What to Look for in Your Dental IT Support
Whether you’re 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 to choose a provider.
It seems like every managed IT service provider claims to be the best, but they can’t all be. How do you know which partner can provide the best dental IT support for you?
Below, we’ll discuss what to look for when searching for an IT service team for your practice:
1. THEY OFFER STRONG REMOTE IT SUPPORT SPECIFICALLY FOR DENTISTS
In the tech industry, remote IT support is often referred to as remote monitoring and management (RMM). This means that the partner can tap into your systems from a remote location, allowing them to give dental office IT support and fix problems immediately, without having to come on-site.
RMM helps to reduce downtime by allowing your IT providers to troubleshoot quickly — so you aren’t halting operations. This is especially important since the pandemic forced some businesses to implement stricter entrance allowances, shifting the dynamics of a typical work environment. With RMM, your IT providers have 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. DATA SECURITY AND PRIVACY IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Bad actors are always on the prowl for cyber security vulnerabilities, so they can capitalize on holes in your digital perimeter and gain access to Protected Health Information (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.
3. THEY OFFER HIPAA COMPLIANCE SUPPORT FOR DENTISTS
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, since non-compliance and breaches can cost your practice up to $1.5 million and damage your reputation.
Your practice handles a great deal of PHI that needs safeguarding from digital and physical breaches and misuse. The technology-specific intricacies of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are complicated enough that you should have support from a subject matter expert. You need a partner who understands HIPAA compliance to help you ensure you’re staying ever-vigilant and avoiding costly HIPAA missteps.
4. THEY UNDERSTAND YOUR PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
There’s no arguing that your dental office houses a large bank of patients’ private information. How you store, backup, and transmit 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 method. A managed services IT provider with dental-specific experience will know the ins and outs of the practice management software you use, so they can offer practical IT solutions for your dental practice. When looking for a provider, ask them about their knowledge of your software as well as how they can support your data management.
5. THEY FOCUS ON YOUR NEEDS
Your practice may need dental-specific IT support depending on your implementation of dental technology trends, the number of professionals on your team, and more. You’ll want a partner who focuses on what kinds of support will best suit your needs so you can provide a streamlined approach to providing the best care possible for your patients.
Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) may have their own rules and needs for an IT support partnership while you’ll have more freedom to choose a partner if you own the practice. Having the final say in choosing your dental office IT support can be rewarding, but only if you choose a partner who puts your needs first.
6. THEY SUPPORT CLOUD SERVICES
When it comes to data storage and computing power, the cloud is peerless. That’s why your dental IT solutions will most likely involve cloud services such as an online dental platform. Your managed IT provider should support cloud services so you can:
- Save on the cost of server hardware
- Have more options for data security
- Have an easier backup and disaster recovery solution
- Stay on top of HIPAA compliance more easily
What’s more, if a partner does not support cloud services, there may be a limit to how well your practice can grow and evolve in the future.
7. THEY CAN HELP YOU SCALE
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 so you can scale your business without hiccups along the way.
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 (for now and in the future), which is often the best way to test the waters.
8. THEY ARE CLEAR ON PRICING
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 what 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 will go the extra mile to help, not someone sitting there running a tab or waiting to hit you with surprise costs.
FINDING THE RIGHT DENTAL IT SUPPORT
This blog is an excellent resource to get you started, but we have something that’s even better. Our checklist can help you discover:
- Which red flags to look out for when interviewing dental IT support specialists
- What questions to ask candidates
- How to narrow down your partner choices
Download What to Look for in a Managed IT Service Provider Checklist to get started.