In your dental practice, you need to care for your patients, address the needs of your staff, and meet compliance requirements, all at the same time. Thankfully, there are powerful technologies and solutions designed to help you achieve these goals. These tools can even help you overcome many everyday challenges that can disrupt your workflow and hurt the efficiency of your practice. Here are five examples of challenges that these solutions can help you with and how they can affect your workflow:
#1. Outdated technology
Outdated technology is one of the biggest problems faced by modern businesses, and dental practices are no exception. Hackers, particularly purveyors of ransomware, routinely target healthcare providers because they know how coveted patient data is in the black market.
Many of these attacks specifically target dated operating systems and applications that have reached the end of their support life cycles and, therefore, no longer receive critical security updates. A prime example is Windows XP, which still powers some business machines, but Windows 7 is also nearing the end of its product life cycle. To protect your data and remain compliant with industry regulations, make sure your system is always patched with the latest updates.
#2. Break/Fix support
Nothing gets in the way of back office productivity more than computers that refuse to boot or applications that become unresponsive. When you have to call in a technician to resolve the problem, you rarely know how long you’re going to wait to get everything back up and running, or how much the repair is likely to cost.
This dated break/fix support model is rapidly falling out of favor as organizations instead look towards proactive support contracts in which issues are resolved within a given time frame and built-in redundancies keep downtime to a healthy minimum. A managed services provider, for instance, monitors your system 24/7 for a fixed rate, and resolve any issues before they interrupt your workflow.
#3. Lack of integration
In today’s increasingly diverse and disparate technology environment, there’s a much greater chance of running into compatibility problems. For example, some cloud-hosted services don’t work well with traditional desktop computing systems. Many old applications do not support the sharing of information with newer solutions, leading to information silos between different departments and the inability to exchange data effectively.
This lack of integration often leads to poor collaboration and the need for manual data entry, which is not only inefficient, but also increases the risk of human error. Dental practices must overcome this problem by establishing one cohesive operational environment.
#4. Compliance challenges
Like any healthcare practice, dental offices are subject to strict compliance regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to hefty fines and damage your reputation. Overcoming the challenges of compliance is even harder now that most practices have partnerships with dozens of third-party vendors. But as data controllers themselves, they’re still at least partially responsible for looking after their digital assets.
When partnering with any third party, you must have business associate agreements in place and a robust vendor management strategy that allows you to retain full visibility into your data. A dependable third party should take their share of accountability, but you can’t depend on them entirely, especially as mismanaged access rights are among the most common causes of data leaks.
#5. Adversity to change
Healthcare practices often find themselves trying to tackle innovation with limited budgets, a lack of in-house expertise, and a strong resistance to change among the workforce. All too often, employees assume that technology and innovation are solely the responsibility of the IT department, but this really isn’t the case anymore. As such, IT leaders need to garner a better understanding of the business problem and the end-user experience to drive a culture change where innovation isn’t seen as a chore, but a source of hope that benefits everyone.
Pact-One Solutions works exclusively with dental practices to offer worry-free IT guidance and solutions you can count on. Call us today to learn more.