Starting a business, especially one from scratch, can be a long and tedious process. The best way to do this is in phases. The IT side of your business is the same and is best to a take step-by-step approach. While we focus on starting a medical office or practice in this Blog, most of the steps are applicable to most businesses, except few specific special needs they might have.
There are a few different things that every physician practice will need in order to get their doors open and start their business. The first and most important element of anything is proper planning time. Many new practice owners, mostly doctors who are skilled at providing excellent patient care, do not fully realize the scope of everything they need and how long it will take to get it done. Without this, the worst case scenario is that you simply cannot open on time and your business reputation suffers, appointments have to get moved, and you waste huge amounts of money. Best case, you have 2-5 teams of people working around each other in 12-hour shifts on the weekend. While this “best case” results in you getting open on time, now you have to pay for 5-15 people working overtime on the weekend at a breakneck and inefficient pace because everyone is in everyone else’s way. So it is of unparalleled importance that you do the research and give everyone all the necessary time to work at a manageable speed.
This is all about location and infrastructure. You have to make sure that you choose a place that is easy to get to, has the internet service you need, has the parking you need, has the space you need, and that isn’t directly competing with another business nearby that is targeting the same area/demographic that your business is. Once you have a place, it’s time to get the infrastructure done. Make sure all your construction is done, you have power and light where you need it, get your heat and AC going, get your security system in place, you have desks, tables, chairs, and everything else. (if you are reconstructing a building or having a new one built for that matter, you may want to talk with a Sam IT Solutions technician before you finalize anything so we can help you select where outlets, data lines and data ports should be placed)
Once you are done with Phase 1, it’s on to Phase 2 which is your IT infrastructure. This is where, BEFORE YOU DO OR BUY ANYTHING ELSE, you speak with us (Sam IT Solutions). We can have a conversation and tell you all the tech that you really need and either get it for you or point you in the right direction. This is all about planning and getting inventory. We will give you a generic network diagram that will show your entire potential IT infrastructure, and then customize it to fit your practice. This consists of items such as modems, routers, firewalls, switches, cables, power sources, phones, computers, access points, peripherals, printers, etc. Basically everything that runs on electricity is included in this diagram. Once you know what kind of hardware you will need then we move on to software. You have your medical software like eClinicalWorks, Crystal PM, AthenaNet, Dragon, etc.. We have a huge amount of experience in this as the majority of our clients are medical practices, just like yours. You will also need things like anti-malware, Microsoft Office, management tools, backup tools, and quite possibly more. Every practice will be different. The most important thing is that your business is equipped with what best meets your needs and your budget. The final part of this phase, once we know everything you want and everything you need, is to do an onsite audit. This will tell us where everything is going, if you need data lines (completely new ones or just move old ones), if your building IT infrastructure will support the kind of data stream you will be generating, how long the process will take, and the biggest questions on every business owner’s mind, “When can we open?” and “How much will it cost?”
Next is implementation. Now that we know exactly what to do, its time to get it done. We will have our team gather all your inventory, get it configured, wired, placed, and user ready. This phase while simple to explain can take the longest. Depending on how robust your system is, how much tech we have to configure/install, how much we need to do construction or lay lines, and how much access we have to the building are all big factors in determining the time line. Once all systems are in place, we can show you how everything works, and get it setup so it works the way you want.
At this point you can unlock the doors and put up the grand opening sign, you are ready to go! The questions you have to ask yourself are “Now that I have all of this, how do I manage it?” and “What if something goes wrong?”. Management and prevention are the purposes of this phase. Sam IT Solutions isn’t just a solution to getting a network, it’s all the solutions to getting and maintaining an effective network for a growing business in a very diverse and evolving market. If we haven’t already done this in Phase 2, this is the best time to have the conversation. We offer a myriad of services that not only keep your business going when something bad happens, but actually grows your business and keeps those business-hurting mishaps at bay. We offer multiple Tiers of IT related assistance that can cover any business from a small practice to a very large group of interconnected businesses. We have clients that use as little as 1 computer and as much as a dozen servers and over 100 computers. Whether you plan on staying small or growing big, we are with you for the long haul. Everything from getting rid of viruses, to managing social networking, to constructing and hosting websites is in our bag of tools. Want everything triply backed up locally? No problem. Want everything on the cloud so you can access your data anytime anywhere? No problem. Our staff utilizes tools that keeps us up-to-date on all of your systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means that many times we will know about a problem before even you do and can correct it before it is ever even realized. Whether you are in Florida, Ohio, or even right here in Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill or Raleigh, NC (we have clients in all those places) we have the solutions for you. All you have to do is give us a call and we will make it happen!