ABA Tech Starter Guide
As a new ABA business owner it can be overwhelming to get your agency off the ground. You struggle on a daily basis with getting new clients, hiring RBT's and dealing with complex billing procedures. While technology can help with many of the aforementioned challenges – the myriad of choice can often be daunting.
I wrote this tech starter guide to help budding ABA business owners and experienced ones who want a set of proven technology that can act as a force multiplier to their agency.
Regardless of the type of software you're selecting to use – if you’re going to be storing any kind of protected health information – you need to make sure the solution you’re using is HIPAA compliant and that the vendor will sign a BAA.
Here are some are highly recommended software solutions for ABA business owners just starting out that I've split into several categories. If you need the TL;DR skip to the end of the guide.
- Office Suite
While Microsoft is certainly the 800 lb gorilla in this space I am quite partial to Google Suite (GSuite) for a number of reasons. GSuite has an interface that’s a lot easier to use and in general their documentation is much more facilitated to users who are new to managing users and groups.
Best of all if you allow your employees to use their own devices (BYOD) you can create a policy which restricts the types of apps they can use with their work profile.
If you do setup a BYOD program I highly recommend having a policy whereby if an employee loses their mobile device – you’ll issue a remote wipe to ensure no chance of PHI ever being put into the wrong hands.
If you do sign up for GSuite make sure you request a BAA from Google.
Another reason why I love GSuite is that it comes with Google Meet. Google Meet is a HIPAA compliant video/chat solution that you can use in your sessions. As an added bonus Google Meet also includes a conference bridge that people can dial into.
Honorary mentions go out to Skype for Business and VSee.
If you’re looking for a low cost, secure, easy to use laptop then look no further than a Chromebook. Google has put a tremendous amount of effort into making their Chromebooks secure by including features like full disk encryption and automatic security updates.
Chrome OS is designed to prevent malware from infecting your system. Best of all it fully integrates with GSuite so you can manage your employee laptops easily.
Once you start hiring employees sign up for Chrome OS Enterprise to restrict application installs (no one needs to be playing Candy Crush during work hours) and make sure all your laptops in the field are updated with the latest security patches.
My only issue with Chromebooks are that they typically have a 3 to 4 year security patch lifespan – which may not be an issue given that Chromebooks are typically within a $200-$400 price range. Many of them come with touchscreens so your laptop can double as a tablet as well.
As for a vendor – most of them offer the same bells and whistles. I’m partial to Lenovo’s because their laptops are well built and offer a much more professional aesthetic than other Chromebook vendors.
Hands down the best tablets that are out there are the ones made by Apple. If you can afford to buy iPads I highly recommend doing so. That said with a premium quality tablet comes a premium sticker price.
The alternative are Android tablets. Avoid tablets that come with a lot of bloatware on them like the ones made by Samsung or Huawei. I recommend the Lenovo Tab – they come with stock editions of Android so you’ll get a brisk experience using the device.
- GPS Navigation
Some of you might be wondering why this category of software is here especially with the advent of Google and Bing Maps. These are great consumer grade solutions but remember that an address is considered one of the 18 types of PHI.
Don’t take any chances of having your client addresses get exposed to the public domain. Use an offline mapping solution and leave Google and Bing Maps for trips to the beach.
- Security Training
Required training videos is something most people dread to have to watch. That said there’s a lot of important information to disseminate about best security practices and HIPAA compliance.
I recommend using a vendor like KnowBe4. Best of all they have a ton of free tools that let you test how security savvy your employees are.
If you want to save money and just want to train your employees on how to avoid malware attacks then consider PhishMe Free instead.
Whew – that was a lot of information to go over. Here’s a handy table summarizing everything I’ve talked about.
|Office Suite||Telehealth||Laptop||Tablets||Offline GPS Navigation||Security Training|
|Google Suite||Google Meet||Lenovo Chromebook||Apple iPad||Tomtom Go Mobile||KnowBe4|
|Office 365||Skype for Business||HP Chromebook||Lenovo Tab (Android)||Mapfactor GPS Navigation||PhishMe|
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