Friday, July 14, 2006

Remote access

Our remote access is now live. I had to install some extra software on my home computer, and there is an additional password, but it works. It is amazing to be able to see everything, as if I was at the office. I just reviewed all my labs, send a message to my secretary to call the pharmacy with a changed synthroid dose, put this in the patient's CPP, and arranged for a lab req to be mailed to her so she can repeat her TSH in 3 months. From my home.

This will help me when I attend conferences, or if I go on vacation: I can take care of lab tests and messages remotely, to avoid some of the usual mess when I get back to the office. Of course, there will be the temptation to log in while on vacation, which I will not always be able to resist. At least my cottage does not have internet access, so I'm forced to relax there.

It took 3 months to enable this, which reflects the fact that our system is complex, with several security levels (application, hospital, SSHA). It is a trade off: more complex systems need more time to get set up. It would have been simpler and faster if I had a server in my office, with some type of black box to enable remote access. However, long term, I think an "enterprise" set up will serve us better; I have to stop thinking of my practice as a Mom and Pop Shoppe. We need to be interconnected, and connected with the rest of the health care system, and that will mean a professionally managed server, with high level security. Down the line, I can't see this being managed in my own office (plus making sure back-up and upgrades happen as they should).

I have now done about 40% of my CPPs. The student is in mornings, and is now scanning about 30 charts daily; that probably won't be finished by the end of the summer, but he's taught the rest of my staff how to do it, and we'll continue in the Fall.


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