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MPS: A Must for Healthcare Right Now

Managed Print Services (MPS) offer many advantages for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Healthcare organizations can benefit from MPS implementations.

Under the dramatic conditions faced by the extreme working conditions related to the pandemic virus in circulation in recent months, systems that reduce exposure and streamline business processes are invaluable.

What MPS Does for Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare providers work under stressful situations with a focus on quality and responsive healthcare for patients. Today’s demands exacerbate the stress levels with heavier than normal workloads and extra hours due to an influx of patients.

For each patient, doctors, nurses, and administrative staff must generate and constantly update records with personally identifiable information (PII) including care information that must be shared efficiently among healthcare teams. Paper documents can become lost, misplaced, or may not be updated on a timely basis.

Transitioning to a digital format for paperwork and patient records allows physicians and nurses to collaborate on patient care, even when they may be located on different floors, different buildings, or different cities.

Access to up-to-date information is critical to providing accurate diagnosis and effective care. MPS and electronic document management systems enable digital storage of multiple types of information:

  • Admission information including personal data such as medical history and medications
  • Test results – including online images of CT scans, MRIs, and EKG information
  • Diagnostic information and documented vital signs
  • Comments and assessments from physicians and referred parties

Healthcare institutions cannot afford delays in obtaining information. Printers must be running efficiently and reliably to ensure the availability of patient records when needed.

Patient Information Security is Critical

HIPAA regulations require that all PII is confidential and secure. Unauthorized parties can easily misplace or view paper documents, creating compliance issues for healthcare organizations.

MPS enhances security in multiple ways:

  • Modern multifunction printers provide integrated security so that healthcare professionals can only print hardcopy documents when they arrive at the designated printer.
  • Only authorized workers can view, edit, print, or delete documents from the system.
  • Documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital format.

Why Implement MPS in Healthcare Institutions?

Implementing MPS includes an in-depth evaluation of document flow to eliminate documents or copies that are unnecessary. Print volumes and print devices are all reviewed to determine what is being printed, who is doing the printing, and the workflow of each document.

As a result of printing analysis, state-of-the-art multifunction printers capable of printing, scanning, copying, and faxing, are replacing outmoded or unused hardware devices.

Healthcare professionals have many more important tasks to attend to than mundane tasks needed to keep printers running:

  • Ordering supplies
  • Maintaining printers and managing service contracts
  • Monitoring service technicians and handling service from multiple vendors

For any business, printing costs amount to a considerable percentage of total revenue – typically between 3-5% or more. As office spaces evolve and infrastructure requirements change, it’s easy to lose track of the type and location of printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines. With each group purchasing and maintaining their own devices and supplies, visibility of total cost is difficult to determine.

Switching to a managed service provider for printing functions reveals waste, centralizes print management, and shifts support and maintenance burdens off administrative and healthcare teams, transitioning these functions to a single vendor who monitors each printer and performs all necessary maintenance.

Additional Benefits of Managed Print Services

There are numerous advantages realized by medical institutions adopting MPS technology:

  • Healthcare organizations must control physical access to facilities, and some areas are strictly off-limits without security authorization. Implementing MPS significantly reduces the number of service representatives entering the building, providing a more secure operation, and lowering the potential risk of unauthorized access.
  • Managed print services combined with document management enable remote workers to manage documents more efficiently and securely.
  • Lower exposure to hazards such as malware, ransomware, and phishing schemes. Remote workers or those who work from home benefit from managed IT services such as remote support and secure network access.
  • Upgrading to modern multifunction printers reduces the number of devices needed, saving space, energy consumption, and supplies. MFPs also include onboard software features that enhance security and protect confidential patient information.
  • Managed print services play a critical role in ensuring that clinical staff has the right information available – at the right time. Reduced printing resource downtime contributes to the efficiency of healthcare teams for improved patient care and reduced demand for administrative staff.

How to Get Started with Healthcare MPS

Smile Business Products, Inc. (Smile BPI) offers our Smile MPS functionality to healthcare institutions to ensure reliable printing functionality. Here’s how our customers benefit from SmileMPS:

  • Reduction in printer downtime
  • Single source for service, supplies, and technical support
  • Security and controls facilitated by document management systems
  • Reduced printing costs with high-quality multifunction printers

Contact Smile BPI to arrange an in-depth analysis of your healthcare institution’s printer fleet and printing needs.

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IT Support Pitfalls for Remote Workers – and IT

Working remotely is a growing trend because of the recent pandemic virus that has kept hundreds of thousands of office teams seeking alternative solutions for performing their jobs.

Mobile workforces have changed the way many companies conduct business, with sales, support, and service employees already transitioning to this “new normal” way of working. Technology provides enhanced tools and methods of communicating effectively regardless of physical location:

  • Tablets, powerful laptop computers, and smartphones
  • WiFi connectivity that is increasingly available from home workspaces or public areas
  • Video conferencing tools that enable face-to-face collaboration around the globe

Along with the advancements and flexibility provided by these new technologies and the benefits realized by both employees and businesses, come new challenges for IT support personnel in assisting remote teams. Stopping by a coworker’s desk to help resolve a problem is no longer an option.

Security Issues for Remote Workers

Working in an office environment, staff computers are protected by several layers of security:

  • Firewalls that prevent cyberattacks and weed out malware
  • Enterprise antivirus protection
  • Internet controls against access to unauthorized or potentially hazardous websites
  • Email filters that identify and isolate spam content

Moving off-site from such protection requires new approaches to provide acceptable levels of security for the organization and employees working remotely. Managing network accessibility and providing the necessary protections must take several conditions into account:

Network Security

Remote workers still need access to corporate information and applications to remain productive and conduct business as if located in their normal office space. Most will use home wireless networks or even public WiFi or connection from job sites or customer locations.

Security of these remote networks could be questionable at best, with unauthorized users monitoring data traffic including login information and passwords. The solution is implementing a virtual private network (VPN) that ensures data privacy and encryption. Using VPN services must be required for remote workers to access network resources both from home or anywhere not on the local business network.

Physical Security

With an available computer now present in a home office, it can be tempting for other family members to use the resource for playing games, doing homework, or video streaming. Everyone must consider the computer off-limits for anything other than business use. Connecting a flash drive or installing non-business software can introduce malware or viruses to the system, which can transfer to the business network.

Email Hazards

Working from home, business teams will not have the same protection from email scams as when they’re sheltered behind the office firewalls and email filters.

Make remote employees aware of email best practices that will minimize exposure to email-based attacks:

  • Never open email attachments from unknown sources
  • Do not click links embedded in emails, unless you know the sender and are confident in the content
  • Even when you know the sender, it pays to confirm the link came from them, before clicking

Many email attacks include compromising the victim’s contact list, so emails from a known contact could still be spam or malware.

Software Protection

When working remotely, IT support technicians should specify authorized installation software for monitoring for viruses, malware, and ransomware.

Software protection should automatically update, so that virus and malware patterns are current to minimize vulnerabilities.

Supporting Remote Workers

For some businesses, remote work teams include IT support teams and network managers. This often creates an additional time gap from the time a user requests help until an available resource can respond to resolve the issue.

IT troubleshooting can be more challenging when workers and technicians are working remotely. Without direct connectivity, accessing the remote system may be more difficult, especially if the problem relates to the remote computer not connecting to the network.

Additional problems arise when applications do not work effectively – or at all – from a remote work environment. Some programs will not function as efficiently when not directly connected through a server on the network, or displays may not appear the same on remote equipment such as tablets or smartphones.

IT Support Solutions for Remote Workers

Remote work teams present new challenges for IT support personnel:

  • Ensuring security for business computers and the organization’s data and applications
  • Responding to support requests on a timely basis
  • Troubleshooting remote applications and technical issues efficiently

A managed IT approach addresses each of these challenges effectively. Turning to managed IT transitions much of the demand on internal IT resources to the service provider, including:

  • Technical and hardware support and management
  • Managed network services for problem analysis and IT troubleshooting
  • Managed communication services and phone systems

Smile Business Products, Inc. (Smile BPI) provides complete managed IT solutions for our clients, as well as office hardware products from leading manufacturers.

Contact Smile BPI professionals for a complete evaluation of how managed IT can resolve support challenges for your remote work teams.