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Remote Work Pros and Cons: How to Set Up Teamwork and Increase Productivity

Remote work pros and cons

Such a difficult and unexpected situation with COVID-19 forced many businesses to switch to remote sites. In this article, we will understand how much this has affected productivity and uptime and analyze the pros and cons of remote work.

Let’s think about whether this can become a new stage in the life of companies and how to properly organize the work of your employees.

The main types of remote work

The number of people choosing remote work is growing every year. This format of work attracts many people with its flexibility, convenience, and freedom.

There are pluses for business owners: you do not need to pay for office rent, you can focus on the results, and not on administrative matters and meetings. Let’s consider what types of remote work exist.

Trends in Remote Work Growth
  1. The first on the list is a distance worker.

Now, this is especially relevant when almost all companies are in quarantine. This type of work provides for keeping the work schedule and does not provide sufficient freedom. Basically, the team often arranges for general calls and you need to always be in touch with them.

Pros:

  • you enjoy working in a comfortable environment wherever you have internet access
  • you have a permanent job and a guaranteed income
  1. The second type is a freelancer.

Many people work freelance. They are independently looking for customers and offer a certain service. Many outsourcing companies also provide their services by working remotely.

Pros:

  • you can work anywhere in the world
  • you have a flexible schedule
  1. Final is your own remote business.

All business owners are currently in a difficult situation. Before quarantine, some were happy that their team worked remotely, and some were forced to send the entire team to a remote location. As outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular, all outsourcing companies now benefit.

Pros:

  • you work where and when you want
  • you do not obey anyone and profit from the work of your employees or product

Next, we’ll talk in more detail about the third type, when you are the owner of a business and you need to keep your team afloat in the current conditions. To begin with, outline all the pros and cons of working from home to understand what to prepare for and how to solve the problems that quarantine has prepared for us.

Pros of working remotely

Pros of working remotely
  1. Saving time and money

A huge amount of time and money is spent on daily trips to and from work. Scientists estimate that a person spends from 60 to 100 minutes a day on a one-way trip. Working from home, this time can be spent on yourself. For example, to read a book, go in for a blog, go in for sports, and so on. Also, your expenses will be significantly reduced without the need to pay for transport daily.

  1. Flexible working hours

If your company has a flexible work schedule, then at home, it can be adjusted as comfortably as possible for yourself. This reduces stress and increases employee productivity. A flexible schedule creates a comfortable environment for each employee, which also affects the situation in the team and relations with superiors.

  1. Increased employee productivity

At home, there are no factors such as chatty colleagues or extra tasks and issues that distract from work. You can work comfortably and intently, without wasting time on unnecessary things. Our team is already working remotely, while the performance is only increasing. Also, often there is an initiative from the employees themselves to increase working hours to improve the work process.

  1. Much less sick leave 

We are all human and are sometimes sick, but when working from home, you don’t need to take a day off so as not to infect other employees. You can be treated and be in comfort and warmth while working.

  1. Ability to hire a professional

To find a good employee, a professional in his field, so that he gets a salary, the location of the office, and working conditions is a very difficult task. If you can work from home, you can speed up the search process a lot since you can work with someone from the other side of the country.

Cons of working from home

Cons of working remotely
  1. Broken communication

Under quarantine, meetings are impossible. The only things that can save are different means of communication, such as Skype, Slack, Telegram, Zoom, and others. Sometimes live communication may not be enough to solve some important problems.

  1. Staff reduction

Quarantine brought along a crisis. Many companies had a choice: to leave less capable employees, but those with whom they had known for a long time and in close relations, or dismiss these employees and hire more experienced ones for the same salary. Since everyone is located remotely and outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular, you need to choose: good relationships or quality of work.

  1. Control problem

Without daily communication and reports, it is very difficult to establish a clear work of employees and keep everything under control. The boss needs to keep in touch with each employee daily, arrange meetings, and motivate employees.

How a leader can successfully manage a team remotely

We can highlight a few tips that will help executives set up employees and increase productivity.

Hold morning rallies

It will be more effective if group meetings are held. In this way, employees will feel part of the team. Such rallies last about 15 minutes. Discuss reports and plans for the day.

Set deadlines and clear tasks for the week

This is an important point since each employee will know their tasks and count the time for their implementation. This rule will help increase productivity and organize your time.

Implement daily reporting and task planning

Put this into the practice of your team when everyone works remotely and there is no full control. Make obligatory ritual reports at the beginning and end of the day so it is included in the system. Also, a clear plan for the day disciplines employees and brings clarity to the work.

Motivate employees

In working from home, problems in the family may appear and this will affect the employee’s condition and work. Keep in touch with each team member and, in which case, maintain and motivate using the coaching technique.

These tips will help you set up teamwork and increase team productivity.

Conclusions

Our world is very changeable and it is not easy for business in the conditions of crisis and quarantine. It is worthwhile to pull yourself together and try to maintain morale to only strengthen yourself and your team.

Effective work requires efforts from both the boss and subordinates. To establish all processes, control and motivation are very important. If the team has a corporate spirit, then it has a much greater chance of surviving and becoming even better in these difficult times.

Analyzing the situation of our company, we can say that due to the correct approach and compliance with these rules, productivity has increased and the corporate spirit has risen. This gives us points to work and try harder to make our customers happy with the result.

How an Integrated EHR and Medical Billing System Can Better Medical Practices

At the moment, when the whole world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the EHR and the Medical Billing System can play a very important role in the healthcare field. They help to track and report any problems much more accurately and faster than the paper system.

In this article, you will understand the importance of an electronic health record (EHR) and a medical billing system for your business, what tasks they solve and how they can facilitate your medical practice.

Medical billing can relieve you of the tasks of processing and managing claims, processing payments and generating revenue. A billing system is engaged in the correct coding of claims, their tracking, and subsequent actions.

It’s very difficult and energy-consuming to independently organize fast and clear billing work. A billing system with EHR software can help. Probably everyone knows that EHR is now integrated into almost every medical institution and without this, the processes in hospitals slow down noticeably. 

An annual review of the EHR field showed that 90 percent of managers believe that integrating electronic medical records, revenue cycle management, and claims processing can significantly increase both the productivity, quality and profit of a medical institution.

How to Quickly Build an EHR System for Healthcare

If you want to quickly implement EHR in your business, then the surest way is to use a ready-made application. But the problem is that not every ready-made program of electronic medical records can become effective specifically for your business.

The strange thing is that when implementing the system, the opinion and need of doctors is ignored. At the same time, 40 percent of doctors complain about the design and compatibility of EHR. In the first stages, entrust this to experienced professionals who will help you configure the application correctly.

You can help with the step-by-step setup of an application that meets your specific needs, changing the interface, creating templates of various specialties, archiving images, managing billing and a portal for patients and much more.

How to Build Your Own EHR System

If you need full and constant control over the functions of EHR, then it is better to develop your own application. Here, you can scale the system with business growth.

The big plus is that you do not need to pay license fees, you are protected from changes in the EHR system and are not limited in access to “one supplier.”

Why Do Healthcare Providers Design Their EHR System:

  • Sale of license and subscription-based access for medical business owners
  • The transition from paper medical documents to electronic. An individual system that can be expanded, improved with business growth
  • Frustration with the practice of other EHR systems
  • The need to expand an existing system and the necessary functions

In any case, the introduction of a billing system and EHR will give a big breakthrough to your business, protect it and save a sufficient amount of funding.

illing-system-with-EHR

Let’s look at the useful innovations that EHR and Billing System can bring to your business.

Medical Cartography

The EHR system collects the necessary information about the patient: condition, treatment, care, etc. Important addition is that the system draws up schedules and saves detailed patient documentation. This is useful to the medical institution during an audit to fix damages. Health workers can save time on scheduling and typing and devote this time to treating patients.

Medical History

The system compiles a detailed patient history after the patient visits the doctor. It includes the history of medication, tests, examinations, surgeries, habits, data on possible allergies or reactions of the body, and much more. Information updates occur regularly, which provides doctors with accurate and up-to-date patient information.

Communication With Pharmacies

This application function saves orders and prescriptions for medicines in the patient card. This greatly facilitates going to the pharmacy and reduces possible errors. The doctor can add the medication and dosages to the patient’s card and send the list directly to the pharmacy immediately after the session. The system immediately checks the preparations for compatibility and patient response based on his analyses and data (height, weight, allergies, etc.).

Information Exchange

To increase the efficiency of medical institutions, the EHR system exchanges patient data with other modules of the system. Doctors no longer must enter important information several times into forms, such as demographic data, indicators of vital functions (temperature, pressure, heart rate). The system will fill out these forms automatically, and integration with the billing system will help to avoid many errors.

PHI copy

The system saves information in formats suitable for printing, such as PDF. This allows you to quickly send a copy of personal information and charts to the patient. According to HIPAA, a patient can request a copy of the medical information (with some details).

Doctor’s speech recording

The system allows adding a doctor’s voice recording with notes about the patient, instead of typing. These data are collected into the EHR system and can later be corrected by the same doctor. This will help medical staff significantly reduce time and pay more attention to patients.

EHR voice recognition

This is a very useful function of the system because with the help of it you can significantly increase work efficiency and ease the tasks of doctors. The system will allow you to quickly enter patient data using voice, even during the examination.

The main tasks of this function are voice input of data, voice navigation inside the system, adding various dictionaries, adapting the system to the voice of a particular health worker. Thanks to this feature, you can reduce up to 30% of the time spent on paperwork and increase the satisfaction and comfort of health workers.

Patient Portal

The EHR system creates a HIPAA-compliant channel in which a healthcare organization publishes patient data with 24-hour access online. The patient is registered in the application and can view his medical data, as well as a recent visit to the doctor, his discharge, lists of medication, etc.

An interesting feature of the portal is that patients can make an appointment with the doctor without leaving home and without using the telephone systems of the hospital. It is also possible to view the location of each doctor, work schedule and types of checks.

The patient receives a notification by e-mail, text message, or push-notification. Sometimes, a notification will inform you to do some tests before an appointment.

A very important function of the portal is the ability to download personal patient data from a smartphone, fitness tracker or medical device for better diagnosis and treatment.

Also, patients can pay for medical services through the portal, which will make medical practice transparent and improve the quality of customer service.

What The Cost of Implementing an EHR System In a Medical Business Is

Have analyzed the research in EHR, we can conclude that implementing the system will cost approximately $162,000, and $85,000 will be spent on servicing the first year. With the good implementation and operation of your medical institution, you can cover the costs in 2-3 years. After that, the income of one employee will be approximately $23,000 in net profit. 

You should not rely on precisely these amounts because they are approximate and many factors can affect them. Also, there will be some costs, such as buying a license to host EHR on your servers. If you want to use a local model, you need powerful servers, data backup forms, storage, and more.

One common option is the cloud model. Your data is stored on the servers of the provider and you can use it via the internet. Here you will need to pay a regular monthly fee, which you pay every year or month. Sometimes with large growth of employees, a higher fee will be required.

Conclusions

Summarizing everything, we can say that with integrating the EHR  and the billing system in medical institutions, you can significantly reduce costs, increase the comfort and satisfaction of patients and health workers, and also optimize time and work.

Having successfully integrated the EHR system into your business, you will completely forget about paperwork. The practices of your health workers and patients will improve significantly. The main task of implementing EHR is to calculate costs and find a good specialist. 

When the process is completed without failures, a question will surely arise, “Why did not I use this system much earlier?” EHR system and billing is the future of all medical institutions and is definitely the best solution for your business.

How The Coronavirus Will Change The World

Coronavirus crisis

We all know that crises come to our life. I was afraid of that. I knew that it would change everything. The black swan was coronavirus. What do I feel now? I am scared and it is cool. 

I’m sure that our main fears give us the ability to change the world and improve our businesses. We all need energy to change the world. It’s high time to take new opportunities.

Do you feel scared in the empty office? I do. Even though I’ve been working in outsourcing for more than 15 years I’m used to being with my team in the office. It is psychologically hard to imagine that all the people who you see 5 times a week work remotely.

One of the most popular reasons why people do not work with outsourcing was that they want to have a person in their office. It is easy psychologically to control a person. 

You can see the reactions of your employee, talk directly to him. In this way, you get 70% of not verbal information. In remote work, you can’t do it. Video calls are better but it is not enough. 

What Should You Do To Keep The Business Going On

  1. The first thing is to trust your team. If you trust a person it is harder for him to work not 100%. 
  2. Set common goals. All my developers know that the result of the task can lead not only to our success but also to the success of the client. And this is exactly what we always strive for. 
  3. Remove micromanagement. The army can provide good soldiers. But they will always have borders in their mind. We need people who will create great solutions, not the typical ones. 
  4. Use Agile for the global picture. In this case, you always see the snapshot of progress on the board. You can see who is working on the task and at the end of the iteration, you can see the final result. After some time you can see the performance and you can play with velocity. 

Let’s look at the challenges that we have in this crisis: 

  • Remote work is a reality
  • More likely that it won’t finish soon if you check official German (Angela Merkel) or British officials
  • Price matters
  • Some employees will be let go
  • Many businesses will now have to deal with the loss of customers, searches and hiring employees so as not to lose everything.

What can be changed:

  • Find the best guys who can work remotely 
  • Be more flexible. You don’t have time to hire a person in 3 months
  • The less you spend the less risk you have
  • It is a good time to replace the guys who do not fit perfectly
  • Find new customers. Now we can not afford to spend a lot of time on staff recruitment.

What is good in any crisis? Possibilities. At this time you need to be able to change everything. Be more flexible. Find the ability to change in order to survive.

The first thing that I started to do when I saw the crisis was to cut spending. Now I hope that our client won’t cut spending on us or our services. Will it work if everybody does it? 

Challenges give us a choice accept them, change or die. It’s very difficult to fire those with whom you have been working for a long time because many of them are good people.

But nowadays it is time to replace guys who are overpriced. Some of them get their salary not because they are the best. Just because we had a lack of developers.  

In time of crisis, they can be replaced by more professional guys. They all work remotely.  We can’t pay for not the best services. If everyone works remotely why should we pay more? 

Remote work gives us the ability to save money and makes us more flexible when facing challenges. And this is the only way you can get out of this crisis. 

Adapt or Die.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting a Business Sphere

The main topic at the beginning of 2020 was the new coronavirus infection COVID-19. The virus has put the global economy on the brink of crisis, and it may be the most serious in a century. 

Hopes for a quick recovery of the planet are melting every day, and the bill for treatment is growing. The virus has already cost the world tens of billions of dollars, and this is just the beginning.

The impending economic downturn may prove more destructive for the well-being of the world’s population than the financial collapse of a decade ago because this time the problems are wider and deeper.

Businesses are already raising the alarm. It is clear because of the first cries for help that this is not only a loss of income. Millions of people will lose their jobs, thousands of companies will go bankrupt. 

The authorities are faced with a difficult choice: to support the business now or the unemployed later in conditions when there is less and less money in the treasury due to a reduction in tax revenues.

The economic crisis is already near. Businesses are going to simply close, one after another. All who can, gradually switch to remote work. It becomes an important task for employers to leave only those people who do their job well and say goodbye to the rest. 

When there is a choice between leaving the team as a whole, in which not all employees 100 percent do their job or hiring new, but good specialists with the same salary, the choice is obvious.

Therefore, it’s time to show the effectiveness and value for the company, because you may be the one who will have to survive in these difficult times without work, and look for something new in a hasty manner. 

Adapt or die.

How to Choose the Right Billing System for Your SaaS Business

The billing system not only keeps the customer’s balance and account but also is deeply integrated into a business. It provides traffic control, manages the procedure for providing access to services, provides the client with a report on expenses in different sections – for a month, for a year, or from the time of the last payment.

Today we’ll talk about how to manage the process of accepting money and what you need to pay attention to when choosing a billing system to avoid problems and possible losses.

Why a Billing System is Important for My Business

Billing systems can be very useful for your Saas business that conducts electronic business operations. This can make the billing process easier, which will help you increase your company’s revenue.

At the same time, you should choose the right billing system carefully, because different products have both pros and cons. If you choose a billing system that is not very suitable for your business, you can lose time and money.

What Features Should The Right Billing System Have

Under its purpose, the billing system contains data the disclosure, loss or distortion of which could cause you irreparable damage or your customers. Therefore, the billing system should provide:

  • protection against access to data by unauthorized users
  • protection against intentional distortion or access to data by dishonest employees of the operator using low-level tools
  • logging of all “important” user actions performed using standard billing system tools. Moreover, “important” are all actions related to entering or changing data, as well as viewing certain types of data, for example, credit card numbers
  • built-in data integrity control
  • archiving and data recovery tools.

What Approaches for Choosing a Billing System

The first approach is that you develop the billing system yourself. The undoubted advantage of this method is the ability to achieve full compliance with your needs and deep integration with other information systems and technical means of the network. 

Unfortunately, world statistics show that the costs of such a solution (taking into account subsequent maintenance and modification) are 2.5 to 5 times higher than the costs of purchasing and implementing a replicated solution.

The second approach requires the purchase of an integrated business operational support system from a single supplier. Alas, there are certain problems in this case. In its further development, the company becomes a hostage to the “main” provider of the information system, as the opportunity to use the best-in-class solutions is lost. Even in the case of local problems, the entire information system will have to be changed.

The third approach is to use the business component method to build an enterprise information system. This method is based on three main principles:

The business component method to build an enterprise information system

From our point of view, this method allows you to optimally combine the low cost of replicated systems and the need to meet the unique requirements of individual operators through custom components. 

At the same time, the functions of the “assembly” can be performed by both its information technology division and the company, the system integrator.

Should My Billing System Have an Integrator?

Choose not only billing but also an integrator. Developed companies usually choose a new billing system to replace the old one. The transfer of long-term information, integration, restructuring of business processes and training will take months, and during this time, millions of customers should not notice the difference in service. 

The transition to a new system on their own is fraught with a failure to meet deadlines, panic and a series of mistakes. Put this burden and responsibility for the project on the shoulders of the integrator.

If he already had an experience of such a transition, there is nothing else to do but adapt the already-debugged work scheme to your business. Thorough preparation for implementation is also a kind of billing platform, without which even an advanced program with a wide range of functions would be unsuitable for work.

What are the Fees For a Billing System 

For a billing system, fees come in several categories, all of which could have a large impact on your bottom line:

Conclusion

The choice of billing is an important stage in the life of any operator because this system will be a crucial part of the whole business. Therefore, the analysis of possible options should be approached responsibly. 

A variety of different aspects (not only cost) will affect your success with the chosen system, especially if your business scales over time.

How to Benefit from Microservices Architecture Implementation

The concept of ‘service-oriented architectures’ came into use in the IT sphere relatively recently – in the early 2010s. We can say that the notion of a microservice architecture appeared as a result of Agile product development methods becoming extremely popular, as well as DevOps specialists emerging globally.

The hypothetical breakdown of software into microservices was discussed in the global IT community back in the early 2000s. But developers started actually pushing this direction only in 2011, having announced the related solution at the Venice workshop. 

Currently, according to an independent survey, about 92% of respondents actively increase the number of microservices in their business solutions and about a third of respondents could see the direct benefits of such innovations in the first months of their implementation.

Along with that, however, about 50% of companies are still completely ignorant of what advantages this technological innovation can bring.

So let’s dive deeper into the topic of microservices architecture implementation, consider all the nuances and benefits of microservices as a whole, and figure out how to divide monolith into microservices

What is Microservices Architecture?

Microservice software architecture is based on many interconnected, but independently functioning software modules that can be easily replaced, removed, and reused in other projects. Each such module – a ‘microservice’ – has a specific, narrowly targeted task. At the same time, even if this module accesses the DBMS or server, it does it autonomously, without resorting to the help of third-party modules.

I.e., essentially, you can use small ‘bricks’, each of which has a unique purpose, to construct a bigger ‘building’ – the final software product.

Medium Microservices-Architectural Patterns

Such autonomous deployments are kind of ‘enhanced’ versions of the web service architecture that appeared somewhat earlier and where tasks for each of the services are more global. For example, email, calendar, translator, web search, etc. are web services governed by one large-scale piece of software – Google Chrome web browser. 

In turn, each of these web services can be further subdivided into microservices. And here the processor of user requests for authentication/authorization in the system is a typical example of a microservice.

Microservices Architecture Benefits

Generally speaking, the benefits of service-oriented architectures have become more tangible as the software itself becomes more complex. Thus, the microservice architecture allows you to:

  • add new components in the shortest possible time without digging into the source code of the entire software product;
  • easily solve the issue of fault tolerance in software products that are being upgraded or launched into the release;
  • create multipurpose components that can be used in multiple projects;
  • customize a software product without the risk of the entire system collapsing due to an error;
  • simplify the app architecture by making it symmetrical instead of hierarchical (which is typical for monolithic products) and forming peer-to-peer dependencies between components;
  • use any convenient for development tools, libraries, environments, and languages.

Why Use Microservices Architecture?

Given all of the above benefits, microservice architecture should seem like a kind of a utopian solution for any type of software. And yes, indeed, in view of the rather complicated structure of most modern applications, if you don’t divide it into separate modules, you may confuse both developers & users, waste human resources, and risk passing lots of errors. Basically, as such, software becomes easier to customize and scale with the cloud.

Nevertheless, there are cases when the abuse of breaking software into pieces results in performance issues, which makes many developers still settle for larger architectural services, the connections within which are built without involving network protocols.

Thus, since each of the blocks independently communicates with the server, if at some point users start to simultaneously interact with the software, they may simply collapse the server. In order to balance the positive and negative characteristics of microservices, in some cases, it makes sense to divide the software into larger components – web services that generate less stress load for the server.

It is also worth mentioning the lack of standardization for microservices: since developers no longer need to agree on formats, errors can occur when exchanging messages between any two microservices. This further complicates the debugging process and increases the risk of hard-to-fix bugs.

Microservices VS Monolithic software

Compared to monolithic software architecture, microservices almost always win. In the case of a ‘monoblock’ solution, all communications, data, and features exist in a tight connection with each other and work as one. And if you decide to upgrade your software, you will automatically change other components as well, which can be cumbersome in complex projects. For another thing, monolithic software isn’t really efficient in terms of fault tolerance because if some of the code blocks gets messed up, the whole system will crash.

On the other hand, not all initially monolithic software can be divided into microservices. There still may be components that, from a logical point of view, should function autonomously, but are interdependent in practice. In this case, weigh how much it will cost you to rewrite them from scratch.

How to split a Monolith into Microservices

And now, let’s talk about breaking a monolith into microservices. Each case of this matter is unique, but we can still give some basic recommendations.

Building software in microservices

Basically, you will have to focus on a single yet not so easy task – to eliminate dependencies between software components. For starters, simply write down what tasks your software performs, divide them into subtasks, and so on, until these subtasks become completely primitive so that they can fit into one simple if-else construct, loop or switch.

As a rule, the analysis of functionality begins on the front end. At the same time, you will need to think about how to divide the data so that access to it is not too frequent and it doesn’t slow down the performance. Here, your goal is to analyze and break up the subtasks ‘vertically’, separating the functionality from the data and redirecting everything related to the interface to the appropriate APIs. 

Additionally, you will have to highlight the software parts that will most likely be subject to change in the future – they will also need to be structured as detailed as possible so as not to “crush” the newly remade software in a new way each time.

All in all, get ready to do some serious code refactoring. In many cases, responsible developers who truly care about the outcome of their work suggest rewriting monolithic software from scratch, based on a prepared microservice architecture, making the process cheaper and faster.

Summary

As you can see, creating a microservices platform from scratch is significantly easier than fully redesigning a monolithic application. On the other hand, both options are quite feasible tasks, especially for professionals like us. 

Contact us to discuss the details of your project and experience the effectiveness of your business solution granted by true experts yourself.

How IoT Sensors Can Streamline Business Processes

In recent years, the Internet of Things allowed discovering new possibilities in different areas of business. New developments are changing work cycles of production, healthcare, sales, customer service, and communication within organizations. If the company management does not keep pace with the abrupt changes in the world of technology, they risk falling behind.

Experts say that IoT systems already have a serious impact on the business, regardless of the field of activity. Fortune Business Insights predicts that by 2026, the installed base of IoT devices will exceed 1 billion pieces. This market is developing at a tremendous speed and venture investors are paying lots of attention to IoT projects. Such devices are able to change the approaches to doing business globally; they facilitate many processes and therefore affect the entire production cycles.

Making Sense of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interacting devices, including simpler equipment, such as sensors and detectors that allows collecting various data. Such devices can collect, store, and analyze important information without direct human intervention. Further, this data can be processed and analyzed to discover certain trends and make predictions. IoT created a base for such concepts as smart manufacturing, smart home, and smart city.

The competitiveness of a business grows thanks to the employment of innovations. Using modern computer devices, not only can you reduce the cost of technical equipment and repairs but also control the consumption of resources. In particular, the commercial sector is quite interested in IoT solutions. For example, in agriculture, the introduction of IoT devices can improve the productivity of the land by up to 500 times. Is there any agricultural company that would ignore the possibility of such an achievement?

How IoT is changing businesses?

The idea of wireless data transmission is nothing new. For the last sixty years, satellites have been in Earth orbit, providing us with useful information from space. For the industrial sector, M2M interfaces were a huge breakthrough but it is already over 20 years old. 

The full implementation of IoT in the commercial sector has long been hindered by the lack of affordable storage data. However, in the last decades, this problem was overcome and powerful cloud platforms appeared that are able to store and process huge amounts of information.

Thus, every year, the Internet of Things becomes more and more accessible at several levels, to both ordinary consumers and large manufacturing companies. For instance, 90% of senior executives in telecom, media, and technology consider the growth of the IoT market to be crucial for their business.

Industries that use IoT the most actively

Manufacturing companies are the ones that seek IoT technologies the most. In this area, the application of innovation has yielded quick results in several directions:

  • Optimization of complex production processes;
  • Monitoring of technical equipment’s condition;
  • Control over the industrial machines’ usage correctness;
  • Management of workplace safety;
  • Energy-saving.

Large corporations always strive to increase productivity and reduce downtime. Sensors, built into various equipment and related software allow tracking usage details over longer time spans. It is very convenient in monitoring the reliability and quality of products. In particular, IoT’s innovative capabilities help to analyze the driving experience, which became a godsend for the transportation industry.

With the help of IoT, you can secure any institution. After all, the correct disposition of sensors devices over a compartment would allow predicting and eliminating most of the health and property damage risks. Companies have invested in corporate security for years. Now, most dangerous situations can be forecasted using technology. Whether it is a factory machine, a truck cabin or a doctor’s office – IoT sensors can improve workplace qualitatively.

Another notable sphere for IoT implementation in healthcare. Internet of Medical Things develops quickly. Medicine is particularly sensitive to technological breakthroughs. On the one hand, they greatly facilitate the work of personnel, and on the other, they bear an increased risk due to a direct relation to human health. Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue with the fact that innovative equipment significantly increases the working capacity of medical personnel. Indeed, today, experts have developed many diverse medical devices that measure pulse, heart rate, blood sugar, and allow responding quickly to tiniest changes in any indicators.

IoT Sensors Types

Modern equipment developers did a good job and today, with the help of sensors, almost any physical quantity can be measured. The market is saturated with a wide variety of sensors. There is single-component hardware, the most common example being a photosensitive diode, and there are more complex modules with integrated microcontrollers. The majority of measuring devices are installed in the workplace for safety. After all, any company is worried about not only a high level of productivity but also the protection of its employees. Using high-tech solutions, you can protect employees from unpleasant situations such as failure of a working tool or harmful chemical leak.

Sensors can determine the level of illumination, ambient temperature, noise, pressure, position in space, changes in height, distance, or speed, as well as the presence of gases in the air, etc.

Sensors capable of recognizing different objects, such as radars, image processing devices, sonars, photon or ultrasound measurers, are considered to be innovations of recent years. Developers in this field have achieved significant results and the choice of such devices indicates the high demand for the IoT industry.

Sensor type list

Besides digital components, there are also analog (mechanical) sensors. These are characterized by the highest possible accuracy and wide measuring ranges. In the digital IoT ecosystem, data from sensors of analog type is digitized before being submitted for further analysis. In turn, digital sensors are determined by two states – zero or one, on or off, the door is open or closed, etc.

How to Use Sensors in IoT

Sensors are the main elements of IoT that collect the necessary information in real-time. Measuring devices are installed at specific subjects, such as cars, machines, buildings, etc. Data from sensors is sent over the network to the processing device for collection and analysis. Thus, the handlers receive information about the context of the subject in dynamics, while modern analytic methods provide guidance for optimizing existing processes.

Turning Signals into Big Data

Sensors and other IoT equipment are connected to processing hardware – microcontrollers, servers – in order to assimilate the collected data and carry out the necessary analytics. There are devices that can be connected directly but most connect over gateways. Gateways allow connecting traffic from long-distance IoT networks to wide area networks with greater bandwidth.

IoT gateways are usually equipped with more potent power sources and more impressive computing resources than the mentioned end nodes. Gateway-based edge applications can even conduct some degree of preliminary analytics of data received from cloud and endpoint sensors. A typical node assumes long-term independent operation, usually thanks to powerful battery and/or solar panel.

The efficiency of traffic is increased by the presence of threshold triggers in gateways, during the transfer of collected information to central cloud servers. The diverse capabilities of wireless technologies provide high-quality interaction of gateways with cloud services and end nodes.

The market today presents a number of interesting radio interfaces with a variety of capabilities and technical specifications. So the consumer can easily match the delay time or bandwidth requirements of specific software.

IoT Business Security

The rapid development of the industrial Internet of Things in the manufacturing sector produced a lot of vulnerabilities. Frost & Sullivan’s security research of 2018 details a number of attack vectors and possible resulting losses.

Given the serious consequences of such misdeeds, experts have to take additional safety measures when creating IoT systems. According to surveys, 90% of developers believe that most modern IoT products are not equipped with sufficient security features.

Thus, at the end of 2018, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approached the issue of safety from the regulatory side and issued the standard ISO/TR 22100-4:2018 standard, “Safety of machinery – Relationship with ISO 12100 – Part 4: Guidance to machinery manufacturers for consideration of related IT-security (cyber security) aspects”. This document describes all the due considerations to software development, including firmware and apps for IoT hardware.

Conclusion

Today, the ability to control house appliances over the net is nothing new. Modern manufacture automation systems can predict the equipment faults and request maintenance in advance. In security systems, devices such as a motion sensor or a carbon monoxide indicator are quite customary.

All these technologies are designed to protect human life and make it more comfortable. If we talk about business, the leadership of large companies has long accepted the IoT technologies. Such industries as medicine, retail, agriculture, logistics, already have a high IoT adoption rate.

Business is changing, you need to constantly keep abreast and monitor innovations. After all, with the right approach, good organization, and attention to the security details, IoT technologies provide notable results.

Top JavaScript Frameworks in 2020: How to Make Your Choice

JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages ​​focused, among other things, on web development. On top of boasting dynamic typing, no need for pre-compilation, support of both prototype and object-oriented approaches, JS is versatile and great to study. 

That being said, new Javascript frameworks keep on appearing in the market from year to year. Surely, not all of them deserve our precious attention. That’s why we picked the five most advanced, practical, and convenient candidates for the proud title of the best JS framework in 2020.

Top Javascript Frameworks in 2020

The following 5 top Javascript frameworks are to be all the rage in 2020. That means you should try at least one of them if you are into the topic of JS development.

AngularJS

Probably the most renowned open-source JS framework, AngularJS is used for working on frontend and is based on the MVC architecture. It was created by the development team at mighty Google back in 2009 and is still actively used in some of their web services to this day.

We can safely say that AngularJS is a perfect solution for collaborative work in large teams. It allows you to separate DOM manipulations from business logic. Using two-way binding, this framework provides a one-to-one correspondence between components. This means that any changes to these components are instantly reflected in the View and vice versa. 

Also, AngularJS has everything you need to create classic web applications that interact with DBMS: form validation, routing, deep linking, component reuse, dependency injection, tools for interacting with the server (RESTful) data sources, tools for modular and end-to-end testing, etc.

On the flip side of things, Angular is pretty complex to learn. If you are planning to work with this coding language at all, you will have to master a specific extension of initial JS capabilities – TypeScript. It also delivers quite heavyweight end solutions – upon its creation, a new project packs up a load of system files by default.    

Ember.js

Ember.js is yet another relatively “young” JavaScript framework for developing client-side web applications. It is also based on the MVC architecture as well as on several advanced concepts that distinguish this one from the mass. 

Ember employs Babel (which is necessary for the support of ES2016), boasts compatibility with the advanced Testem and QTest testing environments, supports the Broccoli.js collector, deep links and the Handlebar template engine, provides interactive reloading of web pages, features two-way data binding and the Fastboot.js module (which provides fast rendering of the DOM on the server-side).

Ember.js is not hard to study, with tons of online tutorials and dedicated literature available online. In part due to its extensive accessibility, the framework was deemed a top solution in the niche in 2015, stamping out Angular and React (which we discuss below). Currently, Ember is employed by over 100 thousand websites. 

ReactJS

React is not a fully-featured framework, but a very popular open-source JavaScript library for developing user interfaces. React was created by the Facebook team in 2013 and today is actively being implemented in many projects of the company (for example, it lies in the core of the Instagram frontend). 

React, like its main rival Vue, is only a View component (which makes it lightweight) and is considered to be practically the best choice for creating interactive solutions as well as solutions with dynamically updated content.

By using a Virtual DOM instead of the “full-fledged” DOM, React allows creating very fast interfaces. All in all, the library is fun to learn, flexible due to featuring two-way data binding and pretty well integrated with other libraries and software tools.

Many developers consider React to be next to the most versatile web development tool out there. 

Vue.js

Vue.js is a relatively new JavaScript framework for app and website development created by Chinese developer Ewan Yu who had once worked on Angular but found it rather cumbersome eventually. The main idea here is that all the shortcomings inherent in the above framework were, if not eliminated, then at least minimized in Vue.

Thus, this framework has a simple, accessible interface, demonstrates excellent performance (which is largely due to the support of Virtual DOM), and is well-compatible with third-party libraries.

In essence, it is only a View component (not a “heavyweight” MVC framework like Angular), therefore, it requires additional tools to work on the UI, such as Redux.

Last but not least, we cannot but welcome the overall accessibility of mastering this tool. All you need are some JS, HTML, and CSS basics and you’re good to go with Vue.  

Previously, Vue.js was a bit frowned upon because of the absence of well-structured documentation. Up to date, however, this particular issue is not relevant. All in all, this sure is a great tool for working on small-scale projects. 

Meteor.js

Completing our top frameworks for web development Meteor is another popular JS framework that, in addition to creating a frontend, offers a bunch of tools for backend development, database management, and rendering business logic. Created back in 2012, it gradually turned into a full-stack platform for iOS Android and web development. Currently, it is based on more than 50 thousand sites around the world, and this number continues to grow rapidly.

Last but not least in our top list of frameworks for web development, Meteor is a JS framework in high demand that, apart from being good for frontend programming, offers numerous tools for backend development, database management, and business logic handling as well.

Created back in 2012, it has gradually turned into a full-stack platform for iOS Android and web development. Currently, more than 50 thousand websites are based on this framework and the number keeps growing. 

Meteor.js is a high-performance solution that covers all stages of the software development cycle and takes care of processes such as linking, file concatenation, etc. Moreover, it allows you to implement asynchronous server programming thanks to the built-in Fibers and is characterized by a perfectly designed abstraction for working with data through collections and calling server methods.

Developers mostly prefer this framework for convenient software deployment as well as ample opportunities for automatic optimization and recompilation of code.

Therefore, if you are looking for something universal and high-speed, you should take a look at this solution, which will allow you to create iOS, Android and web apps freely.

Which Framework Should You Choose?

It is kind of impossible to say straight which of the above frameworks for web development will be better for you. For example, Angular is suitable mainly for large projects, React provides unrivaled flexibility and compatibility while Vue is great for smaller teams working on simpler solutions and Ember can be compared with the old Angular that is easier to master.

Summary

To summarize our brief overview of tools for web development in 2020, as you can see, the choice of a particular framework will essentially depend on the scale of your project, the level of knowledge of programmers, as well as their requirements for flexibility and integration with third-party solutions. We hope that we helped you make the choice and see which particular frameworks promise to be the most useful for developers in 2020.

How to Get Your App (Software) HIPAA Certified

What is HIPAA in essence and how to make your software solution correspond with its regulations? Find out in the article.

Our world continues to be gradually consumed whole by digital technologies, with the mobile app development industry staying at its peak of demand. To achieve good client reach and more operational flexibility, every other company or business now gets a dedicated mobile application. And healthcare organizations aren’t an exception here. In order to operate with medical patient data, however, a set of requirements and legal regulations must be followed. 

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a regulatory document that defines the rules of exchanging and processing private data of medical nature. Its main purpose is to set the standards of patient medical data protection and govern the non-disclosure of privileged medical information as a whole. It was first introduced in 1996, in the USA with the goal of increasing the quality of portability and reporting in medical insurance. 

HIPAA regulations guarantee patients that all their personal info is treated in a proper manner. Types of such info include:

  • Data on a person’s state of health (both physical & mental);
  • History of visits to healthcare organizations & medical attendance as a whole;
  • Financial history related to medical affairs;
  • Patient’s personal data (documents, contact info, photos, any patient identifying info).

Ultimate HIPAA compliance allows providing crucial social norms – personal privacy and confidentiality. As such, the medical staff should be able to store private patient data in such a way that nobody can access it directly without the patient’s consent. The only exceptions in this case are an emergency situation, in which such data is required to save a human life, or a legal claim.    

What does HIPAA compliance mean for developers?

The field of medicine, like any other acting industry, calls for a thorough implementation of digital technologies. According to expert forecasts, the medical mobile app market’s total volume is expected to reach $11,2 million by 2025. Healthcare-oriented software development, however, has its nuances. The underlying aspect here is PHI or Protected Health Information. I.e., a special approach is required to protect any confidential info. 

There is a common conception that PHI governs strictly medical information, such as diagnosis, examination results, meds prescriptions, state of health readings, etc. The standard goes beyond that, however, requiring to protect patient photos, full name, email address, phone and insurance numbers, medical card number, and other similar data as well. Any app that collects and stores info of such kind falls under legal regulations. 

Data protection laws in the US

As it turned out, secret medical information may have a high demand among scammers. Thus, it may be used to acquire illegal meds or blackmail people. Based on the high risks of malicious use of private healthcare data, the US government introduced yet another protecting regulation – HITECH Act.  

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act came into effect in 2003 with the intention of enhancing the HIPAA law’s efficiency. Gradually, these legal standards covered partner companies that get access to PHI on behalf of medical establishments as well (e.g., insurance companies need personal patient data when providing claim analysis services).  

The rapid development of IT technologies, however, set the stage for new HIPAA compliant software. It allowed many organizations to start collecting data with the help of online services and keep databases on cloud-based platforms. Thus, the Omnibus Rules appeared in January 2013. This is a special HIPAA appendix that slightly coined the basic meaning of the ‘business partner’ notion. Now, subcontractors of regular business partners are also considered full-fledged partners working on behalf of a med establishment.   

PHI & software development

With the introduction of the Omnibus Rules, the legal responsibility addressed medicine app developers, cloud service providers, and outsourcing companies. Any partner company that has even highly-restricted access to any confidential data falls under the HIPAA regulations. Such companies are obliged to keep the data utterly secure.  

In order to properly settle contradictions between business partners and subcontractors, Business Associate Agreements or BAA are made. BAA is a standard HIPAA-based document (essentially, an agreement) that governs sufficient PHI protection. American organizations have high security policy demands. According to the statistics for 2018 alone, 158 healthcare data hacking incidents took place. That’s why HIPAA requirements must be strictly met by development companies. 

How to Become HIPAA Compliant

Not all companies that provide software solutions for med organizations are obliged to go through special certification. Only those whose products imply the processing of personal data must comply with the HIPAA regulations. However, there is no governmental structure that would grant respective certificates. There are only companies that conduct audits, coaching sessions, and practical courses.  

They help service providers to study all the regulations and approve HIPAA software compliance off the books. Such companies give all the necessary theoretical documentation according to their client’s status and specialization. A certificate is only granted after the completion of a complex yet structured test. This is quite a beneficial approach to things.  

Even after passing the test, though, only a particular service provider and nobody else is responsible for their in-house compliance management system. As we already mentioned, most US establishments require to sign Business Associates deals, so any improper handling of patient data might result in significant losses. As the statistics indicate, 70% of companies experience at least one incident of incorrect PHI handling a year. Make sure you make your app HIPAA certified if you are working on one for a healthcare client. 

HIPAA Compliant Features

Companies striving to become HIPAA compliant will have to introduce several new procedures in their regular workflow. Data recording becomes crucial. All the documentation must be registered and managed with utter precision and accuracy. 

The whole set of HIPAA regulations is subdivided into three major sections:

  1. Privacy Rule
  2. Security Rule
  3. Breach Notification Rule

The Privacy Rule delineates the regulations of personal privacy. This standard grants free access to personal medical records for patients. In such a manner, patients get to manage all the processes involving their data via a specialized care app with HIPAA compliance. 

The Security Rule defines a number of private digital data security and protection regulations. This section is further subdivided into: Technical, Physical, and Administrative Safeguards. These are very important points to adhere to when one’s work should involve HIPAA compliant cloud storage.

Technical Safeguards include:

  • Access management;
  • Management audit;
  • Organization authentication;
  • Data transfer security;
  • Wholesomeness of data.

Physical Safeguards include:

  • Facility Access management;
  • Workstation Use;
  • Workstation Security;
  • Device & Media management.

Administrative Safeguards include:

  • Security Management processes;
  • Security Officer assignment;
  • Staff Security (including HIPAA compliant emails for staff workers);
  • Data Access management;
  • Security Education;
  • Incident Prevention procedures;
  • Emergency case plan of actions;
  • Administrative Assessment;
  • Business Partner Deals & other agreements (including HIPAA compliant texting).

The Breach Notification Rule collects regulations on data leaks. This section obliges companies that fall under the Privacy and Security Rule to timely notify the government about any personal med data leaks. Companies must follow a set order and form of notification. An HIPAA breach may result in a huge fine. 

Implementing procedures that limit the numbers of staff that have direct access to patient info is a complex but necessary task for any company that wishes to go along with the HIPAA regulations. 

HIPAA compliant app development cost

Organizations that seek partners for the development of HIPAA compliant mobile applications are looking at quite a wide range of candidates. Currently, many development companies note that proper handling of personal documents and data has its strong sides and costs of acquiring HIPAA compliance are reasonable. 

Talking about the financial side of the question, the development of HIPAA compliant apps with a humble functionality intended for small-scale medical establishments may ultimately cost $4,000 – $12.000. Larger projects must take care of the full spectrum of requirements, implementing risk analysis and management, security education, policy development, flaws’ scanning, etc. Such HIPAA compliant apps may start at $50,000.

Summary

Private data protection implies a whole complex of actions directed at granting client security. Companies that are well-established in this aspect have always been at least one step ahead of their competitors. If a mobile app development company operates in the US market, it is simply obliged to become HIPAA compliant. This is a legal foundation that is beneficial both to med organizations and their clients.