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There is a variety of research that shows hiring a friend is a bad idea on a number of levels. Inevitably, the power dynamic changes. Once you move from buddy to client, one of two things may happen:
There are occasions when this situation can work out beautifully, but if you run a dental office, your expertise is probably not in information systems, so it’s better to hire a specialized dental practice IT company. This gives you the freedom to think more deeply about the solutions presented so that you can ask the tough questions your buddy doesn’t want to hear.
It depends. If your buddy has a full-time job already, then you aren’t their top priority. Even if they’ve left the corporate world to do their own thing, what happens if they go on vacation or get sick. Going with a dental practice IT company, such as NOVA in the example below, gives you the assurance that someone’s always there to pick up the phone.
Dental informatics combines computer and information science with a specialization in dental practice IT management. This new field provides a solid base for supporting dental care and involves more than the application of computing to dentistry. This approach reverses the model by molding the information systems to help the practice run more efficiently. In turn, it also boosts employee morale and keeps the staff focused on work, not computer glitches.
NOVA Computer Solutions is located in the Washington, D.C., area and provides managed IT services to dental offices throughout the country. The company was asked to audit a dental practice that received a letter from a government agency that enforces HIPAA. Apparently, a complaint had been filed by a patient or former employee.
The office paid a friend to look after their IT systems, but NOVA’s staff found that he wasn’t doing a very good job. The dental practice IT company uncovered many issues that left parts of the system vulnerable to cyber attacks. Eventually, a ransomware infection spread through the system, leading to a data breach.
When NOVA audited the system, they found no antivirus software had been installed on some of the systems. Also, the systems were not patched or maintained with updates from the software manufacturers, a standard IT maintenance practice. Basically, it was an open invitation for malicious activity.
The NOVA team was able to shore up the defenses and establish a protocol to identify future problems.