Legacy software conversion to electronic: Investigating what's best for you and your patients.

We're using practice management software that hasn't been updated since 2006, and the guy who wrote it won't email me back.

Well, guess what? You're in good hands. Our region is growing like wildflowers in June, and it's not uncommon to have a new dentist taking over for a retiring one or a new practice being built from the ground up. Whether you have an archaic software program that needs to be converted into a modern EHR system, or, in many cases, don't have anything at all to begin with, allow us to guide you along the path. It is a rocky one, no question; that said, you can rest assured that we've been down this path many times before and we can make the transition as painless as possible.

There are a few options for you. We recommend Patterson Dental's Eaglesoft practice management software and equipment technology. Their local representatives and technicians provide a leading edge against the competition, and we've got their cell phone numbers. Oh yes, and they recommend Affinity to handle dental IT support in the region. Give us a call and we'll tell you why else.

Contact us to schedule your no-obligation, no-fee initial IT assessment so we can get you off on the right foot. Not that there's anything wrong with the left foot, but the right foot sounds better.

Internal network security: Owning your own patient data and making sure that it meets industry security standards.

There are new stories every day about entire businesses and medical practices shutting down because they got hacked. I'm quivering.

You don't need to be afraid. Well, maybe you do. It depends entirely on the equipment you're using, the software that protects you, and how it was all set up.

It sounds terrifying, but it's not uncommon to go in to a new clinic for an assessment and see right away that a consumer-grade wireless router is in place with supposed security on it, allowing patients full access to all of the data in the office, and all with an easy-to-guess security passphrase. That's just one of many scenarios that we run into more often than I'd like to admit.

The truth is that not every IT provider is qualified to handle your PHI environment. Trusting your network and computer system security to an unqualified company or individual becomes a serious liability, and, as long as we're being truthful here, can end up costing you tens (sometimes hundreds) of thousands of dollars in the event of an intrusion or even a surprise security audit.

Let us help you be prepared. This is our area of expertise, and we won't steer you wrong. Don't take chances by having someone dabbling in network system security set you up for failure.

Whether your PHI data is in the cloud or on your in-house server, you are, in at least some regard, responsible for it; having it on your in-house system makes you the owner. We make it safe by keeping the bad guys out.

Data availability and hardware integration: Everything set up the right way the first time by someone who'll be there to support it.

I've got a film-based Pan X-ray unit that I'm pretty sure is older than my Aunt Rita and it's acting up again. I'm not sure where to begin.

We won't tell your Aunt Rita you called her out. The good thing about Pan units (that's short for Panoramic Dental X-Ray, FYI) is that they are solid and tend to last for many years. The bad thing is that they do eventually start going the way of the dinosaur. If your Pan unit is more than fifteen years old, chances are it is film-based and won't integrate well with modern equipment. We've had our share of gigs involving the orchestration of old Pan equipment communicating with a hardware adapter with a dated computer, and sometimes it can work out just fine. If you happen to be in the market for replacing your unit, however, it's very important you consider the long-term benefits (and disadvantages) associated with this specialty equipment. After all, you're going to be spending upwards of $30,000 here (just for the equipment), so being as informed as possible will surely help you make the most informed decisions. We're here to help, so ask away!

Intraoral cameras, integration devices, and software bridge interfaces all come into play, too. Make sure you know what you're doing before you let someone sell you on something you're not sure you'll need!

If you happen to be getting a new practice off the ground, be sure to give us a holler so we can provide some recommendations for getting you started.