6 Things to Look for in a Managed IT Service Provider for Your Dental Practice
Whether you are in the process of opening up a new practice or you’re simply in the market for a new IT partner, it can be difficult choosing a provider.
It seems like every managed IT service professional claims to be the best, but they can’t all be. How do you know which partner is right for your dentistry?
Here are a few important things to look for when searching for an IT service team for your practice:
1. Find a provider who offers unlimited remote support.
In the industry, remote IT support is often referred to as RMM, or remote monitoring and management. This means that the partner will be able to tap into your systems from a remote location, allowing them to address issues and problems immediately, without having to come on-site.
RMM helps to reduce downtime, allowing your IT providers to troubleshoot quickly — so you aren’t halting operations. This is especially important in 2020-2021 with the coronavirus pandemic forcing some businesses to implement stricter entrance allowances, and granting your IT providers the freedom to address your issues from the safety of their homes.
Be sure the provider doesn’t cap you on these support hours or requests; you never know what kind of assistance you’ll need, and you want a partner there for you no matter what.
2. Seek a provider who understands your compliance needs.
One big question you should ask any managed IT provider is if they have knowledge around HIPAA compliance, specifically when it comes to dentistry. This is a non-negotiable requirement for a partner, seeing that non-compliance and breaches can cost your practice up to $1.5 million and damage your reputation.
Your practice handles a great deal of protected health information (PHI) that needs safeguarding from digital and physical breaches and misuse. All the intricacies of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act with regard to your technology are something you simply don’t have time to memorize around your other job responsibilities. You need a partner you can trust to not only understand regulations, but to ensure you’re staying ever-compliant and avoiding costly HIPAA missteps.
3. Choose a managed IT service partner who offers continuous network monitoring and threat protection.
Bad actors are always on the prowl for cyber security vulnerabilities, capitalizing on holes in your digital perimeter to gain access to your PHI. To keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape, you need a managed IT partner who stays sharp on the latest developments in the hacker community and is ever-vigilant against threats from all possible sources.
Look for a provider who branches beyond the traditional antivirus protection — one who cares deeply about your network equipment and routers, web threat protection, web filtering, and everything in between.
4. Pick a provider who offers compliant, secure data management services.
There’s no arguing that your dental office houses a large bank of patient and private information. How you store and backup your data matters immensely for the continuity of your business in the event of technology disasters such as fire, flood, theft, or technology failure.
But part of the problem is that you need HIPAA- and PCI-DSS-compliant storage solutions, which use an advanced, standardized encryption method. A dental-specific managed IT provider will know what kind of online backup services not only meet your requirements but are also highly recommended within the industry. When looking for a provider, ask them about their backup and recovery services and how they can ensure business continuity by saving and protecting your data.
5. Look for IT professionals who can also advise on business technology planning.
When you invest in new technology for your practice, you want to be sure it’s equipment and software that’ll last for years to come in order to pay itself off and then some. Making big financial decisions about your technology infrastructure and hardware is not something you should have to do alone — and many managed IT service providers would argue that it’s not your job. That’s what they’re here for, to identify opportunities for improvement and advise on the best technology for your goals.
On your search, single out a well-rounded technology advisor by asking how they’ll help you plan for a better future for your practice. Ask if the provider would offer a free consultation to see if you’re the right fit for one another, which is often the best way to test the waters.
6. Seek a managed IT provider with transparent, predictable pricing options.
The last thing you want when locking into a relationship with an IT provider is hidden costs. You signed on thinking you were paying a monthly or bi-annual price, but some managed providers will tack on upcharges for services that should be included, such as support.
When choosing a provider, be sure that they are clear about their pricing, breaking down exactly what is and isn’t included. If you notice anything missing, don’t be afraid to ask why it’s not a part of your agreement. A transparent partner is one who you know will go the extra mile to help, not someone sitting there running a tab or waiting to hit you with surprise costs.
Download a Free Checklist
This blog is an excellent resource to get you started, but we have something that’s even better.
Our downloadable What to Look for in a Managed IT Service Provider Checklist includes a number of questions you can ask when searching for the right partner, with fill-in-the-blank formatting to make narrowing down your choice easier than ever. It also includes a list of red flags to look out for when interviewing candidates for the role, so be sure to take this free resource with you. Download it today.