When dealing with highly sensitive patient records security should be your number one concern. A do it yourself approach is not recommended. If one were to ask on the message board what the HIPAA requirements are for security, you would get answers ranging from “lock it down like area 51” to “just keep OpenEMR off the web.” So how would one choose?
There is a lot of information available on the HHS website that could guide someone who is committed; however it is hard wading through all the jargon that is on the HHS website about HIPAA, Covered Entity, and Business Associates.
There are a lot of technical things that can be done to secure OpenEMR which fall under the category of “Best Practices.” There are things that, depending on your situation, will be unique to your office. So there is no one size fits all. There needs to be a tailor made plan for each physician that installs OpenEMR. So it is best to consult with a specialist like ZH Healthcare.
Upgrading is a time to re-evaluate the server configuration being used to power the installation. The great thing about OpenEMR is that it takes very little over head to run the program. And because of its lightweight design, it can run on just about anything. But it is always wise to see if your current configuration is scalable. The nature of software is to grow in resource requirements over time. It is just the nature of the beast. OpenEMR 4.2.0 has a much bigger foot print and system requirement than OpenEMR 3.0. If you are running 4.2.0 on the same server as you did 3.0, you might want to take a look under the hood and make a capital investment in a newer server. Notice that I did not say new.
Just like with OpenEMR growing in resource requirements, the underlying programs that cause OpenEMR to work like PHP, Apache and MySQL all have their own system requirements as well. So they compound the server’s ability to deliver on the needs/demands of the business.
One of the common questions is “why upgrade? It looks the same. The OpenEMR project is not like commercial software products that make superficial and cosmetic changes just so they can sell you a newer version. .” The mostly volunteer programming community is always working to clear up bugs in the software. There are major and minor bug fixes that go out with each upgrade. Each release of OpenEMR comes with necessary changes, bug fixes, added features, and functionalities all of which are not usually that apparent.
Upgrading OpenEMR is relatively the same on both Linux and Windows systems. If there has not been any customization done by you to the program, this is a very simple procedure.
Log in and run the program as you would do in a normal day’s work flow. This will give you a good indication if the upgrade went well.
Remember, there is a backup of the old if anything is wrong. Now is the time to find the glitch in the upgrade before production day comes. If there are no errors found, congratulations!