Saturday, January 14, 2006

Getting SSHA broadband in the office

After some prodding from our IT lead physician, we sent the documents to SSHA so we could each get a broadband connection. My office received an ADSL connection; SSHA shipped me a DSL modem, as well as a Small Office Firewall Appliance (SOFA). The SOFA is about the same size as the modem, and provides additional security. Instructions on how to connect the whole thing came with the shipment; the modem connects to the phone jack, and the SOFA connects to the modem. If you need help, there is a 1-800 number to call.

My internet connection did not work. After an hour of being connected, the modem started to smoke and smell bad, and then shut off. My OntarioMD IT transition specialist put me in touch with someone at SSHA, and they sent me a second modem. Perhaps the problem was that I have two phone lines at the office, so I bought a line splitter; putting DSL over a dedicated phone line (such as a fax line) is a better idea. The second modem fried as well, shortly after installation--a critical hardware failure.

SSHA then told me that they would install cable internet. This came about three weeks later. You have to make sure that you contact SSHA well ahead of time, as it takes time for the installation, as well as time to solve problems. The cable internet connection now works.

Some physicians in our group (including me) had never switched to Electronic Data Transmission (EDT) to submit billings, and were still using diskettes. We had to send in a form to the Ministry to switch to EDT. The two forms are on the Ministry of Health's website, Form 1 and Form 2.

Our IT lead physician was proceeding with the contract negotiations. OntarioMD told us that they would release the first installment of the subsidy ($4,500 per physician) once they had our Letter of Intent, Vendor Contract Declaration, and Scope of Work. The OntarioMD IT specialist will help with the forms; the first two are done for the group, and the last is done by each physician (we did it together at one of our meetings).

The cost over 3 years for software and hardware was going to be approximately $30,000 (depending on how many computers in the office etc), fairly close to the subsidy. The greatest costs are hardware, training, and support, not software.

Our IT lead called a meeting so we could decide on next steps.


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