Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Monday Technology Tip- Help My Outlook is Acting Up!!

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 05:00 PM

Microsoft OutlookOne of the most common questions I hear from students in our medical transcription course is how to trouble shoot Microsoft Outlook issues. Without a doubt, Outlook is one of the most effective tools for handling large amounts of email. The ability to sort, use a calendar, create task lists, and sync to mobile technology makes it an invaluable resource.

Med-Line does offer training in Microsoft Outlook and other current software packages in our medical transcription training, something that is missing in most medical transcription schools.

If your Outlook is running slow, you shut the PC off with the button while Outlook was open, or Outlook crashed, you most likely have a damaged Outlook file.  Microsoft makes a very useful program  to repair the Outlook file (has an extension of  .pst). You run the program, tell it the location, and it will check the file and alert you to any issues.

Make sure Outlook is closed or you will get an error message. If it is closed and you still get an error message, reboot and try again.

Finding scanpst.exe
This can be one of the hardest steps. Sometimes the search box (what you see at the bottom of the menu items when you click the Windows flag in the lower left) will find it if you type the full file name in. If that does not work, the normal location  is:

On 32-bit Windows (most desktops) or with 64-bit Outlook, using the default installation locations, scanpst.exe is located at  C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\scanpst.exe

On 64-bit Windows with 32-bit Outlook, scanpst.exe is at C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\scanpst.exe

Note: XX refers to a version number. It will be different depending on your Office version

Locating the PST file

Windows 7 or Vista:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Type or paste this shortcut in the scanpst dialog to jump to the location:

%localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows XP or Windows 2000:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Type or paste this shortcut in the scanpst dialog to jump to the location:

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Once you find the pst file, you click start. The program will run for a bit and let you know if there are no errors, minor inconsistencies, or errors. You simply tell the program to correct these errors and in a few seconds, it is fixed.

Start Outlook and you are back on track.

I run this program at least once a month just as part of my regular computer maintenance. I even made a shortcut on my desktop for it.

So give it a whirl today to see how healthy your Outlook file is.

If you find this tip useful, please share on Facebook and other media using the buttons at the top.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Will You Lose Your Internet Today?

Posted by Chad Sines on Sun, Jul 08, 2012 @ 11:29 PM

trapIt might be a little late now to tell people this, but the government is shutting down a malware protection server at 12:01 am on Monday. What would happen is the malware would change how your computer looked up sites on the Internet. This would cause you to be redirected to the malware site. The government had a server in place that would correct this issue. This is being shut down on Monday. 

You can check to see if you are in danger by visiting the following link- http://dns-ok.gov.au/  There was a US link, but it was not working at the time of this post. The link for more information and how to fix it if you are affected is located at http://www.dcwg.org/ 

This does not mean that you do not have any malware on your computer. It only check for DNS infections. Malwarebytes is a free anti-malware program. You can download it here.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Stop Hacking Yourself

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

oopsHow many times have we seen some weird IM or email from someone that had some scammy links inside it to buy pills, get porn, or whatever the new trend is? Ever wonder how that happens or how you “got hacked?” Would it surprise you that they did it of your own free will?

Often there is no hacking involved. The individual simply gave the offending party their username and password. This is most often from some third party software that offers cool images, emoticons, coupons, or something else. It can also be from websites that want to invite your friends and asks you to “log in” to your email.

Never, ever, ever give your email and password to anyone. Software programs do not need it. You can invite your own friends. Some respected sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and others might ask for it, but I still frown upon giving this information to anyone.

If you have ever done this, the fix is easy. Go to your email’s site and change your password. Even if you have never done it, chances are you have not changed your password in a long time, so why not take three minutes to increase your security. It sure beats having to explain to friends why you spammed them with links to porn sites.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Security for Medical Transcription from Home

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 02:12 PM

PC SecurityMost of us are doing medical transcription from home. This is the main reason many choose this career over others. Working remotely can offer a lot of freedom; however, there is a need to take steps to secure your systems. In this virtual environment, it is critical that we take reasonable precautions to protect our computers. We will discuss some FREE options that can provide the protection you will need.

Antivirus
If you are doing medical transcription from home, or anything from your computer, you must have antivirus. It is not an option. The potential danger for those without it is high. Below are some free options.

Firewall
One of the things which makes this industry so great is the ability to do medical transcription from home; however, it is also a potential security issue. Computers need to connect to legitimate systems to download course materials while in school or to receive and send transcription assignments from an employer. A firewall is a must to ensure only those who should be connecting to your computer have the ability to do so

  • Windows Firewall. This comes with Windows XP security pack and beyond. It is not a bad firewall, but there are better ones. Just be sure you do not turn this one off if it is your firewall of choice. Many disable it for some reason and never turn it back on.
  • Zone Alarm- A free firewall that is extremely popular and easy to use. 
  • Comodo

Spyware
Many antivirus or other security packages offer spyware options. That being said, there are some simple to use free options that will benefit you while you begin your career in medical transcription from home.


If you simply go through each of the three sections, choose, and install one of the options you will drastically reduce the likelihood of having an adverse encounter with something trying to mess with your computer. When something is simple AND free, there is really no excuse not to do it. 

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Technology and Medical Transcription Training

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, May 14, 2012 @ 03:18 PM

Medical transcription trainingTechnology makes the world go round. There is no denying that the ones with the most technology are most often the ones who are succeeding the most. Technology allows companies to produce more and a lower cost. For the practitioner, technology can do the same. Using text expanders efficiently, you can dramatically produce more lines with less typing. If you are not using it, then you are behind in the game and losing money. For other technology like software packages, you can do more work effectively the better you understand the software. 

As part of our medical transcription training program, Med-Line offers many technology webinars as well as a technology course designed to give students a significant edge on the competition. Sadly, mot MTs are very deficient when it comes to technology. Many medical transcription training programs only lightly cover technology which is only contributing to the problems. 

As a student of a medical transcription training program that highly values technology, you have access to resources most students from other programs do not. I cannot encourage you strongly enough Take advantage of every technology webinar available. Use it to learn software tools that, in all honesty, most MTs are very unfamiliar with. Knowing how to use Powerpoint to develop web presentations or Excel to develop production spreadsheets will set you ahead of the game. 

Visit the student webinar page of the website to see currently scheduled technology webinars and register today. If there are topics that interest you but you do not see in the webinar menu, send me an email at csines@medlineschool.com and I will see if we can get one created for you so you can learn all you can during your medical transcription training program.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Forwarders Beware

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

emailWhile not exactly a technology tip per se, it is one that people really need to know. Some people love to forward lots of stuff to people who honestly have no desire to receive it. Never, ever, ever forward random emails around to people on your contact list. People hate it with a burning passion and want to find you and break your computer when they get them. It makes you look unprofessional at best ultimately hurting your medical transcription career, and at worst, can cause people to block your correspondence. 

Things that are especially off limits of forwarding are jokes, reports of viruses (most are fake), anything political, anything of an adult nature, and anything that anyone could find offensive. These types of things are not appropriate for mass sharing ever. 

It is especially not acceptable to do so to work colleagues or your boss. Never use a company’s email account to send them either. People can mark the emails as spam which could result in your company’s email server being put on a black list as a spammer. Try explaining to your boss why their business emails could not get through because of your joke. Also try explaining to your boss why your client is upset about that joke about a current political figure they are proud supporters of. I can assure you that in both cases, you will find yourself in an unhappy position. 

There are things that are appropriate to forward. Latest industry news that is relevant is fair game to a list of people it will matter to. These shared tidbits are important for keeping current in your medical transcription career. I routinely forward ICD-10 news to instructors here. Forward major association news to those who you know would be interested but do not follow it themselves. Forward positive mentionings of your company. Everyone likes to see their company with positive exposure. Essentially you are forwarding purposeful news that is relevant to the receivers. Keep in mind that some people hate even this type of forwarding. 

If you are going to forward something that is relevant such as industry news, then be sure to take the extra junk out of the email. When you click forward, clean up the subject line to remove all the FW: More than one just screams “I am spamming you. Please hate me forever.” In the body of the email, remove all the past headers. Make the email look clean and professional. Not something that you just clicked forward and sent. 

If you keep this in mind and resist that urge to forward you will keep your friends and your professional reputation and be on your way to a bright medical transcription career.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Google

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

google headphonesLast week we mentioned Wikipedia and how it can benefit your transcription career. This week I wanted to mention Google. Google is awesome. There is just no way around it. Many will advise you to not use Google for information. In this day and age where there are so many authoritative resources online this makes no sense. Medicine is changing faster than book publishers can keep up with. You will not use random pages as authoritative, but you can use it to get information that you will then verify with an authoritative source.

Google is great for when you kinda can spell something but are off a bit. The search function will often “guess” the spelling which can help lead you in the right direction. Keep in mind that it is looking for pages with the word in it, so commonly misspelled words will pull up many versions of the word. Still, it can jog your memory so you can then look it up in the right place. 

There is no denying that Google is great for learning about new procedures, medications, and medical tools. This knowledge will benefit your transcription career. Often you can find a great deal of information on vendor’s sites or medical school sites. When I hear about a new device or medication, I like to Google it to see what is out there. It is for information to add to what I know, not to be placed in a medical document. 

So enjoy Google, but do not take anything you read as final, especially MT help sites, until you verify it from a real authoritative source. Do this and you will enjoy many continuing education opportunities throughout your transcription career.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Wikipedia

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Apr 09, 2012 @ 02:19 PM

wikipediaThis will be a very short tip, but hopefully that will make the point clearer. Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information. Ironically even doctoral candidates do not understand this.

While the information is often correct, it should not be treated as authoritative. Anyone can edit articles and clearly not everyone knows what they are talking about. It is definitely useful for supplemental information and to point you in the right direction, but always use an authoritative source to back up your work. What I do like it for is background information for something that is new. It can be a great source of information for many things that you want to add to your collective knowledge but realize its limitations. 

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- What is a RHIO?

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 01:38 PM

RHIOPerhaps you have not heard this term before, but hopefully you have. A RHIO (regional health information organization) is an organization that has many stakeholders who share a common interest in seeing that healthcare information is exchanged quickly and effectively. They are engaged in health information exchange (HIE). The goal is for information to come from one facility, go to the RHIO, and then be available to another facility that most likely is using a completely different system that the original facility. The information needs to come through in a way that is meaningful and useful. 

Here is a basic visual representation of a RHIO and how it works.

RHIO

There are three types of setups, the centralized, federated, and the hybrid. 
  • Centralized: Data is sent to a central collector of information on a regular basis. The data remains uniform and allows  for greatest interoperability. The downside is that scalability becomes a problem. The system is also more complex and more prone to becoming a data ownership. 
  • Federated (Record Locator Service) allows for fast retrieval of data. Instead of store the data, the system tells the user where it can get the data. Since the data is only pointed to and not stored, there are no ownership issues. There are significant issues with a lack of standardization, availability of the data, and how to maintain authorized access. 
  • The hybrid system seeks to bridge the two. Still in its infancy, the hybrid stores the data but the patient has the choice of who is to be storing the data. A record locator ability will direct to this data. 
So the big takeaway is that a RHIO is an organization that is meant to allow an efficient exchange of health information in a way that is meaningful and useful.  

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- HIPAA 5010

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 @ 02:22 PM

HIPAA 5010If you have not heard the term HIPAA5010, then do not fret. Most MTs have not, but it is a big deal. Simply put HIPAA5010 is a tech update on how financial transactions are handled, i.e. how information is sent from the facility to others. This is primarily an IT update and a very complicated one. What makes it serious is that facilities have to be compliant soon to be reimbursed after the deadline. It went into effect in January with compliance set for March. This date was changed because many were struggling to meet the deadline. 

A friend of mine in my doctoral program is the CIO (Chief Information Officer) for a large multinational healthcare agency that provides healthcare to individuals who cannot afford it. According to him this has been a constant struggle even with highly-trained IT officials working on it. If they do not get it right, they do not get reimbursed. That puts it into perspective. If large groups are struggling then many small physician practices could be as well although many of those have fewer IT demands.

There is a short read on it below. 

http://whatishipaa.org/hipaa-5010-definition.php

Topics: Technology Tip