8 technology considerations for your new dental practice
The path to opening a new dental practice presents a host of professional and business decisions. The list below describes the dental technology options available to facilitate the operations of a new practice.
Partnering with a professional IT service provider experienced in dental practice technology will facilitate a successful transition into first-class technology for your new practice.
Cloud based dental software or in-house network server
We are big fans of cloud based software in appropriate situations. The cloud dental applications are improving rapidly and even becoming available from the larger vendors. However, there are still some advantages to an in-office network server when operating a first-class dental practice.
A professional IT service provider can provide guidance and recommendations for your new dental practice management software.
Chair Side computers
Here again, your IT group can recommend a computer which meets or exceeds the recommendations for your dental practice management software. However, this is the time to consider the layout of your hygiene and operatory rooms. Are you planning to have one display only, or include an additional display for patient viewing? The patient display can be mounted in many ways, from above, extending from or on the wall, or up from the foot of the patient chair.
Insure that the PC recommendation has sufficient video output to support your desired configuration.
The phone system and its capabilities are most important since this is the primary communication with your patients. For new dental practices, hosted VOIP systems offer business-class features at a very economical price.
Overhead music & entertainment
Music systems appropriate for dental offices can range from simple overhead music throughout common areas to elaborate multiple source entertainment in every room. Every practice’s patients have different needs. Consider what type of experience you believe your patients would enjoy. Common area music and smart-TVs in the rooms provide suitable entertainment for most patients.
Depending on the location of your office, this can be a very simple or very complicated decision. In some places, the choices are limited so the service decision is easy. Other locations have many internet provider options or even may be included in a lease.
Internet bandwidth speed is important for sharing of large dental images, files or patient records. The bandwidth will also be impacted by device use and any video streaming (see above). More is generally better and many business areas now have high speed fiber available.
Firewall/Internet Security Device
A firewall or router has always been necessary for connecting a PC or network to the internet. But as hackers around the globe launch increasingly sophisticated attacks, many dental practices are seeking a higher level of protection. A firewall with unified threat protection adds additional benefits including unsafe site protection and blocked attempt reporting.
We are often asked if wireless PCs are an option in a dental practice. While it may work, the speed and reliability of a proper cabling system provide a much better office computing experience.
Backup & disaster recovery
There have been many generations of backup systems, with each becoming easier, faster and less expensive. In order to properly protect your dental patient information, today’s backup systems require no human intervention, provide quick recovery time even after a server failure, and replicate automatically offsite to ‘the cloud’.
Make sure that you understand the capabilities of your data backup, including time to recovery and maximum data loss risk.