The return on investment (ROI) of technology is a conversation that can easily “overlook the forest for the trees”, especially in a dental practice. For instance, an intraoral camera aids in patient education and case acceptance, while a CAD/CAM system allows you to keep more services in-house, rather than referring them out to a specialist. These computer-based devices are the “trees” that help drive revenue for your practice; however they don’t stand alone.
The practice network is the IT ecosystem, the “forest,” that connects these technologies and improves efficiencies. This network is comprised of servers, firewalls, routers, workstations and other core hardware that the practice software runs on. Stepping back to look at the whole picture, your IT network is a critical part of the ROI of dental technology.
While it’s easy to become distracted by the newest device for your operatory, upgrading your IT first and foremost is critical to ensure that your practice is productive and profitable.
Anyone who has unpackaged a new laptop or mobile device knows the speed of a new machine. A smooth and efficient user experience is nice to have on your personal computer, but it’s a necessity in the business environment. In 2016, Sharp conducted a survey in the UK that found that the average worker wastes 21 days each year because of slow or outdated technology. Feature-rich programs can overburden outdated machines, which may struggle to handle large amounts of data from new devices. Factor in out-of-warranty support, replacement parts, and maintenance, and your operating costs can seriously eat into profitability.
In a recent guest blog post, David Broom of TechCentral by Henry Schein One, summarized some impending changes in practice IT as they relate to security. Microsoft announced that after Jan. 14, 2020, it will no longer support Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and 2008 R2. Meanwhile, data from a recent study showed that a majority of medical devices were running Windows versions that will expire by this date.
As the frequency of cyber-attacks and crypto-ransomware attacks grow, you can’t afford to run your practice on an unsupported operating system (OS). Recovery from a crypto-ransomware attack can be financially devastating, and the event can have a long-term impact on your practice’s reputation and profitability. You can also encounter a problem that can eat into profits in the short-term: your cyber-security insurance policy may not cover incidents involving hardware and software that has not been properly updated or is not supported by the manufacturer. This can result in exorbitant “break-fix” support fees for system recovery.
Your office team members are likely not IT specialists, nor should they have to take on that role. Removing them from core tasks could very well eat into your profitability, as they interact less with patients in the office and focus less on key administrative tasks, including patient outreach and retention.
TechCentral aims to eliminate IT stress with its latest offering, Omnicore, an all-in-one network infrastructure solution, which provides all essential network hardware and services to make sure your office network is always up to date. Omnicore not only removes the burden of choosing the right hardware, but also minimizes your financial burden because technical support, hardware and software management, equipment upgrades, and even the replacement of failed hardware is included in one easy-to-budget monthly amount.
As we reach the halfway point of the year, the best thing you can do for your practice is to find out what you need. Start with a free technology assessment from TechCentral to see if their solutions are right for your practice.
This article originally appeared in Dental Product Shopper