How will data loss affect your practice?

Losing your data or critical systems can mean:

  • Revenue loss from the inability to conduct business
  • Lost customer trust or confidence
  • Legal or financial implications for lost records
  • Excessive recovery and repair costs for lost systems and data

My company has decades of experience in appraising the assets of dental practices and I believe that dentists do not fully understand the benefits of integrated software within a dental practice. In past columns I have advocated for a high quality integrated software platform such as Eaglesoft that retains or even exceeds its original purchase value at the point of sale of the dental practice. Generally, a practice appraisal will value this system at current or higher than market prices if the information of the dental practice resides within the database of this software and provided that the software upgrades have been maintained. For the most part, dental equipment depreciates and devalues over time while a current information system such as Eaglesoft does not.

The main theme of this column is The True Value of Your Dental Records. The motivation for this column was prompted by one of my associates in Calgary who reported on the devastating effects that the recent summer floods had on some practices in the area. Unfortunately a few dentists had to close their practices altogether and some of them could not access their electronic records for many days and were unable to reach out to their patients.

These incidents forced me to once again consider two questions:

What is the true value of patient records to a dental practice owner?

How important are these records today and throughout the life of the practice?

To put it all into perspective, consider that in a partial or fully paperless once absolutely every piece of patient information is contained on a server under a reception desk or in a dusty desk somewhere. Therefore, all appointment schedules, recall activity, billing, X-rays, charting and case presentation information is riding on these systems today. This fact leads to more questions:

What happens if or when the server crashes?

What happens if whatever type of backup they were using – such as thumb drives or tape backups – does not contain restorable data?

What can be accomplished in a dental practice today if dentists don’t have access to their electronic records?

The answer: NOTHING. The COST will vary depending on the length of downtime. Our firm believes that your average dental practice has an hourly production rate of $500, or $5,000 per day. Do the math on the scenarios that result when your server crashes and you’re down for a few hours or days. And keep in mind that the production that is lost … is not coming back.

But an even scarier thought is what would happen to your clinic if your server crashed or was impacted by a flood, fire or theft and you had no current backup?

What’s the value of the electronic records stored on your clinic server?

In my opinion these records are invaluable and there are very few things that would be more crippling to your business than the complete loss of your electronic records, and obviously it’s in your best interest to safeguard your records immediately.

Thankfully … there is a state-of-the-art system that allows you to safeguard your irreplaceable records, available through Patterson Dental. This new product is about to be launched into the Canadian marketplace. It is called DDS Rescue and it is a one-of-a-kind service that protects your practice against server failure, whether it comes from nasty viruses, server equipment problems such as hard drive or power supply failures, or in the worst case scenario, a result of fire, flood or theft.

The way it works is the DDS Rescue failover server gets plugged right into your once network switch. The entire contents of the server’s hard drives are copied and mirrored to this failover server and are continuously backed up in real time using the most advanced encryption standards. Additionally, all of the information is mirrored to a Canadian PIPEDA compliant data center.

The result is truly amazing. No more backup tapes or drive rotation that your front desk office staff has to worry about. Your records are encrypted at all access points and are safe. More importantly, if your fileserver crashes, your failover server kicks in and will run your office network. In the event of a fire, theft or flood you can be assured that your patients’ records are safely secured at the datacenter. The entire system is monitored 24/7 by real people and if anything goes wrong you’re contacted immediately.

It’s truly a one-of-a-kind technology. Reach out to your Patterson representative and schedule a free Backup Data Health Check and have your system reviewed. It takes about 20 minutes and you’ll get a full report on the health of your server and backup. And keep in mind that besides yourself and your team, the most important and valuable asset you own during the life of your clinic and when it comes to selling your practice … will be your patients’ records.

Make sure they are protected. For more on this topic please see my video at http://vimeo.com/78667436.

For more information on Eaglesoft and the other digital solutions Patterson can provide, contact your Patterson representative 866-449-7282 or e-mail techsales@pattersondental.ca.

To view the full PDF of this article, click here.