Plan for When Technology Fails

by Larry Emmott on July 3, 2014

in Dentalcompare,Hardware,Management

43-00097765In case you missed it: Dentalcompare from Nov 2013.

Sometimes the power fails—therefore electric lights cannot be trusted and we should all stick to kerosene lanterns.

Of course that is foolish, but it is the approach some people take to using computer technology. They are so afraid of a computer crash they use it as an excuse not to use technology at all.

Sometimes the power does go out and sometimes computers do fail. What do you do? You deal with it.

In dentistry we rely on a number of mission critical systems. If these critical systems fail we cannot do dentistry. This includes the air compressor, the central vac and maybe even the curing light. Most dentists have an emergency plan to backup a failure in a mission critical system. You may have a small emergency compressor or have an arrangement with Henry Schein to bring you a loaner.

You need to have exactly the same type of arrangement with your IT provider. An emergency plan should be in place to get the office up and running within a few hours or a day at most in the unlikely event of a major computer system failure. In fact, you don’t have a choice over whether or not to have such a plan. A disaster recovery plan is not only good policy, it is part of the updated HIPAA omnibus rule.

via Emmott On Technology: Have a Plan for When Technology Is Offline | Dentalcompare.com.

By far the worst thing that could happen to a dental office computer system is the failure of the server hard drive. If this happens the dental office has no access to data. The best way to protect yourself is to have two additional copies of the data. The first is a second hard drive or a BDR computer in the office. The second is an offsite copy or backup. Backup technology has continued to improve over the years, at this time the best option for most dentists is a web based cloud back up.

However you store and copy your data it needs to be encrypted. HIPAA rules and professional ethics require us to protect patient confidentiality. If a thief breaks in and steals your server that is a data breach. The only defense you have in that case is encryption.

Small, annoying, yet non critical technology failures may also happen.  This could be the failure of a monitor or a software glitch. It is a good idea to train a team member to deal with these minor issues. Not only will it reduce your IT expense it will get you up and running much faster.

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