Most dental clinics today rely on information technology systems for their operations, which is why it’s vital to have a solid IT infrastructure. When IT systems go down, dental offices without a backup and disaster recovery strategy are left scrambling to get their network up and running while dealing with costly damages.
The time and money lost because of downtime are more than just minor inconveniences. According to Gartner, the average cost of downtime per minute is approximately $5,600. To small- and medium-sized businesses, losing this much money in a short amount of time can result in unrecoverable financial losses and even bankruptcy.
Downtime events could cost your practice your reputation as well as your patients' trust and loyalty. Here are other ways downtime can affect your dental office.
1. Data loss
Data is the new oil of the 21st century. Almost every business today, including dental clinics, is data driven. Unexpected network downtime can potentially lead to data loss, damage, or corruption. Without important data like client information and app data, your clinic might struggle with setting appointments, providing treatments, and processing payments.
What’s more, when your infrastructure goes down, it can create opportunities for cybercriminals to steal your patients' protected health information (PHI), which they can use for financial gain. This, in turn, causes your practice to violate Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and puts your business at risk of fines and legal penalties.
2. Lost revenue
If your network goes down, you won't be able to provide even the most basic of services for your patients, leading to lost productivity and revenue. Every minute of downtime is a minute that could have been used to handle patient concerns and issues. Instead, all that time is wasted waiting for your network to be restored. The worst part is, even if your clinic loses revenue from downtime, you still have to pay for rent and other operating costs.
3. Reputational damage
If your practice is constantly experiencing downtime, you can't provide dental care to your patients, leading them to turn to other dental professionals. But it doesn't end there. Sometimes, people will share their unpleasant experiences with friends and family through social media or word of mouth.
This can cause your current and potential patients to think twice about going to your clinic for dental care. Additionally, a bad reputation could impact your ability to retain your employees and to attract great talent.
4. Lost opportunities
Today, many dental clinics have their own websites and social media accounts where patients can schedule appointments. Network downtime means your patients will be forced to make appointments over the phone, which some find troublesome and time-consuming.
This tedious process can lead to frustrated patients, and there's a chance they will choose to schedule their appointment at some other time, or worse, not schedule an appointment at all. Fewer patients mean less revenue for your clinic. Also, if your website and social media sites are down, you lose the opportunity to promote your dental services and, in turn, the chance to draw in new patients.
To prevent costly downtime, partner with a trusted managed IT services provider like Pact-One. We specialize in dental IT and will provide your practice with effective network management and backup and recovery services to minimize the damaging effects of downtime. Call us today to learn more.