( this article was publish in the Oral Hygiene Magazine February, 2017 issue http://www.oralhealthgroup.com/digital-edition/oral-hygiene/)
In the past few years, the cloud-based dental software was introduced to the dental industry. Many articles and blogs were written to explain this new technology and why dental professionals should consider it for their business. However, most of those articles and blogs were too complex to understand or too vague.
The below article is written in simple terms for a dentist, an office manager, or a dental hygienist who is considering a cloud-based dental software for her/his practice(s).
It is important to understand the cost and benefits when you choose to use cloud-based dental software and why traditional dental software have failed dentist expectation.
1. Moving your data to the cloud will relieve you of heavy reliance on physical storage you are solely responsible for.
Research shows that human errors account for 52% of data breaches, the most common of which is ‘general carelessness.’ The risk of human error can be particularly high when dealing with patient data.
For example, many practices who still use the traditional desktop dental software do manual data backup improperly. Most offices transfer data daily to a USB memory stick, and any mistake during this process such as data corruption or the stick ending up in the wrong hand can and will jeopardize your practice.
PHIPA, Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, requires access control to data storage facilities by a locking door or the use of access cards. So any Ontario dental office that fails to implement such physical protection upon their local server can be held legally responsible in case of data loss.
A cloud-based dental software, without requiring a server in your office, does not need dentists to shoulder all the legal obligation and high costs of protecting it. Data backup and data protection are done automatically.
2. The cost of using a cloud-based dental software is likely to be lower than a desktop version.
The cost of a traditional desktop dental software over five years can add-up to $47,000 that includes initial setup fee, monthly maintenance, training, and separately purchased features such as appointment email reminders and remote access.
All manual updates and data backups take administration time that could have been spent on treating more patients. Some offices also have to hire an IT specialist to deal with such complicated software-related issues.
On the other hand, for a reasonable monthly subscription fee, the cloud-based dental software is up to date 24/7/365, requiring no upgrades or data backup, therefore, reducing the need for technical expertise in the office.
3. The right cloud service provider adds competitive advantage to you practice.
Most cloud service providers host their servers in-house and in most cases without the appropriate monitoring system, disaster recovery, or business continuity plans. It is critical for the cloud service provider to partner with a credible cloud host organization such as Microsoft Azure. Azure stores data on redundant servers in multiple locations, which means even if one server goes down, your data is still safe and your dental software never goes down.
Microsoft Azure hosts sensitive data for corporations such as eBay, Boeing, and Apple iCloud. So you know your data is always being monitored for attacks and corruption.
An IT giant like Microsoft also provides economies of scale at minimal cost. Rather than relying on an IT staff member to solve your IT problems, with Microsoft Azure, you have arguably the best expert team to ensure your patient data is safe and always accessible. From ensuring physical security of data centres to pre-empt loopholes through ethical hacking, Microsoft Azure has employed many layers of protective measures.
Making the move from the traditional desktop dental software to the cloud-based dental software is not a trivial decision by any means. Data migration, training, and the desire not to change are some of the concerns you will have to deal with, however, data security and data protection outweigh those concerns. A cloud-based dental software could mean the difference between prosperity and confinement.
About the Author
Feda Bashbishi is the CEO and co-founder of iKlyk Inc., a Canadian Cloud-based dental software provider dedicated to raising the bar of quality in dental practice management software, patient privacy, and data security. Feda Bashbishi holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Master of Science in Software Development from San Jose State University in California. Prior to establishing iKlyk, for years, Feda has worked on enterprise level cloud-based applications. You can connect with Feda through https://goo.gl/ZLJiRV or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.