September 21st, 2020
Some people may think their internet is “high-speed” simply because they do not hear that grating dial-up sound anymore. While loading times have certainly gotten faster over the years, along with our growing impatience for slow internet, there is a chance that your internet package isn’t as advanced as it should be.
High-speed internet leads to faster upload and download times, the ability to use multiple devices, the possibility of medical innovations, and a potentially positive financial impact on your practice. This is why our team strongly suggests you consider reviewing and updating your internet package, at least annually.
This change will make it easier for us to protect your data and ensure your devices are running properly. This way, you can focus on what matters most – your patients – rather than a frustrating loading screen or potential system failures.
#1: Faster Loading Times
First and foremost, what is considered high-speed internet?
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a broadband internet connection has a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps. This is the nationwide standard that you can choose to meet or exceed.
TechTerms describes Mbps as a way to measure the transfer of data. The term stands for “megabits per second.” If your internet connection allows for 25 Mbps, that is the maximum speed in which you can download data to your computer. And 3 Mbps would be the maximum speed that you could upload local data to the Cloud for alternate access.
At Medix, we believe that an upload speed of 5 Mbps should be the minimum. A 60 Mbps download speed is usually paired with it, which is more than sufficient to meet FCC standards. In our opinion, these rates or higher can be considered “high-speed.” But the more Mbps the better!
In 3 Reasons Why Data Backups Are Important, we spoke about why you should be backing up your data in the event of a natural disaster or cyber-attack. A higher upload speed (at or above 5 Mbps) is critical for performing these data backups successfully.
When upload speeds are insufficient, it can delay the amount of data that we are able to safely backup nightly. An upload speed of at least 5 Mbps is critical to the reliability of these nightly data backups. Offices often use other Cloud services to store their files such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. These services are also dependent on upload speed.
You can also take the amount of data you have into consideration. If there is only a small amount of data for your IT provider to backup, then your practice may be able to get away with having a lower upload speed. For our bigger clients, however, crashes are bound to happen with slow upload speed.
In addition to backups, upload speed can affect other activities such as sending an email with large attachments or using your webcam for a meeting. If you have ever seen a choppy webcam connection, then it is mostly likely a result of a slow download/upload speed.
90% of our clients have their patient files stored locally on a server in their office, so downloading documents is not a typical problem that practices face. The 10% or so that access documents online, or perhaps have servers hosted in the Cloud, could definitely be affected by slow download speeds if they choose to move large files back to local storage.
Most offices stream digital media or have VoIP phones that use the internet. If the internet speed is not powerful enough for these two things, then your connection will start to suffer. Your Netflix show may buffer if your phones are constantly ringing off the hook. Too much streaming can then cause your other internet usage to be bogged down or much slower than normal.
Faster loading times have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency, resulting in your employees finishing tasks quicker. A better signal allows for the ability to communicate with clients easier, whether over the phone or through email. Staff won’t be staring at a loading screen or losing valuable time that could otherwise be spent focusing on patient care. Above all, slow internet is frustrating. Employees shouldn’t have the added stress of slow internet, especially when that frustration can be easily noticed by your patients.
#2: Multiple Devices
Take a look around your practice: How many devices do you have?
With the break room TV, waiting room TV (both streaming Netflix or Hulu, possibly), VoIP phones, employee smartphones, and countless office computers, it can start to add up.
High-speed internet easily allows practices to host anywhere from 2 to 200 devices at each separate office. This way, you are able to stay connected and utilize your network to its full capacity.
This may include taking advantage of the eLearning opportunities at your disposal. Did you know that Medix issues Continuing Education (CE) credit? Our CE courses are a great way to grasp valuable information and action steps in an easy-to-understand format, you can check out our current calendar here. Streaming 1-3 hour lectures require a reliable connection that can only be brought to you by a high-speed internet connection.
Chances are, you need to be just as connected outside of the office as you are inside of it. Think about all of the devices you have in your home. Once leaving your practice for the day, you (and your family) might like to kick back, stream Netflix, read a book on your Kindle, and ask Alexa what the weather will be like tomorrow.
What is your internet connection like? Are you ever waiting for videos or webpages to load? Is Alexa constantly saying “I am having trouble connecting to the internet”?
You probably don’t have nearly as many devices as your practice does, so packages for home and business can be much different. However, as devices continue to get smarter, they will require a reliable internet connection that can withstand every new gadget you bring into your home.
#3: Reliable Remote Access
High-speed internet allows for the real-time transmission of medical imagery. Ultrasound, X-rays, and other diagnostic procedures can be performed remotely without the patient ever stepping foot in your office.
Remote monitoring and online consultations achieve the same level of social distancing we’ve all become so accustomed to lately. In the wake of COVID-19, and due to the possibility of another shutdown, this feature is a great alternative that your practice can offer to those who can’t be present due to personal or health reasons.
You can also allow your patients some peace of mind knowing that neighboring physicians and specialists are just a quick phone call or email away. Their guidance in emergency situations, when seconds definitely count, is just as important as the internet speed that connected them in the first place.
Source: Speed Matters (https://speedmatters.org/health_care/)
#4: Money Savings
According to Alex, one of our IT Systems Administrators, slow internet connections are costing dental practices thousands of dollars per year.
When your employees aren’t working as productively as they can be, it is costing your practice time and money. In a 2013 survey conducted by SanDisk, it was discovered that the average employee spends equivalent to one week per year waiting for their network to respond. If your practice has numerous employees sitting idle, you will find that this adds up to be a pretty substantial loss.
It may seem tedious to spend more in the short-term on a higher speed internet package, especially when you see no problem with your current network. However, the long term savings will be sure to surprise you. Your IT provider should assist you in picking the right package to best fit your practice.
As always, Medix is here as a resource for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.
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