to have as much information as possible, get the right calls to the right person quickly, and create the best possible customer service interaction.

 

ConnectWise CTI applications allow VoIP phone systems to be seamlessly integrated with the ConnectWise CRM. With ConnectWise CTI phone integration, users can manage timelines, dial from their computers with one click, access significant data on potential clients and repeat customers, collaborate with other agents, and create a better customer service experience. Moreover, the cloud-based CRM is cost efficient, scalable and lacks the baggy infrastructure of on-premises servers. With ConnectWise CRM integrated into businesses’ phone systems, businesses can take the focus off of managing their system and instead, focus on their products.

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How Relevant CTI Can Be

How Relevant CTI Can Be | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration and it refers to any type of technology that allows computer and phone central functionalities to be interconnected resulting in an added value service portfolio.

 

In the beginning of the telephony era, you were not given the chance of dialing; you would simply “signal” a call center and a human operator would ask you what you required. Then once you stated you wanted to call someone, that human operator would establish a point-to-point connection between your terminal equipment (phone) and the destinations.

 

The funny thing is that nowadays, when you ask your smartphone’s personal assistant to call someone, the process as perceived by us humans is, in fact, the same, and we like it better than having to dial the number or look for the contact.

 

Phone Centrals have become Computers instead of the long-gone PBX backbones, nevertheless the integration of such computers (which perform the role of phone centers) with terminal equipment’s which are in fact computers (like smartphones) and computer software like CRM and ERP Servers or Cloud-based App Services has made the CTI concept more relevant by the day.

 
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How to integrate your Phone System with Google Apps through CTI?

How to integrate your Phone System with Google Apps through CTI? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

With VoIP (voice over internet protocol), companies are now able to access cheaper, more accessible phone systems all over the world. While VoIP phones have become common, particularly in North America and Europe, there is still a broad growth trend in Asian, African, and Latin American markets. Asian Pacific Markets expect an estimated 14% growth over the next five years, a significant increase considering the dense technological saturation in the area, caused primarily by escalating high-speed communications networks.

 

In markets where there isn’t such an extreme jump in internet infrastructure, there are also significant gains in the adoption of IP phone technology. In Africa, VoIP growth is stunning (80% in South Africa, for example). Because governments own traditional phone infrastructure in Africa, and also because of the challenges expanding utilities to less urban or more isolated areas, mobile VoIP has been replacing traditional phone systems for emerging and growing businesses.

 

Given contemporary global markets and the push toward global expansion, even companies that have long-established traditional phone infrastructure are adopting VoIP systems for their call centers and sales teams. Global calls are more than just person-to-person voice; they now include video, conferencing, and text, whether in Asia, Europe, or North America.

 

With VoIP phone systems, businesses can integrate their phones to their computers and smoothly connect all aspects of sales and service. SMEs and larger enterprises can all benefit from merging data and communications functions; with IP phones, users gain key communication features, all the while letting their VoIP service providers handle IT, updates, and data hosting. Businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from efficiently merging voice and data functions and gaining innovative communication features, while their VoIP service provider takes care of the technology.

 

CTI (computer telephony integration) software lets users integrate their phones with their CRM or ERP platforms to provide more efficient, cheaper, and easier customer communications.

 

With sales, agents can contact more potential clients, improve customer/agent interaction, and create a more collaborative sales team performance. With service, CTI software gives customers options of self-service or live agents, gives automatic call routing, reduces handle times, and gives management the opportunity to review call center performance.

 

It follows by implication that it’s important for businesses to find the best VoIP phone system and CRM for their needs. Some companies need a comprehensive system that works seamlessly across a host of different silos, whereas other businesses need customizable specifics for one element (IT, for example). Businesses must understand their budgets, dominant departments, as well as the need for scalability, and make decisions accordingly.

 
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Women and Nonbinary People in Information Security

Women and Nonbinary People in Information Security | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

I’ve got great news for you! My interview series continues.

Last week, I spoke with Nicola Whiting, cyber hygiene specialist, and Titania Chief Strategy Officer.

 

This time, I had the privilege of speaking with defensive security expert Liz Bell. We talked about the 90s internet, blue teaming, sexism and transphobia in tech as well as what pen testing can teach you about defensive security.

 

Kim Crawley: Please tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.

Liz Bell: I work for a cybersecurity defense company that provides network monitoring and response tools for customers in the finance, government, and energy sectors. I work on the internal monitoring team, which means I help keep our own networks safe. Before that, I worked in penetration testing punctuated with some time in academia doing research on applying machine learning techniques to attacking ciphers, and before that, I was a software engineer. I’ve been interested in security since I was little, though. Being lucky enough to have grown up with the web, I just caught the tail end of the BBS era, and so I got to see security start to become something people actually took seriously. Being curious, my general instinct was to find ways to circumvent limitations. Now I get to spot people trying to do those same things.

 

KC: It sounds like you’ve been online since the 90s. I’ve been online since 1994. Is there anything about the 90s internet that you miss these days?

LB: There are a few things that I’m kind of nostalgic about like MSN chat rooms, hearing my phone sing the internet song to the gateway, downloading Win32 viruses from Napster and Limewire, earning badges and posting angsty poetry on Bolt.com, but I think the main thing I miss is the openness and generosity of the web back then. These days, it feels like, if you’re fortunate, you have a series of walled gardens, and if you’re not, you’re facing a never-ending stream of racist/homophobic/transphobic content and intrusive adtech.

 

KC: You mentioned P2P malware, which is still a problem these days. How do you think online cybersecurity challenges are different now compared to back then?

LB: I think a major difference between then and now, if not the main difference, is money. Once we started being able to shop and bank online, users became a good target for scammers, extortionists and other organized crime groups. Not to mention the environment is now extremely different; a lot of people now have a lot of their lives stored in phones, tablets, and laptops, and some of those also end up connecting to corporate or industrial networks. For organizations, this means that just defining what your network perimeter is can sometimes be impossible.

As far as national security is concerned, the public at large has become much more aware of the scale of state-level activities on communication networks, much more than when the ECHELON disclosures happened, as far as I can tell. I think that has also led to something of a change in what people’s threat model looks like.

 

KC: Echelon! I knew someone who worked at Lawrence Livermore back in the day, apparently on that particular project.

LB: That’s awesome! I work with a lot of former IC and .mil people who I understand have probably been involved in a lot of things that would make for extremely interesting conversations, but alas, I’m not cleared.

 

KC: How has your penetration testing experience helped you with your blue teamwork?

LB: It’s a big help. Understanding the different kinds of techniques and tools used by adversaries to compromise accounts, intercept traffic or steal data means I have more of an ability to spot patterns or suspicious outliers in our sensor data. Likewise, seeing how blue teams operate makes me better at doing the offensive work or, at least, doing it in a way that’s less likely to get me caught! I’m increasingly a proponent of getting the red team and blue team members to trade sides occasionally or work together to have a better understanding of how the other side operates.

 

KC: Has sexism ever been a challenge in your career?

LB: Honestly, I don’t know. When I first started, I hadn’t transitioned yet, and so I was perceived as an (effeminate, not assertive) man, and so presumably I benefited from that when it came to getting my career started. At a previous employer, after transitioning, I was the only female penetration tester in the office, the only woman I knew of working in a technical role, and the only out queer person, and I started getting more complaints about my performance. I ultimately ended up leaving, and it definitely became harder to find work afterward, but then again, what I was looking for was pretty specific. I’m lucky enough to have been hired by a woman and be managed by a woman, in my current role, even though the team is still largely white cisgender straight men.

 

KC: Well, you’re not the first transgender woman I’ve interviewed in this series. I’m happy to see more transgender people in cybersecurity.

LB: I actually applied to the place I’m working at now because a good friend of mine, who’s also trans, worked there. It was an incredible privilege to go from this extremely homogenous environment to getting to work professionally in information security with another queer trans woman.

 

KC: Is there anything you miss about your pen testing days?

LB: I do miss the “let’s be evil” feeling, sometimes and the interaction with external clients from all kinds of different industries. My job now has maybe a little less variety, but I get to stick with projects longer, and being an investigator definitely makes up for not getting to pretend to be a criminal anymore!

 

KC: I have spoken to Defensive Security Handbook authors Ian Brotherston and Amanda Berlin, who believe that defensive security is underrated in our field. Do you agree?

LB: I think that offensive security gets a lot of the glamor, but penetration testing is really only a small piece of what keeps users safe. Blue team folks definitely don’t get nearly enough credit or support; offensive security people need to only find one problem, but defensive security practitioners can’t make a single mistake.

 

KC: Do you think a lot of organizations overlook defensive security?

LB: In my experience, a lot of organizations tend to maybe focus on the wrong things: or rather, they optimize for meeting regulatory requirements. Rules say they need a firewall and quarterly penetration tests, so they buy a firewall and contract the tests out. Security should be baked in everywhere; into the software development lifecycle, the monitoring and maintenance of the corporate network, training of new employees and continuous training of your existing staff and even how the organization interacts with suppliers. The line between ‘defensive information security’ and ‘physical security’ gets fuzzy, and I don’t know if many organizations prioritize either at sufficiently many levels of the stack.

 

KC: I’ve learned a lot from you. Do you have anything else you’d like to add before we go, Liz?

LB: I think it might be worth mentioning that machine learning is increasingly something people are exploring in both the defensive and offensive information security space, and in order to both defend against robot hackers and defeat Skynet, or build either, it helps to have that blended blue and red team exposure. Otherwise, thank you so much for your work here boosting not-male voices!

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Safe Texting In HealthCare : Do’s And  Dont’s 

Safe Texting In HealthCare : Do’s And  Dont’s  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Texting is the most popular feature of a smartphone and 97% of Americans sent texts to their friends and family because texting is easy, quick and an effective method to communicate. However, texting is considered as an unsafe method of communication for healthcare purposes. In the healthcare world there are many rules that govern this form of communication.

 

The privacy and security rule of HIPAA/HITECH covers communication of electronic protected health information (ePHI) that includes social media, email and text messages. For example, the nurses at a nursing facility sent patient information to the medical providers through a text message. Though there was no evidence that an unauthorized person viewed the messages, CMS chalked out a ten point remediation plan to train staff and appoint a HIPAA security officer and change the HIPAA policies and procedures of the nursing facility.

 

Immediate action was taken by CMS because texting creates a record, unlike a telephone call. In a telephone call, it is easier to know that you are communicating to the right person. While texting sensitive patient information is not at zero risk, because at least one third of people who have text their medical information to public surveys say that they have sent it to the wrong person by mistake. Further, HIPAA/HITECH privacy violation rules can charge fines up to $50,000. It is advisable to avoid the tendency to text patient information to a colleague for a quick patient consultation.

 

HIPAA Compliant Texting

 

Even though texting has many downsides, a secure mobile messaging compliant with HIPAA can be used with the following rules:

  • Secure data centers – Offsite or onsite data centers must adhere to high levels of physical security and policies. This is to control and conduct continuous risk evaluation for data exchange through texts.
  • Encryption – ePHI must be encrypted both in transit and at rest.
  • Recipient authentication – Confirmation that text communication containing ePHI goes only to the intended recipient
  • Audit controls – The ePHI message must be automatically recorded and it should be available for any type of audit such as sender, receiver, content, etc.

The volume of text messages indicates the preference for all to follow this method of communication. The number of texts sent by American in 2008 was 1 trillion and the number of text sent by Americans last year was 1.92 which is almost the double. Therefore texting cannot be abandoned fully, but the HIPAA rules mentioned above can make it safer to send and receive patient information through texting.

 

Appointment and Wellness Reminders using Text message

 

It may be a practice in your clinic to send reminder texts to patients for appointments. There are statistical evidence that text reminders reduces the rate of patient no-show. HIPAA rules does not regulate communications that are not a part of ePHI.

 

Text reminders help patients to follow medication, healthcare and recommended lifestyle. Researchers point out that text reminder help patients with chronic disease to manage diabetes. It helps African Americans to take their medication for time, especially those suffering from high blood pressure. Reminder texts help people to exercise and maintain their physical activity levels. In addition to the above advantages, more research is required to find out more best practices in texting patients.

 

Secure texting for the above services are now made available by Healthcare vendors through simple apps that allow medical professionals and physicians to use texting within a HIPAA approved platform. Government agencies usually do not use these apps, so it is important to make sure that these apps are HIPAA compliant. If you wish to avail texting service using a third party secure texting platform check for the three guidelines that offer security to PHI: integrity, confidentiality and availability. Nowadays, more than 80% of medical clinics and physicians use EHRS to communication with patients. Electronic health record systems allow communication with patients through text or email over a secure patient portal that meet the Meaningful Use requirement.

Whichever method of electronic communication is used, train your staff at the medical clinic to never transfer ePHI over a non-secure mode to save yourself from being penalized.

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A positive view of health reform, no thanks to the HITECH Act

A positive view of health reform, no thanks to the HITECH Act | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Recently I completed the Commonwealth Fund’s 2015 International Survey of Primary Care Doctors. They wanted to know what I thought about our health system; if fundamentally it worked or needed to be better. They asked questions about my satisfaction with practicing medicine, the quality of care my patients receive, and my experiences with electronic medical records. (You can click here to read through the 2012 survey, to get an idea of what it’s all about.)


Their final question was about health care reform.

“Thinking about the health care law that was passed in 2010, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, would you say that you have a very favorable opinion, somewhat favorable opinion, somewhat unfavorable opinion, very unfavorable opinion, or not sure.”

And I realized, as I answered this:


That I have a somewhat favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act. It is good for patients to have access to health insurance, even though there are ongoing and severe issues with access to care.

I have a very unfavorable opinion of the much-less-talked about HITECH Act, that rolled out about the same time as the ACA, and which has profoundly shaped physician practice and patient access. The HITECH Act pays doctors to use electronic medical records in a meaningful way in order to spur the widespread adoption of EMRs. But it didn’t provide any oversight of the EMR market to ensure that the EMRs could provide meaningful functionality in an efficient way.


When we used paper charts, I used to be able to comfortably see 24 patients and finish charting by the end of the day. Now with the suboptimal EMR adopted by our health center, I can barely see twenty, and I have to spend extra hours on evenings and weekends finishing computer charting. Sadly, the EMR hasn’t added clinical functionality beyond what paper charts did — each system is still fragmented, I can’t access records from specialists’  offices or most hospitalizations, lab results may or may not be integrated into the system, radiology reports are scanned in — only now I have to slowly click through each separate screen, rather than riffling through a chart to find what I need. A colleague described the process: “Death by a thousand clicks.”


I am not alone in taking longer with EMRs. A 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that, nationwide, physicians average an additional 48 minutes a daycharting when using EMRs. When it take physicians longer, we take, on average 2 hours longer each day. But there are outliers — two-fifths of physicians are taking the same amount of time, or less. 2 percent even report being much more efficient! What I want to know are — what EMR products are the physicians using who find EMRs equal to or more efficient than paper charts? And can I use those too?


Not all EMRs are created equal. I have worked with three different systems since residency — one was awesome (integrating records across a county system), one was equivalent to paper (same amount of time to chart, but same challenges in accessing records from different systems adopted in the ED, inpatient, outpatient). This last EMR has been terrible. Of the hundreds of products on the market, some EMRs are more efficient than others, and deliver on the promise of improved functionality. Sadly, those are the minority. Some of the products on the market are so bad that doctors sued the companies that sold them the dysfunctional EMRs. There are health centers that have gone out of business while trying to implement inefficient EMRs. Primary care physicians have been pushed out of practice by EMRs, contributing to our primary care shortage.


So how do I feel about health care reform?


The Affordable Care Act was health insurance reform, and I like its provisions ensuring coverage.


The HITECH Act was health record reporting reform, replacing functional paper systems with what sadly, too frequently, have been dysfunctional electronic medical records.  I have a very disfavorable opinion of the impact of incentivizing the adoption of any old EMR, without requiring that EMRs meet basic functionality requirements.


Together, the ACA and HITECH Act created a destructive environment for primary care doctors, where we take longer to see fewer patients when there are more patients to be seen. The mismatch of time and need are burning us out.


But let’s not blame our health care woes on Obamacare. Let’s blame it on HITECH, and seek to improve the functionality and efficiency of our electronic health records. We don’t need to appeal the ACA. We need to improve the HITECH Act, and ensure all EMRs on the market meet minimum standards out of the package, and that all systems can talk to each other to facilitate information exchange and better clinical care. Then we’ll get a healthier America, with happier primary care doctors. And I have a very favorable opinion of that prospect.

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Telehealth, Video Tech Tools and HIPAA Compliance

Telehealth, Video Tech Tools and HIPAA Compliance | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine has been around for years, but as a healthcare service it has been underutilized. Today, virtual visits for medical care have skyrocketed because of the COVID-19 outbreak and other factors.

 

Telehealth is experiencing a revolutionary moment like never before. By the end of 2020, virtual medical care usage is estimated to reach upwards of 1 billion interactions, according to analysts at Forrester Research. 

 

In addition, some restrictions that were barriers to entry before have been lifted in response to the public health pandemic. And in March 2020, the Trump Administration expanded Medicare's coverage allowing beneficiaries to receive more extensive care through telehealth visits. These are done using video and audio applications. 

 

With the advent of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, technology is healthcare's solution for delivering continuous patient care. Tech tools' enable widespread access, bringing an unprecedented reach to a larger patient population.

 

For medical practitioners, the shift of using video platforms to communicate can come with risk and HIPAA compliance concerns. OCR asks that telehealth sessions be conducted in a private environment.  Sometimes this could be achieved with a simple task such as closing an office door or lowering one's voice.  

 

The Office for Civil Rights has issued an announcement, guiding on which audio and video communication platforms are acceptable and not acceptable for patient interactions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

As stated officially by OCR on its website:

"OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency."

In this blog post, we will highlight some of the video communication platforms that follow OCR's public health emergency guidance. Of course, keep in mind that compliance regulations might change in upcoming months.

Telehealth video calling platforms to use amid the pandemic

Under OCR's notice, covered healthcare providers can use certain platforms for non-public facing video communications with patients, as these platforms are HIPAA compliant and will enter into Business Associate Agreements (BAAs).

Some of these are:

  • Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams
  • Updox
  • VSee
  • Zoom for Healthcare
  • Doxy.me
  • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet
  • Cisco Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime
  • GoToMeeting
  • Spruce Health Care Messenger

Zoom is on this list, but with the recent rise in security attacks from threat actors joining Zoom meetings uninvited, we have seen advice from various  entities to use a different video platform when communicating with patients, until all security and privacy issues with Zoom are fixed. No one wants to deal with Zoom-bombing during an important medical visit. 

It's important to note that these technological tools are third-party providers and they may pose privacy risks. However, using FaceTime, for instance, during the pandemic is not necessarily a compliance violation, depending on a case by case basis. 

What if patient does not have access to video telehealth formats

If the telehealth session is being conducted in good faith during this public health emergency, then OCR permits the use of audio methods like wireless phone, landline phones to conduct the session. If using email or texting, they ask the covered entity to try and utilize safeguards whenever possible, such as secure email or secure texting.  

Avoid using TikTok for telehealth sessions

On the other hand, OCR stated the following public-facing applications are not to be used when providing telehealth services, even during the public health crisis. OCR is not the sole government agency warning about TikTok's security implications. The wildly popular app has come under fire for underage privacy and international security concerns by U.S. lawmakers and security professionals. 

 

Using public-facing communications could be an evidence of bad faith on the part of the provider, which could make the provider liable for OCR enforcement actions. 

Avoid using these platforms for telehealth:

  • Facebook Live
  • Twitch
  • TikTok

Not only that, the guideline explains to avoid using any public-facing technology, meaning the session can be seen by a group. 

 

For privacy protections and peace of mind, OCR advises to turn to HIPAA compliant technology platforms. There are vendors available, who will enter into a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with a covered entity.

 

Check with the vendor to see if that's the case. When in doubt, reach out to third-party HIPAA experts to ensure your following compliance regulations as you transition to doing telehealth. 

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Breach Risk Analysis: A four-step plan

Breach Risk Analysis: A four-step plan | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Data breaches have long been a nuisance for many industries, including healthcare and financial services.

 

In the age of our current public health crisis, HIPAA-covered entities must follow all reasonable safeguards to protect the privacy of their patients who may be infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does offer some accommodations in such cases.

 

Business owners need to be prepared, and should always have a plan in place should a worse-case scenario occur.  One method of preparation is to understand what is a Breach Risk Analysis.

In this blog, we will give tips on how to plan for a data breach and what to do when one occurs.

Got breached? Implement a four-step plan

A data breach occurs when sensitive information about an individual is lost, stolen, hacked, or inappropriately disclosed.  Any time an organization suspects that one of these incidents has occurred, it should immediately perform a Breach Risk Analysis. 

This analysis can be conducted by implementing this four-step plan:

  1. Determine what type of data was involved
  2. Determine which person or organization the data was stolen by or disclosed to
  3. Determine if the person or organization acquired or viewed the data
  4. Document mitigating actions that were taken by the organization.

Let's stay a closer look at each step. 

Determine the type of data that was stolen

The first step the organization should take is to examine the type of data that was involved in a breach.  This step is crucial, as it helps the organization understand the significance of the data that may have been exposed. 

Even if the information breached seems minimal, it needs to be determined if information about an individual can be reconstructed.

If the breached data is found to contain sensitive information, such as client names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, the organization may have to enact extra services like extending credit reporting to the affected individuals. 

Determine which person or organization the data was stolen by or disclosed to

This step allows the organization to understand the parties involved in the breach and their responsibilities and motivations as it related to the exposed data.

 

For example, if a healthcare organization accidentally discloses Protected Health Information to another healthcare organization, that healthcare organization is still bound by HIPAA rules to protect the privacy and security of that patient data. However, if the same patient information is inadvertently disclosed to a private business or individual, the obligation to protect data is not in place.

 

If the data is found to be accessed by criminals, such as hackers, the organization must assume more nefarious attentions. 

 

Hackers are more likely to sell data so crimes like fraud or identity theft are likely committed. Anytime sensitive data is accessed by hackers or criminals, the organization should consider involving legal representation and law enforcement.

 

Determining if the person or organization acquired or viewed the data 

This difficult but necessary step allows an organization to determine if sensitive information was actually viewed by a unauthorized third party. 

 

Therefore, if the data breach involved something like spyware or ransomware, the organization must perform a forensic analysis to ascertain if not only information was viewed, but also ex-filtrated.

 

Other instances of breaches may involve sensitive information being sent to the wrong party, such as an errant fax or email.  In these instances, it is important for the organization to confirm that the recipient has properly disposed of the sensitive information.

Document mitigating actions made

Organizations should not wait until the level of exposure from a breach is determined before they start performing mitigating actions. 

 

If the breach had a technical aspect, such as ransomware, the organization must document actions such as restoring backups, removing malicious software, and any forensic analysis that was performed.

 

If the breach involved improper disclosure, the organization should document that the data was properly disposed of by the third party.

 

Organizations will always be at risk for data breaches.  The best step they can take is to be prepared for when this happens, not if.

It is always a best practice to have a breach response plan in place, and any organization can put one together by incorporating the four steps described in this blog.

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4 Reasons Why You Need Telehealth for Your Practice

4 Reasons Why You Need Telehealth for Your Practice | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telehealth defined

Technology and consumer demand are changing how and where healthcare is delivered.

 

Telehealth is the “use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration,” according to the Health Resources Services Administration. Patients experience telehealth when they video conference with their provider instead of being seen in an office.

 

As healthcare consumerism evolves —driven by young consumers — patients want convenient access to care. Patients want access. They want technology that allows them to do more than schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, pay bills online and email their physicians. Physicians want to replicate the care they deliver at an in-person visit. As a result, telehealth is on the rise for providers and patients alike.

 

Patients prefer to see their own doctor virtually and will increasingly choose medical providers who offer virtual visit capabilities over those who don’t.  Similarly, providers want to see their own patients virtually, get paid for it and want video visits to integrate with their practice management workflow and the electronic health record (EHR).

Patients prefer that their telehealth provider knows them.

More than half (56 percent) of respondents to a 2015 consumer survey felt it was important to have an established relationship with a telemedicine provider and even more (60 percent) felt it was important for a provider to have access to their health records.1  Patients who experience video visits with their own doctor have both.

Consumers increasingly choose medical providers who offer digital and virtual video visit capabilities

More than half of patients surveyed expect digital capabilities and confirmed it would influence their choice in providers, according to 2019 consumer study by Accenture.  For example, 70 percent of patients surveyed are more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text and 49 percent are more likely to choose one that offers the ability to communicate with a doctor via video.2

 

And interest is growing; responses increased 13 percent compared to 2016.  Not surprisingly, younger consumers are leading the trend.

Providers want to see their own patients virtually.

Last year, NextGen Healthcare surveyed our provider clients to determine how best to support their telehealth needs and learned that 56 percent — more than half — use or plan to use telehealth. 4 Of those, an overwhelming majority (90 percent) preferred virtual video visits with established patients.4   Examples of these scheduled virtual visits include:

  • Follow-up visits for treatment compliance
  • Reviewing labs or images
  • Medication management and prescription refills
  • Pre- and post-procedure visits

Integration with practice management workflow and EHR is the key for provider adoption and payment.

Our survey and subsequent focus groups demonstrated the importance of integration of the virtual visit in existing workflows and EHR. 

 

Providers are adding virtual visit functionality to their services and want the same processes for virtual visits as they have for in-person visits, including scheduling, reminders, documentation and insurance or patient payment processing. This is important for adoption by physicians in the practice and payment for services.

 

Just like non-traditional care models, telehealth is on the rise. Providers who embrace the power of virtual care are going to pass those who don’t. Providing technology that is easy to use and integrated into the provider’s EHR will empower easier access.

 

With the advent of technology and healthcare merging into telehealth, providers and patients alike will experience optimal service and optimal care, something that is important to all of us expecting to receive quality care, whether at home or on the road.

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What's the Best Small Business Phone System?

What's the Best Small Business Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Business Phone Systems Basics

Most businesses use a business phone system. It consists of a calling network infrastructure that manages all the communications. It is designed to handle the complex needs of companies, customer service calls, and the call routing that carries calls to the correct person. 

 

Some of the more useful features available in a business telephone system include the following:

  • Call Transfer
  • Greetings
  • Hold Music
  • Dial-by-Name Directory
  • Call Detail Records
  • Call Handling Rules
  • Text Messaging 
  • Many more

Types of Business Phone Systems

Traditional

In a traditional business phone system setup, a local PBX (private branch exchange) system is needed to manage multiple lines.

 

Physical lines connect these and then link them together within an on-site network. This system is often installed and maintained by an external company, such as an IT consultant or PBX reseller.

 

Extensions are created for each user by assigning to them one of the local PBX lines. In most cases, extensions are associated using a three or 4-digit number used to route calls to a specific person’s desk.

 

Extending this system as your company grows requires additional hardware to be added. It also takes time to have the changes made, which makes this process costly and time-consuming. 

 

Positives

  • Able to handles hundreds of lines
  • Doesn’t need an internet connection
  • Offers on-site or hosted options

Negatives

  • Expensive to upgrade or reconfigure
  • Costly monthly phone bill
  • Needs frequent maintenance and servicing

Virtual Phone Systems

Modern business phone systems go beyond tradition; they are full-service virtual solutions for small business communications that utilize high-speed internet connections and hosted software.

 

 A virtual phone system can have all the same features as an old-fashioned PBX without all the equipment.

 

These phone systems are specifically designed to meet the varied needs of a growing business.

 

They allow teams and employees to keep in touch seamlessly using a bevy of powerful tools. Virtual phone systems are powered by VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.

 

The handling call routing and signal processing all done remotely, requiring only a small monthly fee, thereby saving you loads of money and time. 

 

VoIP systems are a good choice for any business, but most especially small businesses. The main reason for this is its flexibility. Adding new users and features as your business grows is easy and instant.

 

Since this system uses cloud technology, it works well with mobile phones. That makes it ideal for businesses that have virtual offices, remote employees, or a need to keep employees connected to customers on the go.

 

Having a virtual office phone system doesn’t mean “mobile-only.” You can have a virtual phone system that works with traditional handsets, computers, as well as mobile phones. These systems quickly adapt to your needs. 

 

Here are some of the critical advantages of using the cloud for your phone system:

  • Save the cost associated with housing the equipment on-site
  • As it is hosted on a third-party server, you don’t have to think about maintenance—your provider handles that
  • Since it is super easy to expand, your virtual office can grow or shrink as needed
  • Usually, monthly phone costs are a lot less than a traditional phone system
  • It is easy to install without the need for outside consultants
  • Works with smartphones and other internet-connected devices
  • You are free to choose whatever area code you want for your business
  • Callers enjoy HD call quality

One of the main concerns people have about switching to a virtual phone system is that they’ll be relying on the provider to ensure the system is up and running, rather than their own I.T. team.

 

That’s why it is critical to make a smart choice when you select your vendor. 

What are the Key Points for Buying a Small Business Phone System?

When you are shopping for a small business phone system, there are a few things that help define your search. When it comes to finding the best fit for your business keeps these in mind:

 

  • Budget: Make sure you understand all of the initial and monthly fees for the set of services that you need.

 

  • Reputation: Because the market for virtual phone systems is so hot, there are a lot of vendors on the scene. Make sure you pick one that’s been around for a while and has a good reputation for customer success. (Fun fact, our founder, Alon Cohen launched the world’s first VoIP product way back in 1995.)

 

  • Fit: Some vendors are focused on servicing giant corporations. If you are a small team, they may not be working on the kinds of features that are important to your type of business. You don’t want to pay for the development of features you will never use, so choose a vendor that is focused on the needs of customers like you.
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Healthcare Organizations Mature their Cybersecurity Practices

Healthcare Organizations Mature their Cybersecurity Practices | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cyberattacks in the healthcare industry show no signs of abating. In 2018, digital criminals breached 15 million healthcare records. Alarmingly, in the first half of 2019 alone, 32 million healthcare records were compromised as a result of multiple security incidents.

 

Among those was the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) breach, an event which affected 24 million patient records when an unauthorized user accessed systems that contained sensitive information.

 

The breach ultimately led AMCA to file for bankruptcy, and it affected over 20 AMCA customers like Quest and LabCorp.

 

Despite the growth in cyberattacks in the healthcare industry, healthcare organizations continue to underinvest in cybersecurity. Compared to other industries like the financial industry, which invests 15% of revenue on cybersecurity initiatives, the healthcare industry invests only 4-7% of revenue.

 

Healthcare organizations under-invest in cybersecurity, even though the industry incurs the highest per capita cost of a breach. According to the IBM 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost per breached record in healthcare is $429.

 

Although the financial industry has the second-highest average cost per breached record at $210 per breached record, healthcare incurs more than double the cost than finance.

 

To mitigate breaches to confidential patient information, HIPAA was instituted to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of protected health information, so it came with attendant fines for non-compliance.

 

To improve their cybersecurity posture and avoid fines, many healthcare organizations have taken steps to ensure that they comply with HIPAA and that they pass the HIPAA audits.

 

Recognizing the need to improve their security posture, many mature healthcare organizations have adopted industry-standard frameworks like NIST and CIS. Also, many healthcare organizations recognize their need to achieve compliance with other regulatory standards like PCI and SOX.

 

Yet the spate of breaches in healthcare demonstrates that achieving compliance does not guarantee a secure environment, especially when healthcare organizations focus on passing audits at a point in time.

 

While healthcare organizations marshal resources to ensure they pass audits, the organization returns to business as usual, leading to a less secure posture over time.

 

As a result, mere compliance with security standards has had a limited impact on the security posture of healthcare organizations.

 

Achieving and maintaining compliance with these various, complex, ever-changing standards and regulations can be burdensome for healthcare organizations.

 

This challenge is only exacerbated by the technical skills gap. Organizations, especially healthcare organizations, continue to be challenged with hiring, retaining and training cybersecurity professionals. Recent statistics show that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally by 2021.

 

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was introduced to ameliorate the challenges healthcare organizations face in trying to achieve compliance with the various, complex and evolving standards and frameworks.

 

HITRUST CSF incorporates existing standards and regulatory policies like HIPAA, PCI, NIST, ISO into an overarching comprehensive framework that remains sufficiently prescriptive in how control requirements can be scaled and tailored for healthcare organizations of varying types and sizes.

 

However, attempting to attest to the HITRUST CSF using manual methods negates the benefits of the HITRUST CSF, as this greatly increases the chances of error.

 

In addition to the extra time and effort that is required to track compliance manually, which is only compounded around audit time, information that is manually collated into a report is hard for an auditor to verify.

 

As a result, Tripwire partnered with HITRUST to help healthcare organizations automate HITRUST CSF compliance. Tripwire is one of only two cybersecurity providers to have partnered with HITRUST for the automated reinforcement of CSF compliance.

 

Tripwire has the industry’s largest platform and policy coverage, including legacy systems.

 

It has a proven track record of helping organizations achieve and maintain compliance with HIPAA, PCI and SOX as well as adhere to security frameworks like NIST and CIS.

 

Now, Tripwire can help organizations automatically achieve and maintain compliance with HITRUST CSF as well as prove compliance with out-of-box, HITRUST-certified reports. This helps them:

  • Quickly achieve and maintain compliance, including audit-ready proof of compliance
  • Accurately align with the HITRUST CSF with Tripwire’s HITRUST-certified mapping
  • Keep up with new HITRUST CSF versions while strengthening your cybersecurity posture
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Telemedicine Platforms Attracting Big-time Investments

Telemedicine Platforms Attracting Big-time Investments | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

We’ve seen enormous changes in the healthcare industry in recent years, mostly relating to the more efficient storage and usage of patient data through blockchain technology and the digitisation of patient files.

 

In the past two decades, the growing penetration of technology in the industry has yielded new medical devices, automated treatments, and improved diagnostic processes, giving doctors, scientists and patients renewed hope for the treatment of diseases some of which, until now, have been largely untreatable.

 

Blockchain has enabled the seamless global exchange of patient information in real time with reduced transaction costs and fewer administrative delays, enabling much faster, more secure and more efficient exchanges of health records between medical personnel.

 

But technology isn’t only transforming the way patient information is handled; it is also revolutionising the way patients receive medical care.

 

Telemedicine -- the use of information technology to remotely diagnose, treat, or continuously monitor patients - has been hailed the ‘next disruptor’ of the healthcare industry.

 

In other words, the industry has at last recognised that waiting for hours at a doctor's office to ask a simple question or get a prescription can in some cases be so burdensome and frustrating that it can prevent patients from seeking medical help.

 

About time, too. If every other aspect of our lives has been digitised -- from job hunting, to online dating, to doing the groceries -- why haven’t we yet digitised the process of receiving medical care?

 

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By empowering caregivers to remotely interact with their patients, telemedicine has the power to completely transform health care delivery, by making it far more affordable and available.

 

In fact, it has already begun to do this: in 2018, over 7 million patients used some sort of a telemedicine service in the U.S., and that number is only expected to rise over the next few years. Over half of America’s hospitals already use some sort of telemedicine, and there are more than 200 telemedicine networks in the US alone. Inevitably, with anticipated growth comes unprecedented industry investment - and the telemedicine industry is no exception.

 

There have been huge investments in the global telemedicine market in recent years, so much so that it is anticipated to grow from its current $38.3 billion valuation to an impressive $130.5 billion by 2025.

 

This encompasses value derived not only from the services provided through telemedicine but the devices and platforms that support service delivery. 

 

As healthcare companies look for ways to reduce costs and improve patient-centered care, more and more providers -- as well as investors -- are choosing to invest in shares in telehealth.

 

According to recent studies, 56 percent of healthcare executives say they have already integrated telemedicine - and more specifically, software as a service (SaaS) business models - into organisation, while another 24 percent are currently looking to invest in telemedicine solutions.

 

The remaining 20 percent are just beginning to become familiar with the opportunities presented by telehealth and telemedicine.

 

One particular platform - Colorado-based CirrusMD, which gives patients access to a board-certified physician in less than a minute on the app or on the web - has seen the largest investment to date in the telemedicine world, with a further US$15 million in funding having just been granted for the expansion of its telemedicine portfolio.

 

The money was raised through a series B funding round led by Drive Capital, bringing its total venture capital raised to $26 million altogether.

 

Founded in 2012 by an emergency physician, the platform is available across 50 states and differs from other telemedicine platforms in that members don’t pay upfront to physicians. Instead, it teams up with integrated delivery networks who pay doctors by the hour to deliver services via its platform.

 

CirrusMD is far from alone in the telemedicine sphere, mind you. It vies for the attention of patients alongside competitors Heal, Pager, Kry, HealthTap, Snap MD, Mfine, Pager, K Health, and Doctor on Demand, the latter of which just pulled in $50 million to continue expansion of its virtual doctor platform.

 

Maven - the first telemedicine platform made specifically for women - just launched with $2.2 million in seed funding, and Spruce just raised a further $15 million for its new platform which caters to people with dermatology conditions.

 

With 25 percent of consumers admitting they would willingly switch their primary care provider for one that offers more telehealth services, and with 75 percent of people saying they would be happy to attend a doctor’s appointment remotely, it's extremely likely that the telehealth and telemedicine industry will grow at an exponential rate in the next few years, paving the way for huge opportunities for those willing to invest in the digital infrastructure that supports it.

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How to integrate HubSpot with CTI through your Phone System?

How to integrate HubSpot with CTI through your Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For sales reps or call center managers looking to combine the power of a CRM with a phone system, Computer telephony integration (CTI) is the answer. For many, that integration involves HubSpot. HubSpot CRM integrations apply the full depth of business intelligence to every consumer interaction, turning raw data into bottom-line ROI.

 

Why bother with computer telephony integration (CTI)?

 

Whether or not consumers realize it, call center representatives tend to know a fair amount about them by the time they say: “Hello”. That’s the power of CTI—pushing high-value, real-time data to employees engaged in human-to-human interactions with customers. That knowledge can solve problems more efficiently and offer subtle customer relationship support to retain more clients.

 

CTI can even aid call center representatives before the conversation begins. Pre-routing data gathering gleans information from consumers that sends calls to the most qualified representative. For consumers, this means an overall smoother experience. It lowers the chances of pogo-sticking from representative to representative while searching for the right person or department.

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For employees, pre-routing saves time. With entry-level questions already asked and answered, representatives can dive into the core issue immediately. (Consumers are grateful for quicker solutions as well.) Lowering the amount of live call time frees representatives to handle more consumers each day. The benefit to employers? Less call center staff.

 

While customers and call-center representatives may never interact more than once, CTI avoids the perception of communicating with a stranger. On a personal level, CRM data may contain notes that help representatives navigate a heated conversation with a demanding client. On a professional level, notes from previous calls—from contact history to technical solutions—can get representatives up to speed immediately.

 

Unique advantages of HubSpot CTI

 

HubSpot’s CRM tackles the so-called “tasks salespeople hate.” HubSpot’s promise is less time on spreadsheets and in Microsoft Outlook and more time interacting with customers. It’s about streamlined, centralized communication to support disparate teams of sales and customer service representatives working with clients. It’s also free in its basic format.

 

Combining HubSpot’s CRM with its automated inbound marketing tools—a prime source of HubSpot revenue—reflects the power of HubSpot integrations, even within their walled garden. The potential to transition internal HubSpot connections into a system-wide HubSpot CTI integration offers a glimpse at the potential of a start-to-finish sales and marketing platform.

 

For call center representatives, HubSpot phone integration empowers staff with more than basic consumer data. It can include notes and history related to sales staff interactions, or even knowledge about which marketing materials potential consumers have received or opened.

 

HubSpot reports that every phone call costs a company up to $15. This frequently puts companies in a bind: They want to satisfy consumers’ need to reach out quickly but avoid an inundation of calls that offer little sales potential. The knee-jerk reaction, according to HubSpot, is often to make phone numbers harder to find. But that solution serves company, not consumer, goals.

 

This is where data plays a critical role. HubSpot CTI can help prioritize and route calls according to various rules defined by CRM data. Avoiding the all-or-nothing approach when it comes to calls can make ROI more predictable for call centers and prioritize the time and energy of sales staff.

 

Post-call analysis can help refine an initial set of inputs from HubSpot CTI integration to develop an ongoing process of refinement. Because marketing and sales data live in the same location, call centers can also become a source of data for other agents at a company by pushing call analysis out to sales teams or marketing departments. Does a marketing department exist that wouldn’t want to learn about the correlation between specific marketing materials and sales?

 

How to Integrate HubSpot with a phone system

 

The process varies dependent on the phone system involved. These examples reflect the capacity and process for HubSpot CTI with major phone systems:

How CTI works with HubSpot

 

Identifying a caller’s number allows an integrated system to connect the phone number to a record in the HubSpot CRM. Once the CRM record and phone number are connected, HubSpot can deliver various datasets to the call center representative before the conversation even starts.

 

This data can include everything from the caller’s title to the history of interaction. For large call centers with divided responsibilities, this ensures the caller reaches the right representative first time round. That may mean reaching the person with the right technical skill set, or the ideal employee to manage a critical relationship with a high-value client.

 

Because representatives don’t need to seek out any of this information, they can maintain their focus on solving the consumer problem—or completing the sale.

 

What to Integrate for HubSpot-linked phone systems

 

There are several HubSpot integrations available. Some, like Auto-Dialer and Power Dialer, build efficiencies into standard call center activity (and useful efficiencies for sales staff making periodic follow-up calls). For example, HubSpot CTI integration allows employees to place a call by clicking a number directly in the CRM—no wasted time dialing, misdialing, or redialing numbers.

 

For new callers, HubSpot integrations allow the creation of new accounts, contacts, and leads. Inevitably, consumers change numbers and add or change points of contact. The ability to create or update accounts means none of this information is lost, and system-wide data stays consistent. For needs that go beyond the work of call center staff, HubSpot provides the ability to create a task for other team members quickly and easily.

 

Recording calls, call tracking, and call analytics offer a valuable post-mortem on client interactions that can help refine processes and reallocate resources.

 

Technical components of HubSpot CTI

 

While the exact nature of the applicable technical setup varies from provider to provider, all organizations must answer questions that affect implementation:

  1. Is the phone system managed in-house? In-house managed systems, common at large organizations, shift the technical burden to internal IT teams. A managed, cloud-based system migrates the bulk of the technical implementation to the phone system provider.
  2. Is the current phone system capable of HubSpot integration? The key integration feature is a VoIP system (rather than a traditional PBX landline system). VoIP is essential to connect CRM data with a phone system. Confirming the capability for HubSpot integration with the service manager or in-house technical team is an appropriate starting point.
  3. Which numbers will be included? Not every company phone will need HubSpot CTI. Identifying the subset of numbers that can extract value from CTI limits technical implementation to core components of the marketing and sales process.
  4. Who will have access to what? CTI integrations connect many data points, but not everyone needs access to all the data. (Certainly, not everyone needs editing access to all data.) Establishing a hierarchy of access that gets the right data to the right people at the right time is a fundamental step toward extracting value from a CTI investment. This should also include who has access to reports and the responsibility for implementing improvements based on call data.
  5. Where will calls be routed? Small call centers may receive all inquiries; large centers may develop specialties to handle certain clients or issues. Mapping a routing framework before implementation can avoid later headaches due to haphazard routing.
  6. Who will train and support call center staff? Every new system or integration has a learning curve. HubSpot CTI is no different. Even if staff are already familiar with a phone system and HubSpot as separate technologies, training to highlight the virtues of the integrated system will get more value from the linked platforms.

 

Ready, Set, Integrate

 

Acquiring consumer data is no longer a business challenge. If anything, the primary focus has become managing vast troves of data. Siloed information fails to take advantage of key integrations that can arm employees with the data they need to serve consumers more efficiently and close more sales.

CTI provides an opportunity to connect call center data with a CRM. For the many companies that rely on HubSpot, this integration can connect every dot throughout the customer journey. Understanding the technical capabilities and process for implementation provides a framework for connecting HubSpot with an existing or upgraded VoIP phone system.

 
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What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules?

What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules?

 

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules establish national standards for electronic transactions and code sets to maintain the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). These standards are often referred to as electronic data interchange or EDI standards.

The regulations, detailed in 45 CFR 160, 45 CFR 162, and 45 CFR 164, aim to make health care systems more efficient and effective by streamlining paperwork associated with billing, verifying patient eligibility, and payment transactions.

HIPAA Administrative Simplification Standards

HIPAA regulation includes four standards covering transactions, identifiers, code sets, and operating rules. The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules illustrate how switching from paper to electronic transactions reduces paperwork burden and increases payment speed for health care organizations. Additionally, information can be exchanged faster and claim statuses can be checked more easily.

HIPAA covered entities (which include health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses) and HIPAA business associates must adopt these standards for transactions that involve the electronic exchange of health care data. Such transactions may include claims and checking claim status. Other such transactions may involve encounter information, eligibility, enrollment and disenrollment, referrals, authorizations, premium payments, coordination of benefits, and payment and remittance advice.

Unique identifiers, such as a Health Plan Identifier, Employer Identification Number, or National Provider Identifier, are required for all HIPAA transactions.

Code sets are standard codes that all HIPAA covered entities must adopt. These codes have been developed for diagnoses, procedures, diagnostic tests, treatments, and equipment and supplies. HIPAA details several code sets including NDC national drug codes; CDT codes for dental procedures; CPT codes for procedures; the HCPCS health care common procedure coding system; and the code set for the international classification of diseases (ICD-10).

Updates to the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules were updated after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 to include new operating rules specifying the information that must be included for all HIPAA transactions.

HIPAA covered entities must follow national standards, which were set to protect patients’ privacy (HIPAA Privacy Rule) and improve PHI security (HIPAA Security Rule), in addition to the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules. The Final Omnibus Rule, which was enacted in 2013, now includes HITECH Act standards in its HIPAA regulations; the standards added new requirements for breach notifications in the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services both administers and enforces the HIPAA Administrative Simplification, whereas the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights typically enforces the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notifications Rules.

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Regulations apply to all HIPAA covered entities and HIPAA business associates, not only those that work with Medicare or Medicaid.

Addressing the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules with Compliancy Group

Compliancy Group allows health care professionals and vendors across the industry to address the full extent of their HIPAA regulatory requirements, including HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules, with our HIPAA compliance solution, The Guard. The Guard is a web-based HIPAA compliance app that allows users to confidently address their HIPAA compliance so they can get back to running their business.

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Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution!

Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution! | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cloud solutions are quickly becoming the new norm for the way businesses operate today. Many companies are moving from legacy software systems to online “hosted” alternatives, such as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). The benefits of cloud-based solutions over desktop software are wide-ranging, affecting everything from productivity to data security. Healthcare organizations also need to take the appropriate precautions to ensure that they have a HIPAA compliance cloud.

 

It makes sense to see why so many organizations are adopting cloud-based solutions–improved efficiency, flexibility, cost reduction, mobility, as well as around the clock support are all driving forces behind the growth of cloud services.

 

Yet, HIPAA compliance cloud services also raise some concerns in regards to security and compliance, which go hand-in-hand to help organizations keep their sensitive healthcare data safe. For businesses operating in the healthcare industry, which accounts for approximately one-fifth of the US economy, these concerns escalate due to HIPAA regulatory requirements that mandate the privacy and security of patients’ protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of PHI include names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, medical records, and full facial photos, to name a few.

 

HIPAA applies to covered entities, such as providers and insurance plans, as well as business associates who perform certain functions for, or on behalf of another health care organization that involves receiving, maintaining, or transmitting PHI.

 

For example, a cloud service provider (CSP) who are involved in handling PHI for a covered entity whether it is data storage or a complete software solution such as a hosted electronic medical record system, are still considered a business associate and need to implement a HIPAA compliance cloud.

HIPAA Compliance in the Cloud

In a nutshell, both covered entities and business associates need a HIPAA compliance cloud that allows for the creation of an effective compliance programThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released detailed, five-step guidance on cloud computing that parties must adhere to in order to maintain HIPAA compliant relationships. This HHS guidance on HIPAA compliance cloud services includes:

 

  1. Execute a Business Associate Agreement– A business associate agreement outlines what business associates can and cannot do with the PHI they access, how they will protect that PHI, how they will prevent PHI disclosure, and the appropriate method for reporting a breach of PHI  if one would occur. It also defines liability in the event of a data breach.
  2. Conduct a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment– The covered entity or business associate that works with a cloud service provider must document the cloud computing environment and security solutions put in place by the cloud service provider as part of their risk management policies.
  3. Abide by the HIPAA Privacy Rule– A covered entity must enforce proper safeguards in order to keep PHI safe and information can only be disclosed to a business associate after a business associate agreement has been executed.
  4. Implement HIPAA Security Safeguards– A business associate must comply with all three key security safeguards outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule: Physical, Technical and Administrative.
  5. Adhere to the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule- In the event of a data breach, covered entities and business associates are required to document and investigate the incident. All breaches must be reported to HHS OCR. All affected parties must be notified as well.

 

The only exception to the Breach Notification Rule is if the data was properly encrypted. If, for example, a properly encrypted device containing PHI goes missing, then there is a low probability that the data will be accessible by an unauthorized user. In this case, a breach will not have to be reported under the provisions of the Breach Notification Rule.

 

However, it is crucial that all HIPAA covered entities and business associates read the standards outlined in the regulation to determine the proper level of HIPAA encryption for different modes of data storage and transmission.

 

If a covered entity does not execute a Business Associate Agreement with a third party vendor with whom they share PHI, both organizations are leaving themselves exposed to a significant risk of HIPAA violations.

A HIPAA Compliant Cloud Will Save You Money

Data breaches are very costly–not only due to monetary penalties but also because of the long-lasting reputational damage a breach can have on an organization.

 

HIPAA breach fines can range anywhere from $100 to $50,000 per violation or record, with up to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation. When multiple violations or a large scale data breach occurs, these fines can compound and lead to millions of dollars in HIPAA fines. As if that isn’t bad enough, breaches are publicly listed on the “Wall of Shame,” maintained and enforced by HHS OCR. This list shows all HIPAA breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. Even worse, some HIPAA violations can lead to criminal charges, carrying the potential for jail time.

 

In order to avoid violations and fines, healthcare providers and business associates must comply with HIPAA regulations which means protecting the security and privacy of their patients.

Compliance Group Can Help!

Compliance Group helps healthcare professionals and business associates effectively address their HIPAA compliance with our cloud-based app, The Guard. The Guard allows users to achieve, illustrate, and maintain compliance, addressing everything that the law requires.

 

Users are paired with one of our expert Compliance Coaches. They will guide you through every step of the process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Compliance Group simplifies compliance so you can get back to confidently running your business.

 

And in the event of a data breach or HIPAA audit, our Audit Response Team works with users through the entire documentation and reporting process. At Compliance Group, we go above and beyond to help demonstrate your good faith effort toward HIPAA compliance.

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Healthcare Technology trends to watch out 

Healthcare Technology trends to watch out  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is on the cusp of a digital revolution. People are empowered with health information, thanks to technological innovations in digital health. It’s vitally important that healthcare professionals continue to stay up to date on advances in technology that will improve not only their internal systems but also patient treatment and care.

 

In this article, we’ll focus on top healthcare technology trends for 2018 in three main areas, namely Patient Engagement, Hospital Workflow, and Treatment.

 

Patient Engagement


2018 will witness more developments in the arena of patient-centric care. Mobile health is gaining prominence, pointing us to the fact that individuals are taking a more active role in their own health. Wearables and fitness trackers are gaining mass adoption by people of varying demographics. About 50% of healthcare consumers are expected to be active digital health tech adopters in 2018. Now, more than ever, patients will begin to have a say in their choice of treatment and expect transparency of information exchange from healthcare providers.

 

Telemedicine is another model of healthcare that is gaining traction in this hyper connected world. Get ready to see a rise in demand by consumers for health advice and information in the coming months. Adoption of telemedicine will connect patients and doctors like never before. The digital health empowered individual will pose a challenge to traditional healthcare services that are slow in adapting to the digital transformation happening around. The quality of service from healthcare providers will be measured by the ease of access to information by patients.

 

Hospital Workflow


Technology continues to advance as people become more and more accustomed and able to access information in seconds rather than hours or even days. Because of this, slow-paced administrative processes in hospitals are becoming increasingly frustrating to patients. This includes things as simple as difficulties of scheduling an appointment, to accessing medical reports, or even trouble in exchanging information between providers.

 

Hospitals are expected to make use of digital platforms and cloud computing services as part of their patient engagement measures. The motto of 2018 will be data access, anywhere, anytime.

 

Mobile health, telemedicine, and Electronic Health Records (EHR) will produce a plethora of data that healthcare providers can utilize to improve patient care. One of the challenges that many providers will face is the issue of storing and securely transmitting sensitive patient health information (PHI). Many organizations still depend on legacy fax equipment to securely transmit documents despite the criticism of relying on this ancient technology. Thankfully, 2018 will be the year hospitals decide to choose alternative technologies like online faxing that is secure, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

 

Other exciting news awaiting us as we talk about secure transmission of data is the blockchain. Utilization of the blockchain will disrupt the way data has been handled until now. IDC Health Insights predicts that 20% of healthcare organizations will actively develop systems utilizing the blockchain to keep data secure and enable easy exchange of information between trusted partners.

 

Treatment


Robots are coming - Not Terminators, but life savers.

 

Experts suggest that practitioners will make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for better diagnosis, surgeries, assistants, and more. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will become common tools at the hands of doctors for educating patients. AI bots will slice and dice data to help doctors make more accurate clinical decisions. The combined force of blockchain and AI will open a new realm in healthcare which will ultimately help provide better patient care. Use of AI will increase the efficiency and productivity of doctors as well. For those who fear a robotic conquer of the world, be assured that AI in healthcare is not going to replace doctors, but empower them.

 

These technological developments will help to fuel a positive change in the healthcare industry in 2018. It’s impossible to predict the pace of these implementations in hospitals, as these require not only capital and training but also an open-minded and forward thinking CIO that’s willing to adopt new and innovative technologies. The pertinent question is, are you ready to embrace the change?

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Will Wearable Devices Change Patient Outcomes? | Blog

Will Wearable Devices Change Patient Outcomes? | Blog | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nine months ago, I started wearing an activity tracker, and it’s completely changed the way I approach health and fitness. And I’m part of a major trend. Whether you want to measure heart rate, activity level or caloric burn, there’s an ever-growing number of devices that do the job. Both non medical and medical companies are trying to get in the game, from theNike Fuelband to Fitbit to Apple’s new iOS Healthbook.

 

In a perfect world, a single tracker would do everything, à la the Star Trek Tricorder. But in real life it doesn’t work that way. The resultant explosive growth — a potential multibillion-dollar market — has left us with fragmented solutions that aren’t engaging the patients who account for the greatest share of healthcare spend.

Nine months ago, I started wearing an activity tracker, and it’s completely changed the way I approach health and fitness. And I’m part of a major trend. Whether you want to measure heart rate, activity level or caloric burn, there’s an ever-growing number of devices that do the job. Both non medical and medical companies are trying to get in the game, from theNike Fuelband to Fitbit to Apple’s new iOS Healthbook.

 

In a perfect world, a single tracker would do everything, à la the Star Trek Tricorder. But in real life it doesn’t work that way. The resultant explosive growth — a potential multibillion-dollar market — has left us with fragmented solutions that aren’t engaging the patients who account for the greatest share of healthcare spend.

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