By Fred Henning 6.98

Internet: At present there are 68 PCs that have an ability to connect directly to the Internet. The user comments regarding the speed of access has been very favorable. I should caution that as more users are enabled there will be times when things slow down. You also need to remember some of the points in my past articles regarding why your perception of speed on the Internet varies. What you may think is our Internet connection being slow can be the result of many other factors.

Unfortunately we have found that the common abuses associated with Internet access are occurring. The main problems are individuals that 'go surfing' when they should be working and also those that are viewing inappropriate sites. Management will get a monthly report indicating which sites are being visited for each PC in their department as well as time spent on the Internet. In place is also a mechanism to pick out sites that may be considered inappropriate. Management will get a separate listing of which PCís are accessing sites that may be inappropriate. As usual, itís only a few that are responsible and we don't want the problem to grow.

Everyone needs to understand that the PC and Internet connection are made available as business tools. Their use is restricted by the policies and procedures of the Medical Center and the other ABI entities we serve. You do not have a right to privacy with respect to the use of these systems. In other words 'if you play you will pay'.

A form has been drafted for Managers to complete before any PC is connected to the Internet. We have the software to require unique login names and passwords for Internet access and have tested this function. If the problem continues forced login will be required on all PCs.

As most users look at the Internet as a way to gain information from the outside world there is also a potential for us to use the Internet as a communications path for those not connected directly to our internal network. While investigating the establishment of a methodology for secure, encrypted access from the Internet I have found that my schema is unique. Both the manufacturer of our Firewall system and one of the major accounting/consulting firms are interested in working with us to develop this concept.

To illustrate how critical the concept of true secure Internet communications is; HCFA has issued an order banning any transmission of data over the Internet that would be required be sent to them. In other words if any information, even something as innocuous as the length of stay for someone - without even associating it with a patient identifier - over the Internet would be considered a violation. Hopefully this will be resolved quickly because most healthcare software vendors are Web Enabling their systems in anticipation of more and more use of the Internet especially in an Enterprise environment.

Intranet: The development of an Intranet Web is well underway. Greg Magee has spent a considerable amount of time developing real time data base connectivity. At present we have an online telephone lookup function. Communications maintains the data base and the user views the data via the Web. The same is true for the Cafeteria Menu with Dietary maintaining the data base. Eli Sidwell developed the Codes & Safety Information on pages with some real neat graphics. We have the Mission & Values as well as secure access to custom reports. As those of you that 'surf' know; there are all kinds of 'Home Pages' / Sites but not many that have content that brigs you back over and over. Our goal is for you to want to use this site because access to useful and timely information is easy.

We hope to be able to demonstrate these functions at a Management Forum, gain some necessary feedback and schedule a 'live date' for the site. As mentioned before John Condon has a long list of possible uses for the Site and these need to be prioritized.