Why Complex Remote-Access Systems Can Cause Problems for Practices

May 9, 2012

Remote access to a medical group’s server can be as much of a headache as a time saver when things go wrong, according to IT experts.

Telecommuting is a wonderful thing, having empowered countless practice administrators and physicians to work in the comfort of their own homes, rather than having to clock in extra hours from the office.

But remote access to a practice’s server can be as much of a headache as a time saver, especially at small practices where staff and physicians access records and do billing on nights and weekends, according to Stephen Bennett, vice president of infrastructure and managed services at Burlington, Mass.-based consulting firm Arcadia Solutions.

At the root of the problem: Practices are inclined to configure overly secure remote-access systems because they are concerned with HIPAA security penalties, as well as the bad press that goes along with such penalties. And when it comes to combating these risks, “people don’t review or understand what is already in place and start to layer on the security to be safe,” Bennett told Physicians Practice.

Although “there is a level of security and a level of integrity that needs to be maintained,” Bennett noted that “remote access is frequently over-configured, over sophisticated.”

While security is an important consideration, Bennett suggests practices take a closer look at “off-the-shelf solutions” such as LogMeIn, which provide “high levels of functionality” as well as simplicity. This way, practices can avoid some of the problems that come with overly sophisticated, one-of-a-kind remote-access systems.

“From a support perspective, a lot of the remote-access calls come at 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night from a physician who’s home over the weekend who doesn’t necessarily have multiple devices to troubleshoot,” said Bennett. “It’s very difficult to get support in most remote-access hours.”