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Published On: August 10, 2018 by Blake Schwank

Technology is great – when it works. Save your time for training staff on how to use machines, not how to fix them!

You run your dental practice like countless other small businesses, with the same staffing decisions, budgeting and accounting oversight, and have the ultimate say in technology purchases. The invisible difference between any medical practice and any other small business is that you – the CEO, perhaps – are actively involved with your customer base – your patients.

In modern practices, everything from payroll processing to patient billing, from patient electronic health records (EHRs) to diagnostics and treatment relies on technology. In fact, practices that do not use technology in diagnostics and treatment methods jeopardize their patient base. Worse yet, your technology should work – older or unreliable technology doesn’t inspire faith from patients and puts the future of your practice at risk.

Whether your focus is general dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery, or any other specialized field, you provide a fundamental service in the realm of patient care, but patients need three things from a dental practice:

  • Trust in the expertise of the specialist for their oral health
  • Reliance on the specialist to put their best interests first
  • Payments, insurance billing, and claim processing will be handled responsibly

If your X-ray machine or your instruments aren’t performing at their peak, it can impact patient care – and be an embarrassment! For example, both patients and staff get equally frustrated by dental sensors that work inconsistently and require frequent repeat attempts for oral x-rays, and if the problems can only be resolved with re-booting computer software or hardware, the downtime affects efficiency in care and staff productivity.

Connecting The Dots

In the case of dental sensors and ongoing issues, dental care specialists experience increased problems, including:

  • Is the sensor not showing up in the software, with errors like “sensor not found”?
  • Does the sensor work sometimes, and is just unreliable?
  • Do you see incomplete radiographs with questionable films or imagery?
  • Are load times extending longer and longer for connectivity between the sensor and the software?

Upon further investigation, again in the case of problematic dental sensors, the staff begins to question the source of the problem:

  • Cable failure
  • Sensor housing
  • Hardware issue, like a bad USB port
  • Software glitch

Like much of the technology in a dental practice, dental sensors don’t exactly have a backup solution. Discovering the source of the problem – before the patient is biting down on a sensor that isn’t going to help you get clear X-rays – is going to take time. Before you invest in an expensive sensor or cable replacements, dissect computer hardware to replace ports, or blindly buy new computer software in hopes of solving your problems, consider your alternatives.

When the inner workings of technology are not your professional focus, you don’t have time to spend trying to figure out how to solve your problems, and your time has value. That value is for your patients, who put their oral health and care in your proverbial hands.

A Smarter Investment

Invest your time instead in a modernized approach to technology support with a managed IT services provider (MSP). MSPs have revolutionized the IT support industry with an all-encompassing approach to technology support, disrupting the ages-old “break/fix” on-demand support model. Rather than waiting for a process to break and find expensive, urgent help – like when dental sensors consistently fail – working with an MSP on a monthly subscription fee saves you time and money.

How is an MSP a smarter investment?

Previously, if you used technology in a professional environment, you had two options:

  • Hire staff to maintain your technology, absorbing their salary as an ongoing expense
  • Call an expensive resource at a premium for costly immediate assistance

The subscription-based MSP business model offers a cost savings alternative to maintaining internal staff and paying a salary, even when IT staff are underutilized. For a low monthly fee paid to an MSP, your dental practice benefits from an improved support standpoint and with better financial footing.

Many MSPs also offer ongoing services, including:

  • 24/7 Remote system monitoring
  • Strategic IT planning
  • Wireless networking and infrastructure design
  • Cloud and virtualization solutions
  • Email and network security
  • Data back-ups and business continuity services

Better support for less money, and more time to dedicate to patient care? Yes, MSPs can provide behind-the-scenes systems support without interfering with daily operations. In fact, MSPs can ensure systems are up-to-date with software programs and security updates released by manufacturers in response to cybersecurity threats. No, it’s not too good to be true.

Managed IT services isn’t exactly a disruptive technology, except that it is! MSPs disrupt the “old” way of doing things with an innovative approach to IT support, providing incredible value to professionals in every industry, and preventing problematic technology from impacting your productivity.

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