We hear it every day: The future is digital.
Every business needs to be utilizing technology, especially those in the dental industry. At Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), we’ve helped more than 110,000 healthcare professionals secure funding to better their career and improve their practice. At the top of that list? Investing in up-to-date technology.
Technology can provide numerous benefits to both the provider and the patient, from better care and increased efficiency and accuracy to convenience, stronger communication, and enhanced security.
I’d like to focus on that last point. Security.
You can have all the latest technologies and modern conveniences, but if you haven’t taken the extra measures to ensure their security, what good are those investments?
Here are 4 things you need to do to keep up with your competition in the security department.
Refuse to Compromise Patient Data
When it comes to electronic health records, there are essentially 2 ways for dental practices to store their patient information: on a cloud model or on-site.
If you keep your patient records on-site, you need to consider the vulnerabilities. Are your records kept on an internal network and stored on an unsightly hard drive that’s tucked away in a closet? Think about that. All it takes is one bold individual to enter your server room, copy your files, and steal confidential information. It could happen in a matter of minutes.
Savvy thieves no longer have to sneak out manila envelopes full of patient information. Today, a computer system can be hacked in seconds, and files saved to a thumb drive and tucked neatly into a pocket.
The most secure practices put a clear stamp of value on protecting patient files by using a cloud-based data center. With this method, digital records go through multiple web security protocols prior to storing to ensure safety. It’s not necessary to keep physical storage on-site.
Ensure Digital Communications With Patients Are Locked
Many dental practices today communicate with patients and colleagues via text and email. Externally, digital communications can be a faster, more convenient way to remind patients of upcoming appointments and to market your practice. Internally, it can make it easier to handle simple practice matters.
Savvy practices owners ensure that exchanged communications do not expose any confidential information. So don’t take text and email for granted.
You should consider what proactive measures can be taken to protect patient data. Implement an encryption service to prevent messages from being read by anyone other than the intended recipient. Or keep sensitive details out of the conversation by using code words in messages between staff members.
Nearly all consumers have a digital footprint today, but confidential medical history and communications should never be a part of that footprint.
Secure Your Physical Location
Without a doubt, you lock down your office at the end of day. You make sure all entryways are locked and your security system is engaged.
But what about during the day? Do you have security measures in place? (And simply having a receptionist at the front desk does not count as security.)
Yes, you want your office to be welcoming to patients, but it should also be safe. If you have an open-door policy where visitors simply walk in and out without being noticed unless they’re physically checking in at the desk, you’re doing the bare minimum.
The potential risks of an unsecured office are serious, and your peers are doing everything in their power to protect their space. Step up to the plate and acknowledge that theft and physical harm are not to be taken lightly. Then take action.
Install an alert system that chimes when the door opens and closes, or require visitors to ring a doorbell to be let into the building. Install security cameras to monitor the exterior perimeter. And, require all vendors to show valid ID upon entering.
Take Measures to Secure the Future of Your Business
In today’s economic and environmental climate, anything can happen. Successful practices put a high value on business continuity and actively take measures to plan ahead.
It’s important to plan for the good and the bad. Here are some things to think about when looking to secure the stability of your practice.
- How can I accommodate a boost in patient volume?
- Am I at risk of an environmental crisis, and how will I respond?
- What will I do if a key piece of equipment fails?
- How can I successfully operate if there is slow cash flow?
- What will I do if a key staff member unexpectedly leaves or falls ill?
If something occurs that hinders your ability to see patients and you don’t have a plan, sleepless nights will be the least of your problems. Knowing your competition is up and running because they prepared for unforeseen circumstances will make it even worse.
Taking measures to ensure iron-clad security, both digitally and physically, is a smart investment. Going the extra mile to protect the safety of your patients and your practice is good business. Your competition already knows this. Don’t be left in the dust.
If you need a financial partner to help you with the investment, please consider BHG. As the leading provider of financial solutions for licensed healthcare professionals, we have nearly 2 decades of experience working with dentists and practice owners just like you. Please visit our site at bankershealthcaregroup.com/dt-june to see if we might be a good fit as your financial provider.
Mr. Hunt is chief technology officer at Bankers Healthcare Group, the leading provider of financial solutions for healthcare professionals. This article is the point of view of Chris Hunt and does not represent the opinion of Bankers Healthcare Group.