Servers in medical centres are a common aspect if IT support & maintenance. Here’s a tip for Healthcare IT Support.
Some use a PC which is configured to act as a server, other healthcare organisations would have implemented a professional business grade server to store their medical applications and finally, some use cloud based server which are essentially virtual servers.
At some stage in the business’s lifecycle, the network or IT environment begins to slow down, become slightly unreliable and you hear more and more frustrations from the staff.
The typical knee jerk reaction will always be to reinvest into a new server and replace the old one. This can be an expensive, complex and frustrating exercise if its not completed by a dedicated healthcare IT professional.
In this blog we wanted to share something a little different; some strategies which will make your network more reliable, increase the lifecycle of your server and finally, help you save your money.
Our hot tips are:
Monthly Server Maintenance
By far the easiest and most important task. The monthly server maintenance can be implemented by your IT provider (or if you are interested, email us and we will give you the steps on how to do it).
The monthly maintenance includes installing all the new server operating system updates, the clinical software updates, updating your antivirus and third party software.
Other tasks include checking your disk space and removing any temporary files, rebooting the server and finally, deleting any unnecessary files in the downloads or documents folder.
This activity will ensure that your server is up to date and the reboot will run all the required servers correctly.
Upgrade Your Firmware Every 6 Months
We highly recommend you engage an IT professional for this activity. According to the world’s leading technology vendors, over 90% of hardware reliability issues are due to the lack of updating the machine’s firmware.
Firmware is a software product which managed the hardware of your server and it effects the way it behaves. By upgrading the firmware of your server, you are installing the latest updates, fixes and patches which directly relate to your server.
Some benefits of firmware updates include a faster server, less over heating, less server lockups and most importantly, a longer lifecycle.
Add More RAM & Hard Disk Space
When you purchased your server it would’ve had little load on it. Your staff numbers were limited and back then it didn’t have to support new updates.
As your clinic grows and the network requirements become more, your server will begin to feel the load. Its memory is now at full capacity and its working as hard as possible.
By upgrading the RAM and hard disk space (if you are not sure how to do it, contact your IT provider OR US), you are essentially giving your server more resources to handle the extra load.
This upgrade usually costs about 15% the price of a new server and in turn, saving you more money and giving your network more firepower.
Manage Your Backups Correctly
Running a backup is one of the most memory heavy tasks a server can do. A backup can take up all the memory and CPU power. Our strategy is to always ensure that the backup of your server and clinical data is running outside business hours. This way you won’t feel the network on the server.
Implement The Right Configurations
A very open term I know however configuring the server in the right way does play a big part on how it behaves when processing data and ensuring that your clinic staff can access their medical applications.
A simple example would be implementing an Active Directory role (technical I know however this is important). If your server is setup as an active directory then it can manage and facilitate how the users access the data in a more efficient way.
Another recommendation would be to setup your server as DHCP and DNS. This way when you access your clinical applications (Medical Director, Genie, Best Practice etc..) then the network computers can quickly find the server and locate the clinical database.
Check The Firewall Settings
Most of the connection issues (speed, reliability) relate to 3 core aspects, the quality of the connection between the computer and the server, the way the server is configured and finally, the way the firewall is configured.
Depending on which firewall solution you have in place, it needs to be configured correctly so that it allows undisturbed access to the clinical applications from the clinic’s computer.
If the firewall is not configured correctly then you will notice that the network will be slow, so will the server and finally, so will the clinical applications.