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April 14th, 2016

2016Apr14_Virtualization_AWhen most business owners think of Virtualization, they likely don’t think of Disaster Recovery. The truth is, though, that Virtualization is a multi-faceted IT solution that can provide an effective backup in case your business is hit by a disaster. So for those who are new to the idea of Virtualization as a Disaster Recovery solution, here’s a breakdown.

As opposed to tape backups, Virtualization reduces recovery time in the event of a disaster. While tape backups can be reliable, using them to fully restore your system after a backup can be an excruciatingly long process. In fact, it can take up to two days to do just that. Think of all the business you could lose in those two days. Think of all the lost money in salaries you’ll pay out out to employees who aren’t working. Simply put, Virtualization is much quicker than tape backups when it comes to Disaster Recovery. Your entire system can be restored in four hours or less. How does this happen? Well, instead of rebuilding your servers, operating systems and applications separately, they exist safely off-site and can be brought back online via your virtual backup.

While the speed of virtualized backups might sound alluring, there are a few key points you should be aware of before moving forward. Here’s what you need to think about:

  • Critical data - where do you want your critical data to be stored? Do you want it stored on tapes? Disk technologies? Or on your virtualized servers? Perhaps it’s best to spread your risk by backing up your critical data to multiple sources because, frankly, your business depends on this data. Regardless, find out what critical data you need to operate your organization and devise a plan to back it up as you see fit.
  • Data to be backed up - Whether or not you decide to store your critical data on your virtual machines, figure out what data and assets you do want stored on them. Then designate specific virtualized servers to store these assets. In case a disaster does happen, you’ll know immediately where your backups live, and can retrieve your data quickly and get your business up and running again fast.
  • Systems to be virtualized - Just as your business has critical data, you also have critical applications. Some of these may include email, Microsoft Office, and applications or software developed in house. Whether or not these applications qualify as critical for your business, identify the ones that do and focus your disaster recovery efforts on them. Like your data and servers, applications can all be virtualized and then safely stored off-site.
If you choose Virtualization as part of your Disaster Recovery solution, make sure your backups are monitored regularly so they’re up-to-date in the event of a disaster. And besides Disaster Recovery, there are many other benefits to Virtualization. Your business can reduce the amount of servers and other hardware in your office, lower your electricity costs, and save money in the process. Consider Disaster Recovery as a nice bonus that’s included with these benefits.

Curious to learn how else Virtualization can benefit your business? Interested in a dedicated Disaster Recovery solution? Call us today and discover how our experts can protect your organization and save you money.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 13th, 2016

2016Apr13_Security_ABring your own device (BYOD) strategy is when an employee uses their personal mobile device to work with your company from anywhere. This strategy can bring about many advantages to your business such as increased efficiency and convenience. However, this can also bring a number of security risks for your IT infrastructure and data. If you’re thinking of incorporating BYOD in your office, consider some of the risks involved before making a decision.

Data leakage

The biggest reason why businesses are weary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can potentially leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and systems. There is also a chance that an employee will take work with them, where they are not using the same encrypted servers that your company is using, leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.

Lost devices

Another risk your company has to deal with, is the possibility of your employees losing their personal devices. When devices with sensitive business information are lost, there is a chance that this could end up falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, if an employee forgets to use a four digit PIN code to lock their smartphone or tablet, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored on that particular device. Therefore, your company should consider countermeasures for lost devices like completely wiping the device of information as soon as an employee reports a missing or stolen phone.

Hackers can infiltrate your system

Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep people from snooping. This along with the fact that your employees might not have updated their devices can allow hackers to infiltrate your IT infrastructure.

Connecting to open Wifi spots makes your company more susceptible to hackers. Open wireless points in public places can put device owners at risk because there is a chance that hackers may have created that hotspot to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected, attackers can simply surveil web activity and gain access to your company’s accounts.

Vulnerable to malware

Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies into your business. Using personal devices means your employees can access whatever sites or download any mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.

Jailbreaking or rooting a device also puts your systems at risk because it removes limitations imposed by the manufacturer to keep the mobile software updated and protected against external threats. It’s best to understand that as your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies to your business, prepare your IT department for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.

So you might be thinking that it would probably be best to just avoid implementing a BYOD strategy in the first place. However, BYOD will help your business grow and adapt to the modern workplace, and should not be dismissed as a legitimate IT solution. It’s just important to educate your company about these risks so that problems won’t occur for your business down the line.

If you need some help implementing IT security solutions for your company, or if you have any concerns regarding IT, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
April 12th, 2016

2016Apr12_iPhone_AOn March 22, Apple rolled out iOS 9.3. While many iPhone users are likely to have already upgraded to the new iOS, there are undoubtedly some who have yet to update. Regardless, there are some tried and true methods to ensure a successful update to your iOS, whether it be to this version or a future one. Here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure yours goes smoothly.

Decide whether or not to update now

Just because a new iOS update is released doesn’t mean you must install it. In fact, users who do install early are sometimes faced with big headaches as the new iOS goes through technology growing pains. For example in the release of iOS 9.3, many users encountered a bug that caused Safari to lock up when hyperlinks were used to open web pages. Issues like this can cause business owners and general users alike to take a productivity hit. So if you’re heavily reliant on certain iPhone features, it makes sense to do your research before updating to a new iOS and get feedback from users who’ve already upgraded. Apple forums, YouTube and of course a simple Google search can help with this. Oh, and as for that iOS 9.3 Safari bug issue, it’s since been fixed with the release of iOS 9.3.1.

Know your login credentials

When downloading an iOS update, you may be asked for your Apple ID. If and when that time comes, you can avoid scrambling by being prepared with your password beforehand. You should also keep your passwords handy for your favorite applications and services, as sometimes you’re automatically logged out of these when updating your iOS.

Backup your phone

Updating your iOS can be a precarious task. While not something that happens incredibly often, there’ve been cases where users have lost important files or photos. And if you store important business information on your device, you certainly don’t want to lose it during an update. To avoid this, backup your phone beforehand either through iTunes or iCloud.

Power your battery & connect to Wi-Fi

Many users will choose to install new iOS updates Over-the-Air (OTA). This means you’re updating it over Wi-Fi on the settings in your phone rather than via iTunes. If you go this route, there are two things you should be aware of. Your battery must be charged to at least 50% (or be plugged into an outlet) and you can’t start the update through a cellular connection - it must be done through Wi-Fi. The point is, make sure to charge your phone and find a reliable Wi-Fi connection before starting the update process.

If problems occur after update, don’t panic…

After an iOS update, sometimes some very unusual problems occur. While most users will face no issues, others will encounter shorter battery life, unresponsive touch-screens, Wi-Fi problems, and more. If it happens to you, take a deep breath and don’t panic. Know they’re likely answers to your problems already out there on the web. Whatever your unique issue, a quick Google search should turn up multiple resolutions. You can also search the various Apple forums on the web.

Know you can always downgrade...most of the time

If you absolutely hate the upgrade, there’s good news. You can downgrade for a short period of time after an update is released. There is one catch though. You can only downgrade to a select number of previous versions. For example if you recently updated to iOS 9.3.1, you’ll be able to downgrade to iOS 9.2.1 or iOS 9.3. That means iOS 9.1 and earlier users are out of luck and must think carefully before choosing whether or not to upgrade.

While these 6 tips can be useful for the current iOS 9.3.1 update, you can also return to them for future iOS updates as general guidelines that apply. If you’re searching for more iPhone tips or need assistance with any Mac products, drop us a line today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic apple
April 11th, 2016

2016Apr11_HealthcareArticles_AMake no mistake, healthcare costs are rising. For business owners who are generous enough to offer their employees insurance, this is undoubtedly a cause for concern. And you may wonder, is there any way to protect your employees and not go bankrupt in the process? Wearable technologies may be the answer. Here’s what you need to know about utilizing them in the workplace.

Last year the retail giant Target offered both free and discounted versions of the activity tracker, Fitbit, to their staff of over 300,000. To incentivize employees to use the device, they grouped staff into teams and held a month long competition to see which team logged the most steps. The winning team was then given a million dollars to donate to their favorite charity. This is just one example of the growing number of businesses using wearable technologies to encourage employee fitness.

The CEO of Fitbit, James Park, is well aware of wearable technologies potential in the business sector. In an interview he said, “The cost of a Fitbit device and the associated services is very small compared to the savings from a healthier employee population.”

This practice of offering incentives to exercise is known as gamification, and retail providers are not the only type of businesses to get in on the action. Two US health insurance providers are now offering customers discounts on their premiums if they wear an activity tracker to monitor their progress on accomplishing health goals. So how does it work? If an employee takes 10,000 steps a day, for example, they could earn $1.25 towards their health insurance. If they perform even more activity or exercise, they could reduce their premiums to $1,400 a year.

Incentives to exercise aren’t the only way wearables can help employees improve their health. Depending on the type of wearable worn, everything from blood sugar levels, to heart rate and sleep patterns can be tracked. So if your employee visits a clinic because their symptoms are flaring up again, a doctor can use the info tracked on the wearable to explain why. This can make it easier for both doctor and patient to resolve the health problem.

Controversy

While it may sound like utilizing wearable technology in the workplace is a no brainer, this matter is not without controversy: tracking employee activity raises the question of privacy.

As more and more businesses discover the value of big data, it’s more likely that information tracked by wearables can be exploited. One technology consultant, Barbara Duck, notes that tracking health information can lead to insurers assigning a score to your physical activity and health, and selling that information. Insurers could then use this information to charge consumers outrageous fees.

While this is just the beginning of wearable technology being used in the workplace, it’s too early to tell how privacy will be affected in the long run. As of right now it looks like wearables will be a growing trend in the future. And they’re certainly worth considering as they can reduce the costs of employee insurance and create a healthier, more productive staff. If you’d like to learn more about wearable or other healthcare related technology, get in touch. We’re happy to share our expertise.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Healthcare
April 8th, 2016

2016Apr8_AndroidTablet_AFor business owners, sleep is a must. You rely on a good night’s rest to run your business effectively, focus on the big picture, and think clearly about your organization. But what if one of your business tools was preventing you from getting sufficient sleep? If you use your Android tablet in the evening, this might just be the case. Here’s how you can utilize your tablet to get some solid shut eye.

Don’t use it before bed

It’s been widely recognized that the blue light emitted from screens and mobile devices can disrupt sleep, suppressing your body’s melatonin levels (the hormone that induces sleep). Because of this and the distractions your tablet produces, it’s best to avoid using it a half hour before bed. However, if this isn’t possible here are a few tips to prevent your device from causing sleep disruption.

Silence distractions with Google Chrome’s Reader Mode

Reading before bed can be an effective way to induce sleep. However, if you’re using your tablet to browse the Internet, you’re often exposed to ads which are sometimes loud and flashy. Just as you’re nodding off, one of these ads could startle you awake and out of slumber mode. So what can you do?

Google Chrome’s Reader Mode can eliminate unnecessary ads and images, placing an emphasis on the text. To activate Reader Mode, type chrome://flags into your navigation bar, scroll down till you find Reader Mode triggering and choose Always from the menu. The next time you launch a page on Chrome, click on the banner that appears at the bottom of the page that reads Make page mobile-friendly. And just like that your text will be highlighted and ads eliminated.

Prevent disturbances

If you’re letting emails, calls and text messages wake you up in the middle of the night, then you are missing an obvious way to get a better sleep. Enter the Do Not Disturb setting. This will shut out all of these nightly annoyances so you can unplug from the world and focus on doing something important for yourself - getting a good night’s rest.

To turn on Do Not Disturb, open Settings > Sound and Notification. Then click on Do Not Disturb. From here you can choose which contacts can get through to you while you’re in dreamland.

Dim your device

While Android tablet doesn’t have a built in feature to adjust the amount of blue light emitted, there are apps that can help you easily adjust the filter opacity, which enables your screen to be less bright. The free app Screen Dimmer is one option you can try.

Monitor your sleeping habits

Do you constantly wake up at night unsure as to the reason why? Are you sleeping better or worse on nights when you consume certain food or alcohol? Or do you sleep better on the days you exercise? If you’re unsure of these answers, there’s an app for it. Using a motion sensor and sound recording, SleepBot will monitor your sleeping habits to help you discover which nights you sleep best. Then you can try to recreate those conditions to resolve your sleep issues.

No matter your business, sleep is vital to your success. We hope these five tips will help you get the sound sleep you desire. If you’re curious to learn more about how the Android tablet can improve your life and business, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
April 7th, 2016

2016Apr7_MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_AAt work, we depend on several apps to be more productive around the office. However, with so many of them open in our web browsers, it can be a drag to constantly click in and out of tabs just to get the information we need. Fortunately, Office 365 Connectors for Groups allows you to stay on top of all the third party services your company is using. So how, exactly, do these connectors make your life easier? Here are a few things you need to know about the new Office 365 feature.

What can it do?

Office 365 Connectors enable users to access third party apps and services within their Outlook groups, rather than having to scour through dozens of windows to access a specific application. This new feature allows you to keep your company’s discussion in one place, and enables your employees to stay up-to-date regardless of the service used to broadcast an event. For example, your team members can be informed about a particular hashtag that your company is following on Twitter without having to explicitly open the page. Groups aren’t limited to one particular service either. With connectors you can use Twitter, Trello, Mailchimp, Bing, UserVoice and over 50 other services.

Small organizations can also take advantage of connectors. Office 365 lets you develop your own connectors by embedding the Connect to Office 365 button on your site. This allows users to connect to your service and get updates on your company, as they would with other third party services. Basically, with connectors, your Office 365 client becomes a hub for third party that keeps your company in sync to get more work done.

Connector card

Connector cards offer a user friendly way to interact with external applications. If a particular connector is added to a group, connector cards are generated within the group’s activity feed. While most cards will display events in plain text, some applications like Twitter and Trello provide formatted actions to interact with the card. Trello, for example, allows you to Assign or Comment on an event card.

Who can create a connector?

Office 365 group members can configure and use an array of connectors. Once you configure a connector for a specific group, that app will be also be available for other members. However, the person who added a connector to the group is the only one capable of modifying that app.

How do you access Office 365 Connectors?

With its public release, any Office 365 Mail user can use Office 365 Connectors for Groups. Simply navigate to a Group from your Outlook page and click on the Connectors tab at the top of the page. From here, you can connect the available third party services on offer to any of your Outlook groups. You can even configure the settings of your apps without ever having to leave Office 365. However you should probably only consider pulling in the applications that you think your group will be using the most.

As your business grows, you’re going to need more services to be more productive in the workplace. By aggregating them all in one place, you save time shifting around dozens of apps to find the information that you need. So the next time you create an Office 365 Group, help your team members work more efficiently by setting up some connectors.

If you’re interested in learning about the latest Office 365 updates, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
April 6th, 2016

2016Apr6_Hardware_AEverything seems fine at first, your PC is running normally but then a blue screen suddenly greets you. After restarting your computer you find that a lot of your unsaved work is gone. If this has happened to you before, rest assured, you’re not alone. What you’ve just encountered is the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) and it appears when there is an issue with either your hardware or software. Fortunately, there are ways to troubleshoot these problems. Here are some of the common causes of a critical failure error and how you can fix them.

Find out what caused your BSoD

The next time you get the blue screen, don’t panic. This is just an alert to prevent further system damage to your computer and to indicate the cause of crash. The most important part of the blue screen is the error name which displays messages like “Driver_IRQL_not_less_or_equal”. For Windows 8 to 10 users, this information is usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. For troubleshooting advice, a memory dump containing details of your latest crash can be found in Event Viewer > System > Windows Logs and click any messages indicating an error. Under the General tab you will see a full report of your latest crash -- this should be given to an IT technician so they can help you further.

Fixing the problem:

Update your drivers

Crashes are generally caused by problems with hardware or the driver software that is allowing that specific hardware to run. If you’re getting frequent blue screens, try to recall any recent changes you have made to your computer. Have you recently installed a new driver for an external device? You can also check if any drivers are conflicting by going to Control Panel > Device Manager. If you see a warning icon on any of the devices, there is something wrong with the device. Chances are, specific drivers are either outdated or weren’t properly installed.

To update, simply search online for your specific computer manufacturer and install the drivers provided in their list. Remember to only install the drivers that apply to the specific model of your device and your operating system. For example, if your operating system is Windows 8, only download Windows 8 related items for your specific model.

Other hardware problems

BSoD can also indicate hardware problems. Running very intensive programs that your CPU can’t handle will cause your computer to overheat and eventually crash. If you use a laptop, try to keep it on flat surfaces and away from fabric material as this could block the fan vents and cause your laptop to overheat.

Your RAM could also be faulty. Check if it’s attached to your CPU properly or go to Windows memory diagnostics to find out if you’re straining your RAM.

System restore

Using system restore will allow you to undo any significant software changes that are crashing your PC. To restore your computer to a previous time, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore then click on Recover System Settings for your Computer. From here you can select a restore point to a date where you think your computer was not experiencing frequent crashes.

Check for viruses

Some types of malware can cause instabilities in your operating system causing your PC to crash. If you are aware that your computer is infected with a virus, try running antivirus software. However, make sure you’re not running two antivirus software at the same time while you’re doing this. Both programs can conflict with each other and, in some cases, cause system crashes.

Clean reboot

This option is your last resort if none of the solutions above work. For Windows 8 or 10 users simply go to Settings > Update and Security > Recovery then select Reset this PC. If your computer is still getting frequent blue screens then it would be best to go to an IT consultant and have them look over your hardware.

The Blue Screen of Death is one of the biggest problems your company’s hardware is going to face. Consider using any of the above solutions to fix your blue screen and hopefully everything will be back to normal. If you would like to know more about any general hardware advice, or if you have any concerns regarding your IT, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
April 5th, 2016

2016Apr5_Facebook_AYour news feed is about to get a lot more expressive, thanks to Facebook reactions. Aside from ‘Liking’ a status update, you now have five more options to express what you feel about a post. The new feature not only makes it easier for you to appropriately react to a piece of bad news but it also provides you with exciting ways to manage your business’s social media page. So how can you use Facebook reactions effectively? Here are a few ways you can use the new emojis to your advantage.

Ask your audience for reactions

Sometimes, audiences won’t know how to react to your posts. You can point them in the right direction by giving call to ‘reaction’ phrases like “Did you learn something new? Give us a ‘wow’ by hovering over that like button”.

As Facebook reactions are a relatively new feature, you can increase the total engagement of your posts by simply asking your fans to use one of the six available expressions on your post. This will not only increase your overall engagement and reach but will also give your fans the opportunity to learn about the new Facebook reactions.

Soften the blow of negative reviews

If your service ever experiences any technical difficulties, reactions can be a lifesaver. Back when there were no Facebook expressions, people would often resort to negative comments or trolling when they are unhappy with a particular post. This could lead to a toxic page environment and may encourage others to do the same or even unfollow your page entirely. With Facebook reactions, you can minimize the effect of negative reviews with a more innocent ‘angered’ or ‘saddened’ emoji. Overall, this looks better on your page rather than lines of nonsensical text in all caps.

Gain more visibility with your page

Commenting and reacting to other local pages on your business’s Facebook account increases your chances of being discovered by potential customers. And, as an added benefit, engaging with other local pages can encourage them to return the favor.

Use reactions as constructive feedback

Facebook reactions add an extra level of depth to measuring how well your posts are doing. Before, more likes would mean more engagement. But now, reactions show that people are invested in your content.

What’s more, you can now measure what people feel about your content. This allows you to tailor your next post so that it gets the most engagement. For instance, if you notice that people are leaving more ‘Haha’ reactions to your posts, then this could suggest that your audience engages with your posts if they see more humor included in your content.

Check out your competition

You should note that page posts are public and can be see by anyone, even those who haven’t liked your page yet. This also means you can review your competitor’s posts and find out how people are reacting to their posts. This is valuable information to gauge what type of content, announcements, or status updates work for your target audience. Or if you find that your competitor is only getting likes rather than reactions, you can try experimenting with creative posts to get people to engage with your content instead.

Facebook reactions create a new and exciting way for people to express how they feel about certain posts. While some social media marketers would not pay too much attention to this feature, focusing on reactions can give you an edge when it comes to measuring how your target audience feels about your service. So the next time you’re going to make a new post, consider some or all of these tips to make the most out of those Facebook emojis.

Need more advice on managing your Facebook page? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
April 4th, 2016

2016Apr4_BusinessValue_AYour technology needs to produce a return on investment. If it doesn’t, you’re wasting you and your staff’s time and money. But how can you ensure you gain that coveted ROI you’re after? What does it actually mean to have a positive ROI? And how can you tell if you have one? Here are a few tips for calculating the true costs of a new technology investment.

ROI basics

What does it mean to have a positive return on investment? It’s pretty simple. A positive ROI means the results a technology produces are greater than or equal to the amount of time and money invested. Obviously you want a positive ROI, but when is the right time to consider it? Should it be before or after you make a technology purchase? The answer is both. Before purchasing, you want to carefully consider whether a technology service or product is worth your money. Then months after you’ve implemented it, you should analyze whether or not you made a good investment. Doing this enables you to learn from your mistakes (if you made one) and make a wiser technology purchase next time.

Also, don’t forget to look at your technology currently in use. Ask yourself, is your technology simply keeping the lights on? Or is it providing a solid foundation for your business to grow? If the answer is the former, there are likely better options out there worth trying.

How to calculate ROI

When calculating ROI, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Here is a simple formula to get you started.

ROI = net gain/cost Example: You spend $100 and make $150. Your net gain is $50 ROI = 50/100 = 50%

If you’ve yet to purchase a service or new equipment, you obviously don’t know how much profit it will generate. So you’ll have to do a bit of guesswork and estimation. It’s also important to consider some intangibles. Think about the productivity costs of staff time, disruption, and frustration (because most of us don’t work effectively when frustrated). Let’s take staff time for example. How much time will your staff save if you implement a Managed Services solution? With your employees no longer having to put out IT fires daily, what if your entire staff saves 50 hours a week because of it? How much does that add up to in saved salary expense? It’s important here not just to think about the savings in time, but also what your staff could be doing with those extra 50 hours. They could put those hours towards marketing or growing your business. And that alone could make up for the costs of the technology investment itself.

Intangibles don’t just apply to saving time, frustration and disruptions, but also the costs of implementing the new technology. For example, how much time will be required to train your staff on the new technology? What’s the cost of that? Also, how much time will it take to migrate from your old system to the new one? You should consider all of these when estimating your ROI.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the unique circumstance of subscription purchases. Since you are usually paying these on a monthly basis, it can be a bit tricky to add up real costs. That’s why it’s important to use a timeline for these. For example, if you subscribe to software as a service, what’s the cost of that plan over the course of one year or five? How much money will you save over that time span?

What’s the benefit?

Besides the staffing example mentioned above, consider how a technology investment can create new revenue streams. For example, an investment in VoIP opens up an opportunity to offer video consulting to clients in parts of the country (or even world) that would normally be out of reach. This obviously leads to a new revenue stream and increased profits. So ask yourself, can the technology you’re considering create new revenue streams?

Next steps

Before making a technology purchase, it’s wise to talk with both management and end users about your decision. If you fail to consult your end users before implementation, they may disagree with your decision and therefore take longer to adapt or even rebel against it. Checking with them beforehand gives them a chance to offer valuable feedback on how it will be used in the trenches, and will get them onboard with the technology if you implement it. As for your management team, they can be a valuable resource to bounce ideas off of and gain insights about the technology you may have overlooked.

Lastly, ROI does not need to be calculated for every purchase. If you need to buy something small, like a new keyboard, just go and buy it. Save your ROI calculations for much larger investments that can have a dramatic impact on your business.

If you need help determining the ROI of a potential technology investment, feel free to give us a call for a chat. Our experts can help you determine the true benefits of a given technology and help you make a wise investment.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
April 1st, 2016

2016Apr1_HealthcareArticles_AMore patients are turning to a self-service approach when it comes to healthcare. Now this doesn’t mean they’ve taken to operating on themselves, but they are checking into hospitals without the help of medical administrators. Similar to portal technology, self-service kiosks can help streamline administrative tasks like hospital registration and payment. So is self-service a viable solution for hospitals?

Listed below are a few key benefits of a self-service solution.

Reduced costs

Implementing self-service kiosks in hospitals can reduce costs for the facility. Self check-ins save the hospital from using paper, filing the forms, and allows them to quickly look up information on that particular patient without having to sort through piles and cabinets of paperwork. Additionally, with self-service kiosks, nurses spend less time doing the bulk of the hospital’s administrative duties and more time providing care for patients.

Reduce patient waiting time

The need to fill out paper forms is replaced with an easy-to-operate digitized system. Usually, the administrative staff have to manually record the patient’s information and find the appropriate medical department that will tend to the patient’s healthcare needs. This process can be eliminated as self-service kiosks make it easier to check-in and verify patient information by simply swiping an identification card.

Less errors

Sometimes mistakes happen. Using electronic kiosks help reduce data entry errors made by an administrative staff. By crowdsourcing the filing of the electronic forms to patients, chances of errors are reduced since they are usually invested in getting the best treatment for themselves. This also means that duplicate consent forms and medical data going into the electronic health record (EHR) are not likely to happen as the device will simply alert the hospital staff if they have an existing record in their system.

Easier payment method

Tying the kiosk into a Web-based portal can also expedite the process of payment for the patient. Patients can pay their medical expenses by simply swiping and putting their credit card information into the electronic payment system. The device can also inform the patient of any outstanding medical balances, print out payments and medical certificates, as well as notify the hospital if the patient has made any payments for the treatment they received.

Less confusion

Apart from the easily accessible forms, patients can also take comfort in knowing that they are never lost with the self-service kiosks. In the same device, the patient can find their appointed physician by accessing a hospital map which will point them in the right direction. While this feature is pretty basic, it saves the patient some time from finding any available staff that can eventually direct them to the right room.

While some would still prefer to have face-to-face conversation with medical staff when they check-in to the hospital, self-service kiosks are well worth the investment. At the end of the day, implementing electronic devices is not only a cost-efficient solution, but one that can reduce the waiting time for patients and increase the time for hospital staff to care for them too.

Contact us today if you want to be informed on the latest trends in healthcare IT.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Healthcare