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Essential Technologies for Psychologists


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Presentation at the 2013 Pennsylvania Psychological Association annual convention by Dr. Brad Norford. A survey in 2012 revealed that many psychologists do not use some of the basic technologies that would help to make their practices more electronically savvy and more electronically secure. This was part two of a three part presentation that also included presentations by Dr. Chris Royer and Dr. David Zehrung designed to present some of these technologies.

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Essential Technologies for Psychologists

  1. 1. Top 10 Techs for Psychologists Christopher Royer, Psy.D., David Zehrung, Ph.D., and Brad Norford, Ph.D. (Representing PPA’s Committee on Technology Implementation) 2013 PPA Annual Convention June 22, 2013 Dr. Norford Dr. Royer Dr. Zehrung Synced Cloud Storage Creating a Website Encryption Programs Electronic Calendars Apps for Psychologists Creating Video-Sharing Med Virtual Phone System Establishing a Blog Creating Podcasts Password Management .
  2. 2. Home computer Any computer anywhere by logging in through the websiteSmart phone Work computer Synced Cloud Storage Free Synced Storage on the Cloud
  3. 3. Four Popular Synced Cloud Storages Dropbox (2008 Start-up Company) Google Drive (Google) iCloud (Apple) SkyDrive (Microsoft)
  4. 4. What Makes Synced Cloud Storage Special? * Free (for lower volumes) * Reasonably Secure (but encryption needed to make it HIPPA compliant) * User friendly * Automatically syncs all similar files so that your data on all devices is up to date * You can access old versions of any file * You can easily share the file with any other person who has the service
  5. 5. How to Make Cloud Storage More Secure * 12 character reasonable password on each computer * Two-step verification (prevents anyone from accessing your account from another computer without having your cellphone to authenticate permission from you). * 14 character, unique, strong password on your cloud account * Encrypt sensitive files before uploading them to Dropbox
  6. 6. Electronic Calendars
  7. 7. Electronic Calendars * Free * Colors, special dates * Searchable * Flexible (more portable and customizable than paper schedulers) * Can be synced across all of your electronic devices * Use one that is fast/efficient * Not HIPPA compliant so careful with patient names * Popular examples: Google Calendar, iCal
  8. 8. Electronic Calendars
  9. 9. Virtual Phone System Talk to patientTalk to patient Ignore and let your recorded message on the virtual phone pick it up Ignore and let your recorded message on the virtual phone pick it up oror Landline phoneLandline phone Therapist’s personal cell phone Therapist’s personal cell phone PatientPatient Virtual phoneVirtual phone PsychologistPsychologist Psychologist A Psychologist A Psychologist BPsychologist B Psychologist C Psychologist C Desk phone Desk phone Fax Fax Personal/Work phone: Call patient back at any time through your business ID and billing Personal/Work phone: Call patient back at any time through your business ID and billing Listen later to a recording of patient’s message sent to your e-mail and a cell phone app Listen later to a recording of patient’s message sent to your e-mail and a cell phone app
  10. 10. Popular Virtual Phone Systems Ring Central Grasshopper Virtual PBX
  11. 11. Password Manager •Makes it feasible to have a different secure password for each website/account you have •Allows for one click log-in to websites and auto-fill of username & password •Allows for one click auto-fill of address and credit card info •Securely keeps track of all of your passwords •Contains sections for other essential secure information such as credit cards, password numbers, file combinations, social security numbers, healthcare numbers, serial numbers, car information, computer log-in numbers, etc •Encrypted on your computer hard drive with only you knowing the password •Can be shared in encrypted form through Dropbox to your other computers and your cell phone.
  12. 12. Popular Password Manager Systems 1Password LastPass Kaspersky KeePass
  13. 13. Password Manager
  14. 14. Password Manager
  15. 15. Password Manager
  16. 16. 10 PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE TODAY TO MAKE YOUR INTERNET EXPERIENCE MORE SECURE... * Caveat: The following information is comprised of common suggestions gathered from a variety of sources and from utilizing these programs. I am not am not an expert in electronic security so use this information as a guideline to your own research. Avoid the End!! Evil Hacker
  17. 17. 1. Firewall and Anti-virus software: Make certain that the firewall is enabled on each of your computers as they serve to block a wide range of intrusions. Use an easy to manage anti-virus program especially if you have a PC computer. (Firewall and anti-virus settings are both in the Security Section of your computer.) 2. Passwords for all of your devices: • Mobile phones and tablets: Without enabling the password anyone who finds your phone has access to your contacts, e-mail, secure apps, etc. Be sure not to use an obvious pattern (e.g., 4 corners) or simple set of digits (e.g., 1-2-3-4). Set the phone so that the password becomes necessary anytime your phone is inactive for more than a few minutes. If available it is a good idea to enable permanent deletion of all information on the phone if someone tries to log on 10 times unsuccessfully. • Computers: Enable a password of at least 12 characters meeting the criteria below. There are still ways around this password but without it anyone who gets hold of your computer has full access. 2. Flashdrives and external harddrives: If your devices have private/sensitive information on them consider purchasing ones that require a password to open. 3. Different online passwords: Use unique (different) passwords for each of your online accounts. A 12 character password using a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols or a 20+ letter phrase such as “everyoneshouldhaveapet” are rarely broken by even the most powerful computers today. There are free password generating programs to assist in coming up with strong, unique passwords. 10 Practical Steps for Greater Security
  18. 18. 5. Updates: They are annoying, but installing updates that get sent to your computer in a timely manner does much to foil viruses and the like. Hackers like to exploit the time period between when a fix is announced and users actually install it. 6. Managing passwords: Do not keep an unsecured file of all your passwords anywhere on your phone or on your computer. Similarly, if you print it out, best to keep it in a hidden spot and not lying next to your computer. If you want to keep a file on your computer then that document should be encrypted. Best of all, use a password manager program or a password keychain built into your computer. 7. E-mail is only partially secure. Exercise caution in what you send. Hackers use bots and other programs to search for social security, credit card numbers, account numbers, and words like “password.” Additionally, everyone occasionally sends e-mail to the wrong person or has an intended recipient forward it somewhere else. Faxes, phone calls, and text messages are secure ways to transmit information so any of the secure numbers listed above should be sent in this manner. Good news: Password protecting sensitive documents such as Excel sheets that you attach to e-mails remain secure even if the computer or e-mail is accessed by someone unintended. 4. Logging out: Log out of work computers, phone, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter if you leave them unattended. (Do you leave your keys and wallet lying around in public?) 8. Security questions: When sites ask for security questions to reset passwords do not keep reusing the same questions (e.g., Mother’s maiden name) or use questions that an astute hacker could locate in a search (e.g., name of your high school). 10 Practical Steps for Greater Security
  19. 19. 9. Remote data wipe: If your computer, tablet, or phone have the capability to have the contents made permanently inaccessible by you from another device/location this brings great peace of mind if your device is stolen or lost. All Apple products and some PC and Android products have this capability. Enable it and learn how to utilize it in advance in the event so that you need to use it in an emergency. 10. An excellent data back-up plan: Back up your computer confidently and securely. Taking the time to establish the following steps will keep your electronic treasures of photos, home movies, and all files safe from the occasional differing disasters of theft, fire, and harddrive crashes: a. Connect wirelessly to a harddrive that automatically backs up any changes to the complete contents of your computers every hour. (For Mac users, the Time Capsule is the product for this.) You can also connect any computer to an external hard drive that backs up changes automatically every night. b. Back up your files remotely on an easy-to-use, free, cloud based service like Dropbox. Dropbox can do photos too but there will be a cost if there are many photos. It is not an efficient back-up for movies. c. Periodically back up your photos on a flashdrive that you keep at a relative’s home, in a safe, or at a secure place at work in case your computer is lost or damaged. d. Periodically back up your movies, photos, and files on an external hard drive that you hide elsewhere in your house. Or, pay for secure cloud storage with a company such as Carbonite and upload a backup there. 10 Practical Steps for Greater Security