Data cabling for my office buildout

I’m not sure if it’s universal, but in my area, a general contractor does not offer data cabling for phone and internet.  Instead, I had to seek out an IT company independently to arrange for these services.  I ended up using a company that my contractor recommended.

I met with the salesperson, who I often find to be also the owner, at my empty office.  We went over my floorplan, discussing  my desired location and number of phone or internet ports.  Just like my electrical outlets, I also went buck wild with the data ports.  In the end, I will have an average of two multi-slot ports per exam room.  I want to have the option to convert any of my exam rooms into a diagnostic room. Since all my diagnostics will be fully integrated into my EMR, I will need an ethernet slot for each piece of equipment.  I’m also installing a data port in the laser room as well so that I will be able to connect a computer to display fluorescein angiograms if I decide to outfit an argon laser in the future.

Once again, it’s going to cost more to install an extra port after the fact, and I’d rather pay an extra $150 to 200 per port up front.  In total, I will be installing 17 or 18 data ports.  For the front desk, you’re going to need more ports than you think.  You’ll need enough for 1 or 2 phones, 1 or 2 computers,  a fax machine, and a credit card processor.  I’m also putting in a port in the waiting area so that patients wil be able to call in rides, referrals, and insurance companies.  Although, because of the sensitive nature of insurance information, I may have to install another phone in a more private location.  Either way, the infrastructure will be set up.

The cost for installing everything will be about $3,600.   I just had everything installed this past week, and I didn’t know that so much cabling was needed.  I think it was close to a mile in cables!  Make sure to have the IT person coordinate the installation with your general contractor so that the cabling can go in BEFORE the drywall goes up.

Howie’s addendum: I was able to find someone to do it for less than $150-200 per port, mine was about $80 per port, for $1300 total. It always pays to shop around (this was a referral from another ophthalmologist). Also, even if your drywall is in place, you can still get them to drop ports for you if you decide you need more equipment. These days credit card processing is often done through the internet rather than a separate port. Finally, I completely agree with getting a EHR for which the images are transferred from the machine to your server directly into your EHR at the click of a button. This makes your office so much more efficient.

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