November 27th, 2015

While HIPPA’s implementation in relation to technology has been problematic to say the least, things have become much clearer over the course of the past year. However, there are still a few areas in which your office might not be compliant. This isn’t necessarily through negligence on your part, but rather simply a lack of understanding as to the requirements. We look at four facts your practice should know about HIPAA and your IT.

If you’re still confused about which parts of your IT are HIPAA-compliant and which parts need to be addressed, don’t panic. You’re not the only practice still struggling to figure out just what exactly is and isn’t compliant. Here are four important things you should know about the technology your office uses and its relationship with HIPAA.

Telehealth and mHealth are not always compliant

If your practice has invested or is thinking about investing in telehealth or mHealth, you need to make sure it is HIPAA-compliant. While most telehealth technology is HIPAA-approved, you might be required to enact one or two measures to make it compliant. An IT specialist should have no problem making sure your telehealth is up to code.

On the other hand, mHealth might be a little more problematic. While a lot of hardware and apps, including Fitbit and the Apple Watch, are HIPAA-compliant, it is a field that is still very new and constantly changing. Your best bet is to consult regularly with an expert to make sure your mHealth is following all the necessary regulations.

All info, not just EHRs, needs to be HIPAA-compliant

If your office has individually identifiable ePHI data sets on-site, including information like billing records, appointment information and test results, they must be kept on HIPAA-compliant devices and servers. A lot of medical practices that use cloud-based storage for their EHRs overlook this fact. While it’s good to have your EHRs ready to go on the cloud, make sure the rest of your ePHI data is protected as well. If it isn’t, you could be facing a fine.

Your protected health information notice must be available online

If your practice has a website, HIPAA’s rules dictate that it must contain a copy of your updated protected health information notice for patients to access. If you have a website and this information is not currently posted, you might consider getting this done in the near future in order to avoid any problems.

Healthcare business associates must also be HIPAA-compliant

It is not just medical practices, healthcare clearinghouses, and health plan organizations that are required to be HIPAA-compliant. Any other business that has access, electronic or otherwise, to protected health information is also required by law to be HIPAA-compliant. This includes any accounting or law firms you work with that may already be accessing your files electronically to carry out work. In order to avoid any potential trouble for your practice or its partners, it best to ask them if they are HIPAA-compliant. If they aren’t, cease all access to files, and make sure they take action to correct this issue immediately.

Still not sure if you’re 100% HIPAA-compliant? Our team of experts can run the necessary risk analysis, and assist in correcting any areas of your technology that may not be in line with current regulations.

Published with permission from Source.

November 27th, 2015

AndroidPhone_Nov5_BAs mobile payments move ever closer to becoming the norm for settling bills and undertaking financial transactions, Google Wallet and Apple Pay continue to be the services that hog the limelight. While it may appear on the surface that these are the only popular options, Samsung Pay is also getting in on a slice of the NFC-technology action. The Korea-headquartered technology giant has taken another step forward by announcing its integration of support for eight more credit and debit card issuers within Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay, which the company claims to be the most accepted mobile payment system around, already supports payment made through three of the major and most popular networks in the United States and elsewhere: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. The latest development will be of most benefit to customers in the US, or those with accounts at these US-based financial institutions but who themselves are based overseas.

Among the newly supported payment methods are Visa cards issued through the American bank Chase and through the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as MasterCard credit and debit cards held against accounts with the following US institutions:

    • Citizens Equity First Credit Union
    • Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
    • Security Service Federal Credit Union
    • State Employees’ Credit Union
    • SunTrust
    • Virginia Credit Union
Other major banking institutions already supported for transactions processed through Samsung pay include Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and Synchrony Financial. The growth of Samsung Pay, and the widening choice of options for making use of the service, are signs of the increased importance of the mobile payments sector - something that smart businesses are paying close attention to, in order to be able to identify how to best exploit the growth opportunities this presents.

Find out how you can make mobile payments work for your business - give us a call today and talk to one of our friendly team.

Published with permission from Source.

November 25th, 2015


Like it or not, cloud computing is coming to your industry. The question is, will you happily be an early adopter of this technology or be frozen by indecision?

Here are some answers to questions you may have about how to best take advantage of this new and sometimes paralyzing technology.

Just what exactly is “the cloud”?

The cloud is simply storing and/or accessing data and programs over the Internet – rather than using a computer’s hard drive. Simply put, the cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. Due to increases in technology, the cloud is a super-efficient and reliable data processing, storage and delivery system.

Why migrate to the cloud?

The cloud can integrate online apps for marketing, human resources, customer service and more, enabling faster scaling, growth and flexibility for your organization.

As with your electric bill, you pay only for the capacity you use, thus reducing your capital expenditures as well as ongoing expenses. It also allows instant access from any device and easy backup capabilities.

What about data security?

While there are risks in sending your data to the cloud, one way to protect it is to select a data security system that encrypts the data at the file level before it leaves your network.

So, is the cloud for you?

There’s a lot to like about the cloud, yet we’ve just scratched the surface in this article. If you have more questions or would like help putting together your cloud strategy, call us at (203) 268-5947 x101.




November 24th, 2015

VoIP_Nov24_BMany businesses today are implementing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems in their office, to replace traditional phone lines - and for good reason. VoIP provides significant advantages, including the ability to make and receive calls from anywhere and at any time, cost savings, a more reliable signal, and more. But before you start implementing VoIP, you need to understand the difference between FXS and FXO ports. We’ll help you get started.

FXS and FXO are the interfaces for analog telephony, also called POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). Using these interfaces enables a call to be established - the ports provide the necessary electricity, dial tone, and call signal.

What is an FXS port?

FXS stands for Foreign Exchange Subscriber, a port that connects the router or access server to end-user equipment such as office phones, fax machines, or modems. In other words, it is a plug on the wall that delivers dial battery, loop current, and ringing voltage to the device, so that the analog signal can be transmitted.

What is an FXO port?

FXO stands for Foreign Exchange Office, a port on the end communication device, such as an office phone or fax machine. The FXO connects the device to the FXS port, as well as to the outside telephone line, requesting the dial tone needed to initiate a call.

How the connection works

In order for a call to work, a telecommunication line from an FXO port must be connected to an FXS port, and vice versa. The process for making calls is simple: when your FXS and FXO ports are connected, you will receive a signal from the telephone company through the FXS port in the wall. This signal is then transmitted to the FXO port connected to the device so that, when you pick up the phone, you hear the dial tone. Then you dial the phone number, which is passed as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) digits to the FXS port, allowing you to make the call.

When you’re receiving an inbound call, on the other hand, the FXS port receives the call, then sends a ring voltage through the FXO port to your end device. The phone will ring, and you can pick it up to answer the call.


The signal transmission process becomes more complex when you implement an additional network element, such as VoIP gateway. You need an FXS gateway to connect one or more lines to a VoIP system or provider. You’ll also need an FXO gateway to connect the VoIP system with analog phone lines, and to translate the analog phone line to a VoIP call.

In summary...

  • FXS is a plug on the wall, and FXO is a plug on the phone
  • FXS provides the dial tone, and FXO requests it
  • FXS is a port that receives a call; FXO is a port that initiates it
Want to learn more about FXS, FXO, or VoIP? Give us a call and our telephony experts will be happy to help.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic VoIP General
November 19th, 2015

Healthcare_Nov19_ATraditionally, healthcare delivery has been based on a face-to-face meeting between patients and physicians in a hospital or clinic. But the latest advancements in medical technology has altered how and where healthcare is delivered. Nowadays, patients expect to interact with physicians and receive medical recommendations and treatments via the phone and online channels - this approach is known as ‘telemedicine’. If you’re looking to improve the level of patient service and satisfaction in your healthcare business, then read on.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare services, including interactive consultations, information exchange and medical diagnosis, over a distance through the use of telecommunications technology. The purpose of telemedicine is to improve a patient’s health and wellbeing. It is considered as a cost-effective alternative to the more traditional in-office medical checkups.

Benefits of telemedicine

Patients who feel overwhelmed by both medical professionals and their surroundings now have a reason to smile, as telemedicine offers a more comfortable and user-friendly approach to those who are seeking healthcare in the comfort of their homes. Some of the benefits of telemedicine include:
  • Convenience - Physicians can extend their reach to patients in rural and disaster-struck areas where healthcare is highly needed. Emergency treatment can be carried out easily without the need for travel.
  • Collaboration - Health professionals are granted access to medical databases, allowing them to browse patient records. What’s more, telemedicine allows healthcare professionals from multiple locations to share their experience and knowledge, which could prove very useful for critical cases that require specialized insight and treatment.
  • Time-efficiency - With telemedicine, physicians are able to effectively monitor their patient’s conditions, thereby reducing the number of patient visits and increasing the ability to provide care for more patients.
  • Cost-efficiency - Telemedicine has been shown to decrease the cost of healthcare through reduced traveling costs, improved management of chronic diseases, and shorter hospital stays and visits.

The three types of telemedicine

Telemedicine can be classified into three main categories, including:
  • Store and forward - This type of telemedicine involves the transmission of medical information, such as radiology images, videos and medical records, from one doctor to another. The doctor on the receiving end is usually a specialist whose job is to interpret and evaluate the data at hand, in order to develop diagnosis and recommendation of treatments to the patient.
  • Remote monitoring - This method facilitates doctors to remotely observe patients who suffer from chronic illnesses or specific conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, by using various technological equipment. Patients can greatly benefit from remote monitoring, since they can save themselves from the trouble of visiting the doctor in person.
  • Interactive services - This service allows doctors to deliver advice to patients who require immediate medical attention. There are several telecommunication methods used for this purpose, including live video and audio conversations, online communication, and home visits.
Telemedicine is currently being adopted in numerous healthcare facilities, and the numbers are growing steadily. If you want to learn how to implement telemedicine into your healthcare business to improve patient care, give us a call today.
Published with permission from Source.

November 18th, 2015

Everything we accomplish happens not just because of our efforts but also through the efforts of others. The biggest difference between people who manage others versus people who lead others is how they develop those under them.

As all leaders know, untitled or not, leadership is power with people, not power over people. Do you build people up or tear them down? Encourage or discourage others? Try to be the hero, or make heroes out of those around you?

According to researcher Tom Rath at Gallup, the No. 1 reason why people quit their jobs is lack of appreciation. Everyone wants to feel significant, to be recognized for what they do. It’s important to make people feel appreciated. It’s even more important to let people know there is someone who believes in them, so much so that he or she will not let them be less than they can be.

The 3 C’s of Power with People:

  • Character – Those who wish to influence others understand how important character is. When establishing character, it is critical to remember that the opposite of humility isn’t pride; it is self-absorption. Few people can lead or inspire others, at work or at home, when they are self-absorbed.
  • Competence – People who act as leaders exude competence – by their actions, by their appearances and in everything they undertake.
  • Connection – When we act effectively as leaders, those around us bond with us – not because of our position or title in the organization, but because of their relationship with us.

Once you’ve developed these 3 C’s in your relationships with others, you will be capable of leading. As a leader, titled or not, your job is to act as a thermostat, not as a thermometer. Industrialist Harvey Firestone said, “You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.” So give it your best.

Leadership Action Points:

  • Express your appreciation – To act like a leader, celebrate the success of those around and under you as if it were your own.
  • Ask others what motivates them – When was the last time anyone asked you what motivates you? Don’t make assumptions about what motivates your team either.
  • Collaborate – When it comes to decision-making, the oft-used acronym TEAM is true: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
  • Practice diplomatic confrontation – Rather than confronting the person, consider what behavior of his or hers needs to change. Confront the problem, not the person.

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international best-selling author and noted authority on leadership, team-building, customer service and change. Mark is the author of 8 books, including the best seller The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, which has sold more than 1.6 million copies internationally. Learn more about Mark at

Topic Articles
November 17th, 2015

164_B_Int RepFrom restaurants to sports equipment vendors, no business is immune from negative feedback online. With more and more people spending hours on the Internet every day, customers are quick to voice their opinions about businesses. And their comments aren’t always positive. You might wonder how do you respond when you receive a negative review from a customer online? Here are some tips to help you paint a positive image of your brand.

Online reputation management mistakes

As long as you have a successful business or brand, people will always have something to say about it. And when it comes to online reputation management, the goal is to create positive engagement with your customers for the life of your business. So if the discussion about your brand swings negative, here are a few online reputation blunders to avoid.
  1. Ignore negative commentary - when you ignore negative comments or accusations about your brand, anger towards your business can fester, especially when there are a lot people rallying against you. Years ago, Nestle’s brand image was severely damaged by Greenpeace’s campaign against them. If they hadn’t ignored the problem at first, much of this likely would have been avoided. When it comes to your brand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should respond to every negative comment. If someone is trolling your public discussion boards, then you can give their remarks a pass. However, if the negative post appears credible, you need to address it.
  2. Reacting emotionally - if your reaction to negative comments is to fire back with negative comments, it’s certain to make you look bad. Customers want to do business with a brand that is professional. If you react emotionally or negatively to a customer online, who’s to say you wouldn’t do the same in real life to the person reading it?

How to resolve negative commentary

While you may feel upset by a negative comment about your brand, don’t let your emotions get the better of you by posting something you’ll later regret. Instead, calm down, compose yourself, and follow these guidelines.
  • Figure out what the customer really wants - every customer wants their problem to be resolved, but how they want their issue fixed will vary. Some customers want an apology, others want a refund, and some may simply want the product they ordered but did not receive. Read the negative comment carefully to figure out what would make your customer happy, then proceed in the following manner.
  • Imagine you’re responding to your grandmother - you would never say something rude or hurtful to your grandmother, and you shouldn’t to your customers either. When a customer comes to you with a problem, rephrase it back to them to ensure you understand it correctly, and then explain how you’ll solve it. And just like you would if your grandmother came to you with a problem, be sensitive and do your best to help.
  • Stick to the facts - when engaging with a customer online, the initial comment can quickly turn into a back-and-forth discussion. If this happens, don’t get off-topic when addressing the problem. The customer may try to engage you in a he-said she-said battle, but avoid taking the bait. Respond with facts, stick to the matter at hand, and don’t get caught up in personal accusations.
  • Turn the negative into a positive - negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business. So be honest with yourself and, if there’s truth in the comment, take a good hard look at your company. Did the commentator point out a glaring problem you can improve upon? Remember, a business is nothing without its customers, so it makes sense to do your best to please them.
To learn more about how to best manage your online reputation, or for assistance with any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.
Published with permission from Source.

November 16th, 2015

BusinessIntelligence_Nov16_B Business Intelligence (BI) software has helped thousands of small and medium-sized businesses around the globe increase profits and improve efficiency. If you think your business will enjoy similar success by simply installing some software you are sorely mistaken. You must plan BI implementation wisely in order to see the results you want. Here are a few things you should take into consideration.

Quite a few business owners see other companies using BI software and tools successfully and hope to emulate those results. Unfortunately, BI goes far beyond installing a program on your employee’s computers and expecting them to churn out results because of it. In fact, without proper planning in place, you could end up losing money on your BI investment.

If you’re ready to bring BI software and tools to your small or medium-sized business but aren’t quite sure what your should be looking for, here are four things you need to consider during the planning process.

What data do you need to know

BI software is great at helping you obtain data and presenting it to you in all kinds of different ways. But it’s only helpful if you can actually use the information. Too many businesses jump on the BI software bandwagon because they hear about the great results other companies have achieved using these tools. However, if you don’t know what information you’re looking for or how to use that data to your advantage, BI software essentially becomes a toy for you and your staff to play with.

That’s why you need to fully understand what information and data your business needs before implementing any BI software. This will help you pick the best tool for your needs and then utilize it to great effect.

Create specific goals

When you are planning to implement BI software it is vital to have a specific endgame in mind. Increasing profits sounds great but it’s hard to utilize BI effectively when tackling a goal of that magnitude. Instead focus on performance metrics you can measure like higher closing rates or more online conversations. This will help make your planning easier and allow you to find the BI tools required to reach those goals as well as track your progress along the way.

Think about today and the future

It is important to not only think about BI software in correlation to your short term goals but your long term ones as well. You want to make sure your BI software is useful both now and in the future. Find something that can grow alongside your company over the long haul. You don’t want to constantly be changing or adding on to BI tools unless it is absolutely necessary. If possible, find BI solutions that are scalable and flexible so they can help over a longer period of time.

Keep it simple

Sometimes the desire to know more about your company can see you end up overloading your staff and employees with complex toolsets and data. The goal, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, should be data that is quickly accessible and easy to comprehend. This will allow you and your team to make speedy and informed decisions. Convoluting the process with unnecessary information or complicated process will only serve to negate what you are trying to do by installing BI software in the first place.

BI tools and software are designed to help you work smarter, not harder. When you plan to bring them to your company, this is something you will want to keep at the forefront of your decision making process.

If your company is looking to start utilizing BI tools, our team of experts can help. Together we can create a BI plan that works best for your business.

Published with permission from Source.

November 12th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Nov12_AAs healthcare practices across the nation continue to find out, patients place ever-diminishing levels of importance on care alone. While it is and will forever be a factor that influences a person’s decision, convenience has become another key area patients look at when choosing a healthcare facility. Online scheduling, in particular, has become something more and more of us consider when selecting a healthcare provider.

In order to succeed in today’s technology-driven world, you have to provide convenience alongside top-notch care. As the use of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices has permeated society, healthcare hasn’t always done a great job of keeping up. Those facilities that have kept up with tech trends have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide, while places relying on the old ways continue to remain stagnant in both areas.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest, and most popular, pieces of technology used by forward-thinking healthcare clinics. With this, patients are able to see when a doctor is available and schedule an appointment using your website. According to research from Accenture, 38 percent of all healthcare appointments will be scheduled online by 2019. Still not convinced your practice needs it? Here are 4 additional benefits of online scheduling.

New patients prefer it

More than ever, people are less inclined to make phone calls especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one that has online scheduling to avoid having to make a call. If you don’t want your practice to miss out on potential new patients, having online scheduling is a no brainer.

More time for your staff

Think about how much time your staff spends each day answering phone calls from people needing to make an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Imagine if they were able to focus on patients at your facility instead of being on the phone with ones who want to be there. It would probably improve the level of care each person receives while at your facility. This will allow patients at your office to feel as if they are truly being taken care of and increasing the chances they return in the future.

Added flexibility for patients

One of the most difficult things for a patient is trying to schedule an appointment when your office is closed. If something happens at 8pm, they have no way of knowing if you will have time to see them the next morning. This puts them in a bind as they either have to take time off work and hope you can see them or go into work in the morning and wait until they can make an appointment.

With online scheduling, this problem is easily avoidable. They can simply log in to your website and see when you are available. This allows your patients to plan their schedule accordingly around the visit without having to wait until the next day.

You’re going to need it eventually

Sure, you probably can get away with not having online scheduling at the moment and maybe even for the next year or two, but eventually the time will come for your practice to embrace the technology. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your staff trained and the sooner your patients can enjoy the benefits of it. And for those healthcare providers who think online scheduling is simply a passing trend, well we’re sure there were plenty of doctors who said the same thing about the telephone when it was first introduced.

Need help setting up online scheduling at the your practice? Want to learn more about how technology can help make things easier for your patients? Talk to our IT experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

November 11th, 2015


For better or worse, we are practically “married” to our phone these days. It goes everywhere we go. It has access to our most private conversations and key financial data. It holds some of our most precious memories, in the form of pictures, sound recordings and video.

And yet, there are those who would use it to rob and manipulate you. And they’re getting more and more clever each day at penetrating your defenses. So how do you protect your phone and yourself from vicious attack by these cybercriminals?  Here’s a basic checklist to keep you and your “beloved” safe.

  1. Keep your phone with you at all times. Remember, if somebody swipes it:

 – It can be used to access your money, or steal your identity.

 – Someone can pose as you on your social media accounts.

 – A thief can use your SIM card to rack up phone bills.

  1. Keep your phone secure.

 – Set a secure entry password.

 – Update your phone’s operating system as soon as updates become available.

 – Turn Bluetooth off when you’re not using it and avoid using it in crowded areas.

 – Only use encrypted WiFi networks that require a password, and set your phone to not automatically connect to           new networks.

 – Enable remote geo-tracking and the lock and wipe functions. These will allow you to locate your phone if misplaced. You’ll also be able to lock the screen and wipe the data if the phone is stolen. Just be aware that geo-tracking may enable others to pinpoint your location.

  1. Keep your data secure.

 – Back up your data regularly.

 – Don’t save passwords or PINs on your phone.

 – Avoid online banking in public or crowded areas. Strangers may be able to look over your shoulder.

  1. Use apps safely.

 – Apps can transmit personal data. Select permissions carefully when you install them.

 – Always source apps from trusted providers and check feedback from other users.

 – If you’re not sure why an app needs access to your contacts, calls, photos or location, see if you can find a comparable app that doesn’t require that access.

  1. Be selective about how and where you use your phone.

 – Stick with trusted webs sites and apps when you download anything.

 – Never download content from an unknown source or one you can’t verify.

 – Turn GPS off when you’re not using it. Your location can be tracked if you have it turned on.

 – Log out of web sites when you are done using them.

 – Especially with e-mail – THINK before you click. Hackers are getting very clever at creating authentic looking e-mails. One false click could unleash malicious code allowing them access to all your personal data.

Keep these tips in mind to keep yourself out of harm’s way — and to enjoy all the great things you love about your phone.