In an age when virtually all talk about computers seems to revolve around cloud solutions, it may seem a little strange to hear someone ask you what you’re doing to maintain and upgrade your hardware infrastructure. But the truth is, making sure that computer hardware is up to the demands of today’s business environment is a key function of any vigilant healthcare IT department.
Let’s review some of the questions that should be asked to make sure this is happening.
When Are Servers Too Old?
The reason this is important has as much to do with security as system functionality and stability. Threats to the integrity of stored patient information is a major concern to organizations falling under the guidelines of HIPAA regulations, and thus something all healthcare IT professionals must constantly attend to.
Hackers seeking to breach the network security of hospitals and similar institutions are constantly changing methods. Anti-hacking software designers are continually issuing patches to existing applications to intercept newly discovered hacking techniques. However, if the hardware being used is too old, the most up-to-date security patches simply will no longer work.
Can Servers Simply Be Updated?
Many healthcare IT departments are able to save their organizations the cost of totally replacing aging IT hardware by employing virtualization techniques, updates, and basic ongoing maintenance. These methods can dramatically extend the life expectancy of a significant percentage of a facility’s hardware package. The work load is definitely higher for such service and maintenance approaches – but for organizations unable to afford the complete replacement of existing hardware, this is typically the best solution.
When Is a Sever Refresh Necessary?
Of course, security is not the only concern. Healthcare IT professionals must also attend to the basic demands of system efficiency and performance. And once system hardware has been tweaked and upgraded to a certain point, it is the job of these technicians to make the tough decisions as to whether or not the end-of-the-line has been reached on refreshing the system – and the time for new hardware has been reached.
Can Hardware Systems be Over-stressed?
Most healthcare IT departments will spend a great deal of energy getting the most performance possible out of each organization’s hardware components. But an equally important part of their job is determining when the point of highest usage density has been reached and the need for upgrade has arrived. Finding this out before a facility’s needs outpaces their capacity is important in preventing the resulting loss of production that comes with implementing such changes too late.
Are Licensing Issues Important?
As any organization’s computer network quietly works in the background, it is very easy to lose sight of whether or not the myriad of software applications and security patches integral to that system have all maintained their legal compliance and freed administrators from concern of possible costly litigation over usage violations.
Healthcare IT department’s attention to hardware maintenance must be accompanied by careful scrutiny of operating system licensing agreements and renewal issues so that the system itself is never compromised by non-compliance issues.
The bottom line here is that paying attention to the various issues impacting system hardware is fundamentally important to ensuring that a hospital or clinic has all of its mission critical applications available. Those applications depend upon this infrastructure in order to keep the organization operating smoothly.
Of course the alternative is to outsource your IT function as a way to alleviate the pain and burden of doing these maintenance activities. Netgain is a healthcare information technology provider helping physician practices & rural hospitals with their Healthcare IT needs.