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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.

How to Avoid the Latest Ransomware Scam this Tax Season

There’s hardly a source of funds or data that cybercriminals won’t go after, and as tax season gets underway, they’ve got tax refunds in their crosshairs. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been diligent at stopping hackers from stealing tax returns, cybercriminals are doing what they’ve always done – adapting to circumvent security. In 2020, the IRS warns tax filers to beware of novel hacking attempts, such as ransomware, to get their hands onto personal information and money.

Electronic filing of tax returns opened in mid-January 2020. Here’s the latest in tax season cybercrime and several tips for filing taxes safely.

How Hackers Are Using Ransomware During Tax Season

Although ransomware isn’t a particularly new tactic (it’s been around since 1989), it’s a lesser-known approach that continually surfaces in surprising ways. One of those ways involves how hackers steal personal information and refunds during tax time.

Ransomware targeting individual and business tax filings first surfaced in 2017. In the attacks, users received an email claiming that the IRS had authorized the FBI to investigate fraudulent tax filings. Users were encouraged to complete a form and return it to the FBI to verify their identities and tax information.

There was one catch: the email didn’t come from the FBI, and the form was phony. When users clicked on the link, they unwittingly installed ransomware onto their machines, which locked all files in exchange for a ransom sent to some email address.

Other tax-related ransomware attacks are more sophisticated. Last year, the IRS noted that dozens of fake tax filing sites had sprung up, which relied on ransomware to steal refunds. With these sites, users filled out their tax returns and submitted them as if all was normal.

The service then promptly froze the files and demanded a ransom for those tax returns, while submitting them with altered bank account information. Only after the tax return had been securely deposited into the criminal’s account and the ransom has been paid will the tax returns be “returned” to the user.

In most cases, the user then went on to file their tax returns like normal, only to be rejected by the IRS due to a duplicate filing. The IRS estimates that there around 649,000 fraud cases that stole $3.1 billion in tax returns in 2018.

Tips for Safely Filing Taxes

Although hundreds of thousands of individuals may have their tax information stolen, millions more file safely every year by adhering to a few basic safety practices. To safely file taxes, always make sure to:

1. Choose a Reputable Tax Filing Service

Many reputable services exist online – many are free, while others are paid. Always make sure that the chosen filing service is legitimate and secure. Every year, the IRS publishes a list of vetted filing options for individuals wishing to file electronically or in person. Before entering any personal information, make sure a chosen filing service is on that list.

2. Review and Strengthen Cyber Security Measures Before Filing

As the two examples above show, many cyberattacks targeting tax information involve malware or compromising the files on a computer in another way. A strong cybersecurity strategy can help prevent this. Therefore, review and strengthen a computer’s cybersecurity before filing. Make sure that all software is updated, properly configured, and able to detect the types of attacks criminals typically use.

3. Ask About the Cyber Security Defenses of a Chosen Preparer

Hackers don’t just target individuals. They also go after tax preparers like accountants, as the computers of these professionals likely have the sensitive information of multiple individuals housed on them. Before handing over a company’s financial details, ask what defenses a preparer has in place. Their response will go a long way to establishing whether they’re a safe, reputable service.

4. Inspect Communications From the IRS (or Government) with Care

Ransomware attacks aren’t the only type of fraudulent communication from cybercriminals during tax season. Treat any communication from the IRS or other government agencies with care. Remember that the IRS never:

  • Contact individuals or businesses by email, text, social media, or phone to discuss tax filings.
  • Demands payment in a specific form or immediate payment.
  • Threatens to bring the police or open an investigation.

File with a Smile: Safely and Securely

For many Americans, filing their taxes may mean sizeable refunds. For hackers, the season may mean several refunds acquired fraudulently. While the IRS has improved its ability to detect and thwart criminals in recent years, tax filers must remain diligent. Novel attempts to steal personal information or refunds, such as using ransomware, are on the rise.

Using a reputable tax service or professional is the best way to prevent the theft of personal information or a tax refund. However, even professional preparers aren’t immune to cybercrime. Before filing this tax season, take a moment to review the company’s current cybersecurity strategy. It may just be what guarantees a refund.

Smile helps companies implement the best cybersecurity strategies in their business with IT solutions and secure MFP’s. Get started now with a specialist.