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IT and telecommunications

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Abstract

When planning a computer system, the goal should be to enable staff to access as much data and functionality as possible without the need to refer to paper copies of documents. Instant access to email, online resources and even radiographs and laboratory reports will streamline activities on a day to day basis, and should ideally be available from every terminal on the network. This chapter covers the components of the practice computer system, practice management systems, IT policies, the use of IT for marketing, electronic payments and telecommunication in the practice.

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Figures

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4.1 Category 5E shielded cable, showing outer sheath, foil shielding and four twisted ‘pairs’ of wires.
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4.2 Patch panel, server and hub.
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4.3 Some mobile devices allow radiographs to be viewed and/or access to the practice management system.
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4.7 Overview of selecting and installing a PMS.
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4.9 Client touch points. The practice should use multiple methods of communication with each client, and the PMS should enable them to do that with as little additional work as possible. In this diagram, grey arrows indicate communication with the client. The red lines indicate the need for electronic links. For example, any social media presence should contain links back to the practice website and ; and any letters posted should refer the reader to the website for more information, e.g. to encourage clients to sign up for the newsletter. The link between post and e-mail is there to encourage clients to consider e-mail delivery instead of, or as well as, physical letters for things such as reminders and appointment confirmations.
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4.11 An advanced telephone handset which shows extension activity via an LED light on the unit. This can be useful for locating staff, for direct dialling of extensions and for monitoring call volume in real time. The display at the top can indicate caller identification or location and can carry system messages, call time duration, etc. This model also has a speaker for paging and hands-free use.
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4.12 A PABX with a central control unit provides enhanced functionality to internal telephone systems. Battery back-up for power failure is essential.

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