10 point checklist for your practice before Christmas

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“In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

 

1. Backup backup backup !

Yes, no surprises here. First cab off the rank – make sure you have a backup solution in place. An automated backup is ideal. But even if you don’t have a fully automated backup (yes, why don’t you have one?) – please run a manual backup DAILY and WEEKLY to ensure that all your precious practice data is secure. This also includes taking a backup of your laptop / Macbook that has a copy of your clinical software.

2. Backup your Backup

No its not an echo. Backup your backup. If you don’t have a backup – read point 1. Once you have a backup – back it up again and store it in a different location. External hard drive, USB Flash drive, automated off-site backup. Please make sure that your secondary backup is stored away from where your original backup. e.g. if you have a server at your practice that is getting backed-up then run a secondary backup and take it off-site- or even better store it on the “cloud”.

3. Trial run a backup – restore

No amount of backup is of any use if you cant restore it. Often, medical practices will religiously run regular backups – but never actually test to see if it can be restored. Between now and Christmas try and see if you can do a test restore of your backup. It will give you that peace of mind that points 1 and 2 above were well worth the effort!

4. What ass-ets are worth keeping?

Do you have a list of all the different equipment in your practice? Not just the IT stuff, but an asset register? Over time as new items are purchased, they just get added on. We have an awesome asset register that is available for free to you. Let us know and we will send you a copy. Take the time out and write down the name, purchase details, value, warranty etc. for the asset. Your accountant will love you and the tax man delighted!

5. Spring clean your Practice Management Software

Duplicate patient records, invalid Medicare dates, no mobile numbers….all those things that you thought you will get to later. Well, now is the time. Have a quick scan through of your practice address book and complete as many details as you can.

6. The next 12 months

The healthcare space is rapidly changing. Every month something new is be announced. If your practice is doing the exact same thing 12 months from now – then you are already behind the curve. Sit down together as a team and talk about what you can do as a practice to add more value to your services / patients. Define your top 3 solutions and plan to implement them. These could be as simple as “send SMS reminders to patients” or “setup eHealth/PCEHR” or “convert the practice to use paperless fax”.

 7. The Good The Bad The Ugly

A precursor to point 6 above, the holiday season is also worth reflecting on what processes in your practice are GOOD (keep doing more of it), the BAD (can be improved upon) and the UGLY (get rid of ASAP). The way you communicate / followup with  patients  – SMS reminders for appointments, calling them back a couple of days after a surgery / consult to ask how they are going is a GOOD thing. The bad might be identifying what processes in the practice are still paperless / or how the EFTPOS is not integrated with your software – something to improve upon. I shall leave out the ugly for you to identify whatever it might be…..the aim should be to eventually land up with as much Good as possible.

8. What do you know about us?

No one likes change. But at times it is necessary. Reviewing existing partnerships / relationships with vendors is worthwhile. Talk to your suppliers /service providers and find out if they do really understand your business? or do they just respond to whatever you ask them to do? Are they proactive in coming back to you with suggestions, ideas on how your practice can improve? Ask the question. If you get an answer that is not to your liking, maybe its time you re-evaluated that relationship.

9. You can never have enough protection?

How secure is your network? Are the passwords changed regularly? Do you have a firewall? Remember, having a firewall is NOT enough security – infact it has some potential security holes in it. Check with your IT solution provider and make sure that you are protected. If they are not using the CISS guidelines for medical practices then ask them – why not !

10. Final Word

As the calendar year draws to a close, this is the time to tie up loose ends, get a good overall handle on the practice. Once its done, you can down the shutters knowing that no matter what – you have the systems in place to recover and get back up as soon as possible.

 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

As always, you can always contact us to talk about any of the points above.