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Local IT Firms


The problem is that they often don’t understand about how all of the varying types of software that modern surgeries use interact together. Classic example is the integration of multiple secure messaging clients into the practice’s systems.

Yes, you can simply get the messaging provider to install their application via remote access (they all seem to want to do that by default), but often the ‘vanilla’ installation doesn’t allow for things like headless servers.They require a user to be logged onto the machine for the downloads to work. They also don’t consider each other.

I’d normally recommend using a separate machine for downloads, and not use the main practice server for this task. An old Windows XP machine is a likely candidate. If it is doing only downloads and not much else, it doesn’t need to be super new or super fast. Send all of the downloads to a network share. You can also run a web server (perhaps even sharepoint) for Intranet usage, and a resource friendly mail server, and a proxy server for a complete internet solution. Some practices use some of the Linux variants to keep costs down.

Another issue, is that local forms won’t fully understand the needs of the practice when quoting for new servers or workstations.Not all clinical software needs for instance, a ‘paid for’ version of MS SQL Server to function, even in a large practice. Another example is that many clinical software products include letter writers or word processors, and therefore Microsoft Word or Excel is not going to be used by all users. Perhaps only one or two people in a practice need Microsoft Word and Excel. These are certainly valuable tools used in the correct context, but these tools are often wasted on busy clinicians. Each practice needs to consider their own workflow and procedures, rather that automatically purchasing expensive licences for ALL users because that’s what the IT firm recommend.

Quality planning, and appropriate spec’cing of a new server, may actually save tens of thousands of dollars on the server purchase price. I’ve seen it many times.

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