Much like any other organization, dental practices have become heavily reliant on technology to deliver better service to patients, improve profitability, and overcome the challenges of the back office. However, few dental practices have dedicated IT departments of their own. For a smaller practice, it simply doesn’t make sense due to the high costs involved and the need to constantly innovate. As such, many dental practices instead choose to outsource their technology needs and, in doing so, overcome the limitations of in-house IT and the ongoing burdens of compliance and security.
There is an abundance of managed services providers to choose from these days, so it pays to do your research when looking for one you can trust. Here are some of the most important questions to ask before you make a commitment:
#1. Can you help me get more out of my practice management software?
Dental providers rely on their practice management software for patient scheduling, documentation, insurance claims, and more. Today, most practice management software is cloud-based, which means software maintenance and upgrades are taken care of by the provider. Regardless of what you’re currently using, your IT partner should be familiar with leading solutions such as Dentrix and Open Dental and should be able to offer services that help you get as much mileage as possible out of your investment.
#2. Can you help me reduce my reliance on paper records?
Reducing your dependence on paper records offers many benefits, including easier document retention, more control over privacy and security, and greater efficiency. A dental MSP should be able to help your practice become a paperless organization in which you have complete control over your records. Always ask any potential provider how they can help drive your digital transformation initiatives and leverage technology to become more efficient and compliant with industry standards.
#3. Are your services HIPAA-compliant?
HIPAA is a top priority for any organization that handles patient health information, and dental services are no exception. It’s imperative that you choose an IT provider that offers cybersecurity solutions and support that ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and availability of protected health information. These include advanced encryption systems, stringent access restrictions, threat prevention software, 24/7 network monitoring, and data backups.
When it comes to dental practices, easing the compliance burden is often one of the main reasons for outsourcing IT. If compliance with industry standards isn’t at the forefront of a provider’s value proposition, you should write them off immediately.
#4. Do you understand the dental sector?
Your IT partner must have a full understanding of the dental sector, including complete familiarity with the dental back-office workflow. If they’re not familiar with your practice management software and can’t relate to the challenges or limitations it might present, then they probably don’t have the right expertise to optimize your operations. Be sure to ascertain whether a potential IT provider is a dental IT provider as opposed to just any IT provider.
#5. Do you monitor network health as a whole?
Dental networks have some unique characteristics and comprise several distinct components, all of which need to be monitored and managed with expert precision. Simply looking after just one part of your technology infrastructure isn’t enough, not least because it can result in a major security flaw. You need a solution that brings your entire data-bearing IT ecosystem under one umbrella. It’s about more than just IT support, it’s also about identifying potential liabilities and vulnerabilities in your infrastructure and helping you locate areas for improvement.
Pact-One is a dental IT provider that specializes exclusively in providing technology services to dental practices. Call us today to get started with worry-free IT.