Hardware Guide: Your Personal Computer and Equipment

Your office will use computers, printers, scanners and other peripherals to use PCC software and services.

PCC does not sell or maintain this equipment, but we can advise you on your purchases, and we will help you configure and setup your equipment to work with PCC software and your network.

Read the sections below to learn about recommended hardware and minimum requirements.

Contact PCC: No matter what new hardware you need to purchase, we encourage you to contact PCC’s Technical Solutions Team (1-800-722-1082, x2 or support@pcc.com) to discuss the model and sort out any installation issues. PCC has worked with hundreds of offices to design hardware solutions and our consultation is included in your PCC Care Plan.

Does PCC Provide Support For Your Personal Computer and Other Hardware?

  • PCC supports the hardware in your office as it relates to PCC services. For example, our support team can help you set up a new printer for Partner or PCC EHR printing, and we can help you configure your new laptop to connect to Partner and PCC EHR.
  • PCC can also make hardware and manufacturer recommendations that represent the “best bets” when considering cost and reliability.
  • PCC can not guarantee support for every type and brand of equipment.
  • PCC does not provide support for your Windows or Macintosh workstations, including security and OS updates.

Computer Workstations

Your practice can use laptops or desktops to connect to PCC software. What are PCC’s minimum and recommended hardware requirements, and what else should you consider when you purchase a personal computer?

Recommended Workstation Specifications

The recommendations below are based on industry reviews and feedback from our clients’ experience at their practices. Many factors can influence real-world experience and PCC cannot guarantee the performance of specific hardware.

Windows PCs

Here are the minimum specifications we recommend for a PC workstation running Windows:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 Processor

  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB+ Hard Drive or Solid State Disk

  • Operating System: Windows 10

Display Resolution: Displays with a very high resolution (DPI) can cause an issue where some PCC application data may be cutoff from the edges of your screen. PCC recommends purchasing laptops with a full high definition (FHD) display resolution (+/- 1920 x 1080). If you are unsure about a particular model, please contact PCC Support for guidance.

Recommended PC Models: Most current business-class personal computers from Dell, HP or Lenovo meet the specifications above and should perform well. Here are some specific models we recommend: Dell XPS 13 laptop (non-touchscreen), Dell Optiplex series Desktop (3060 or 5060).

Operating System Details: For a Windows PC, PCC recommends Windows 10 Professional. See the Operating System Details below to learn more.

Apple Macintosh Computers

Here are the minimum specifications we recommend for an Apple Macintosh computer workstation:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 or Apple M1 Processor

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB+ Hard Drive or Solid State Disk

  • Operating System: MacOS Mojave (version 10.14)

Display Resolution: Displays with a very high resolution (DPI) can cause an issue where some PCC application data may be cutoff from the edges of your screen. PCC recommends purchasing laptops with a full high definition (FHD) display resolution (+/- 1920 x 1080). If you are unsure about a particular model, please contact PCC Support for guidance.

Recommended Macintosh Models: Any current Macintosh model should perform well. PCC practices report excellent battery life with the MacBook Air line of laptops. Here are some specific models we recommend: MacBook or MacBook Air laptop, 21.5″ iMac desktop.

Laptops or Desktops?

If you use PCC EHR, you might prefer to purchase laptops that can be carried in and out of exam rooms. Or, you may decide that installing a computer under the cupboard works well for you.

PCC clients have found that laptops are more prone to theft and damage and often have battery problems. A desktop computer that can be permanently connected to your network over a Cat 5 cable will have fewer network problems than a wireless laptop, and be harder to steal or damage.

Laptops add convenience and mobility, however. You can carry a laptop into an exam room, set it up on an exam tray, transfer it to your office for charting later, and then take it home to continue your work.

If you purchase laptops, you may wish to invest in extra batteries or charging cables. If you purchase extra power adapters, you can plug in a laptop wherever you work, which will keep you from running out of power in the middle of a visit. Alternatively, you can select a laptop with exceptional battery life, like an Apple Macbook Air or a Lenovo Thinkpad with the optional 9-cell battery.

If you can plug your laptop directly into a network cable instead of relying on WiFi, that will improve connectivity. You might also consider anti-theft measures, such as locking cables or Apple’s Find My Mac service, which can locate your laptop remotely if it is stolen.

Dedicated For Practice Use

PCC strongly recommends that laptops and PCs intended for charting and practice management services be used only for those purposes.

If you have other computing needs, PCC recommends you use a different computer.

Operating System Details

PCC practices can use personal computers that run the Apple Macintosh OS or Microsoft Windows operating systems. PCC has worked extensively with each operating system and can share pros and cons of each.

Other Operating Systems: For questions about other operating systems, contact PCC Support at 1-800-722-1082 or support@pcc.com. PCC does not recommend operating systems that are no longer supported by the manufacturer.

Mobile Operating Systems: PCC’s mobile applications (pocketPCC and the patient portal) use your mobile device’s browser. They work with any modern mobile device running a standards-compliant browser.

To use PCC’s software and services, you can use desktop computers, laptops, or workstations that run the following operating systems.

Macintosh OS

You can connect to Partner and PCC EHR using an Apple Macintosh computer, such as an iMac or a Macbook Air. Macintoshes run on a virus-resistant, secure operating system based on Unix, just like your PCC server. PCC will help you connect your Macintosh to PCC software services, but PCC does not offer specific Macintosh support or training.

The Macintosh OS (or macOS) operating system is very crash resistant. Many PCC clients report that Macintosh laptops have better battery life than similar laptops from other manufacturers. The disadvantage of Macintosh computers is that they may cost more than some other options and some familiar software may not be available.

Any Macintosh computer running macOS Mojave (version 10.14) or better is suitable for all Partner and PCC EHR functions. PCC recommends that Macintosh users update their computers to macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or macOS Big Sur (version 11), as the updates are free and improve the security and reliability of your computer.

When Should I Update My System Software?: PCC recommends that Macintosh users regularly run the “Software Update” utility, found in the “About This Mac” option in the Apple menu, to ensure security on their machines. However, for major annual operating system releases, such as the next named release of macOS (Catalina, Big Sur), PCC recommends users wait a few months or until the first major patch before they update their workstations.

Microsoft Windows

You can connect to Partner and PCC EHR from a Windows PC, such as a Dell, HP, or unbranded computer, running a version of the Microsoft Windows operating system. PCC will help you connect your PC to PCC software services, but PCC does not offer specific Windows support or training.

Microsoft Windows is the most common operating system for computers sold by most vendors. Windows may contain security vulnerabilities that could endanger your office’s network, and there are more viruses for Windows than for other operating systems. Despite these drawbacks, Windows OS machines have the most available software, are the easiest to find, and are the most likely to have a range of local support vendors. Most PCC clients use Windows machines to connect to Partner and PCC EHR.

PCC recommends using Windows 10 Professional. However, PCC software runs on any professional level Windows operating system, Windows 8 or higher.

When Should I Update My System Software?: When you use Windows PCs in your office, it is important to keep your virus protection software and Windows operating system up-to-date. For example, you can select the Windows Update application from the All Programs menu. For major operating system updates, such as an update from Windows 10 to Window 11, PCC recommends you wait until a few months after the public release.

Do Not Purchase or Install Microsoft Windows 10 S: Windows 10 S is a special version of Windows that you might see at your local computer retailer. The operating system is designed to only run software that you can purchase through Microsoft’s online software store. PCC does not support or recommend Windows 10 S, as it would preclude use of PCC EHR as well as terminal programs your staff might use to connect to PCC’s Partner revenue cycle management software. Windows 10 Pro is the recommended Windows operating system for PCC EHR. If you have already purchased, or are considering purchasing, a computer with Windows 10 S, an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is available.

Check For Out-of-Date Operating Systems

PCC EHR presents a warning message on the log in screen if you are using a computer with an operating system that is nearing the end of its support life cycle. When a major operating system vendor (Microsoft, Apple) stops providing security updates or other support for an operating system, PCC typically ends support for it as well.

The warning will appear in red and it will state that you need to update your operating system before the next PCC EHR release. If the operating system is not updated, then the EHR will cease to work with the next release.

Microsoft Windows Domains

It takes a lot of work to maintain all of the Windows PCs in a pediatric practice. Between viruses, software installations and updates, and managing user account permissions, it can feel like a full time job. Some PCC pediatric practices elect to set up and install a Windows Domain to manage all of their workstations from a central server.

With a Windows Domain, you can manage software installation and user account management from a central PC. That computer will push configuration settings to all the Windows PCs in your practice. Virus protection and software updates can all be done once, instead of once for every workstation at your practice. Additionally, you can keep your PCs clean of malware or undesirable applications. Windows users at your practice will be able to log into Windows on all devices, and you can lock them out easily when they leave your practice.

A Windows Domain can be expensive to implement, and it requires maintenance and upkeep by a consultant and/or a system administrator at your practice. PCC does not sell, install or directly support Windows products, but our technical solutions team is knowledgable about Windows Domains and can help you make a decision. Contact PCC Support for additional information.

Printers

What should you consider before purchasing a printer for your practice?

  • PCC’s software is designed to work with printers that support PCL natively.
  • Printers should include a network card and connect directly to the wired network. Wireless printing is slower and less reliable.
  • PCC does not support printers that connect to a PC by a USB cable. Your practice may use these printers at your desk for various purposes, but PCC does not recommend them for bulk printing and Partner software can not send jobs directly to a USB-connected printer.
  • PCC recommends only laser printers. Inkjet printers are not recommended for office use because they are less reliable and more costly over time.
  • PCC software works with most HP LaserJet printers and multifunction devices. It works with many Brother, Kyocera, and Ricoh devices as well.
  • Canon and Epson devices are typically not compatible with PCC software.

PCC Recommends HP Printers: PCC recommends Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because they have consistently demonstrated compatibility and reliability. They also support advanced features (e.g. duplex printing and tray selection). There are many options among HP’s model M400, M500 and M600 series printers.

Contact PCC Before Purchasing: Please call PCC Support to verify that a specific device you are considering purchasing is compatible with PCC software.

Scanners

A scanner takes a paper chart, insurance card, form letter, lab result, or other piece of paper and sends it to PCC EHR, where a user can import it into a patient chart. Some scanners need to plug into a workstation computer with a USB cable, other scanners can connect to your network on their own.

Can You Lease a Scanner?: As with copiers, some offices lease powerful scanners, particular during the paper-chart conversion process. Have your vendor contact PCC at 1-800-722-1082 to discuss needs.

PCC will work with your office to help you determine your scanner needs and select an appropriate scanner. PCC can not guarantee PCC EHR compatibility with a scanner we have not tested and approved, so if you have concerns, send the make and model number of a scanner to us before purchasing.

Recommended Scanners

PCC has experience with and supports two models of stand-alone scanners: The Fujitsu fi-7160 and the Brother ADS2800W. We have tested these models and have Technical Solutions Team experts at PCC who can help you with their setup and operation.

The Fujitsu fi-7160 plugs into a Microsoft Windows computer with a USB cable. All scan settings are controlled through the included Windows software, PaperStream. The fi-7160 has been the best-performing scanner our clients have used and rarely needs to be replaced. Due to unreliable hardware and software performance, PCC does not recommend or support the use of the fi-7160 with Apple Macintosh workstations.

The Brother ADS2800W is a network scanner that doesn’t need to be plugged into a computer workstation, which allows for easier access for all who need to scan. If your practice uses Apple Macintosh workstations, this is PCC’s current recommended and supported scanner. Rather than relying on PC workstation software, this device is set up through its menu or through a web interface, and it sends scan jobs over your practice’s network.

What About Copiers and All-In One Devices?: All-in-one printer, scanner, fax devices, or your practice’s copier, may have the ability to scan to a network folder, but they will be slower than a dedicated scanner.

If your practice’s IT specialist sets up a copier or a different model of scanner than those listed above, PCC can provide your technician with the network path used to send documents to PCC EHR. We are unable to provide additional assistance for unsupported scanners.

Barcode Scanners

PCC currently recommends two models from Zebra: A handheld, portable model, the CS4070, and a corded model with a lower price, the DS-4308. Both operate well under our testing.


Warranty and Repairs: If your scanner breaks, you will need to contact the manufacturer, Zebra, for any repair requests. Visit the Zebra web site to learn about your options, register your product, and make repair requests.

If you choose a cordless model, you will need to pair the scanner with your workstation. Read this guide to learn how to pair a CS4070 or other Bluetooth scanner with your computer workstation.

For more information on selecting an immunization barcode scanner, read Use a Barcode Scanner to Manage Immunization Inventory.

Vision Screeners

Depending on your practice’s network and hardware configuration, PCC can support GoCheck Kids, an iPhone-based solution that allows you to send results directly to PCC EHR’s Import Documents tool.

Other Hardware and Software Needs

For information about other hardware and software needs, contact PCC Support.

  • Last modified: November 11, 2021