October 9th, 2019
There are certain unspoken truths we share in the dental industry. For example, wise dental professionals know that a dedicated team is key to maximizing practice production, reputation, and overall success. There is no substitute. When we think about all the factors that contribute to practice excellence, the benefits of hiring a devoted dental IT partner is often overlooked (and even argued about within our own community).
Regardless of opinions, the fact is our digital age requires more than just a ‘local IT guy’ or ‘we do it ourselves’ approach to be secure. Cybercriminals have become so advanced that we cannot expect amateurs (no matter how well-intentioned) to adequately thwart off intelligent, targeted, and malicious cyberattacks. These attacks happen every 39 seconds, and our industry is a prime target due to the sensitive information kept in abundance.
Hiring an outstanding IT partner to adequately protect data and IT infrastructure is becoming an increasingly critical necessity. Of course, this provides a new challenge for practice owners to face and navigate. How can you distinguish the value between a general IT expert and a true dental IT partner that puts your best interest at heart? I’ve learned and seen firsthand – so let’s get into how dental professionals can ensure their dollars are well spent with a serious dental IT partner.
Efficient technology to support your patient load
A practice’s database evolves every day with each new patient. Without proper attention and support, weaknesses can quickly develop, compromising the efficiency and speed of your system. For a while, this is easy to ignore and doesn’t seem critical. But as systems slow, inconsistencies increase, and staff become increasingly frustrated, it’s a matter of time before you’re pushed to action. A great IT partner will make sure your technology capacity needs are tended to appropriately and quickly, no matter what stage of growth or maintenance your practice is in. This keeps you and your team working at your pace – and not at the mercy of technology meant to help.
Secure and compliant IT security
This is the area you really don’t want to be lacking. While we quickly notice when computer speed becomes painfully slow, practice security is usually not identified as lacking until it’s too late. A great IT partner sets you up with medical-grade and HIPAA compliant IT security tools, exponentially decreasing the chance your practice makes headlines for being the victim of a malicious cyberattack or data breach. The cost of a knowledgeable IT partner is worth its weight in gold when it comes to security; the fines and penalties for HIPAA violations can reach tens of thousands of dollars quickly. According to a recent IBM Commissioned Report, the average cost to recover from a breach is $380 per patient. For a 2,000-patient practice, that amounts to an incredible $760,000 cost.
Technology tailored to your practice type, size, goals, and needs
Planning for smart practice growth can be a headache, but a great IT partner will provide relief when fitting the puzzle together. They’ll help you choose equipment that grows with you (instead of being quickly outgrown), eliminating expensive and time-consuming band-aid upgrades. Maybe your practice plans on future expansion or acquiring other offices at some point. A great IT provider will set up your network and infrastructure in such a way that allows new locations and doctors to be added seamlessly. This is priceless.
Annual cybersecurity training and education
Even with adequate IT protections in place, your team should be trained to spot hacking, phishing, and malware attack attempts. These things are not hard to identify with regular annual training, but a team left untrained means attacks can more easily impact your practice. A great IT partner will provide training for quarterly or annual training. This keeps your team sharp on the latest techniques being employed by advanced cyber criminals; and all without doing any of the legwork and research. Again, priceless!
Unlimited technical support
Your IT partner should take the technology hassle out of your day-to-day routine. Sadly, even the best of intentions and incredible equipment will never eliminate little IT issues that put roadblocks in your team’s day. From troubleshooting a keyboard not working to wondering why your pano isn’t connecting (and of course with a patient waiting), a good IT company will help you through these moments so you can focus on timely and excellent patient care. It’s important to find an IT company that doesn’t play the blame game when it comes to troubleshooting. I don’t care who came up short – we need this fixed now. A great IT company takes accountability to solve the issue with your other vendors – and will never bore you with the details of whodunnit unless asked.
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