Making the transition and adopting electronic health records comes with several essential benefits for dental offices, so paperless office systems are likely to become the norm soon.
As health care service providers, dentists are relying more and more on electronic data to make practice management and clinical workflow more efficient and more convenient.
In this technology rich-environment, cyber security has become a necessity for dental practices. Here are a few top reasons why:
Dental Practices Hold Large Amounts of Data
Many dental offices have hundreds of patients, which means they are responsible for vast volumes of personal data, including.
- Personal address
- Phone number
- Health history
- Social security number
- Credit card or banking information
All this electronic data stored on computers across a network makes dental practices a desired target for hackers who use personal data as currency on the cyber criminal’s black market.
Moreover, with the government conducting a new round of HIPAA privacy and security audits this year, dental offices need to be ready to prove they can protect patient data.
So the question you have to ask yourself is this: Are you doing your best at keeping your patients’ private information private?
Cyber Attacks on Small Offices Are More Frequent
The worst thing you could do is be uninformed of the risks and assume your office is not a target because it’s a small, independent practice.
In reality, hackers prefer smaller businesses, for a number of different reasons:
- Employees are less likely to be trained when it comes to information security. An organization which doesn’t enforce staff security policies is a much easier and thus more appealing target than, say, a large corporation which constantly invests in expert training and building awareness.
- Less likely to have a firewall. If a business doesn’t have a firewall in place, hackers can access the computers on their network. And once the hackers are inside, they have access to data across the network. The fewer layers of protection, the more chances of being a target.
- Less IT expertise. Hackers rely on the fact smaller businesses are more likely to prioritize other expenses in the detriment of employing the services of a qualified security team.
No matter the size of your practice and the number of employees, you should make cyber security a priority.
That’s because your business might be a perfect target for hackers – even if you don’t see it.
A Cyber Security Breach Is Likely to Result in Substantial Losses
So what do you really stand to lose in case a threat is materialized and there is a breach?
In the aftermath of a cyber-attack, you could be looking at some significant damage, including:
- Financial expenses. The estimated cost of recovering from an IT security breach in the United States is $551,000, but, of course, that number can go way up depending on the impact and severity of the attack.
- Loss of reputation. It’s difficult to quantify reputation loss from a security breach, but it’s safe to say most of your patients will be less inclined to trust your practice with their data in the future.
- Loss of access to important patient information, such as health history.
Therefore, it’s essential to have a stable IT environment in place, as well as a plan and policies in place to help you manage the situation in case a breach occurs.
Otherwise, any incident of this nature is very much likely to instill chaos and severely disrupt the regular activity of your dental practice.
The Bottom Line
Working with electronic data leaves many dental offices vulnerable to cyber threats.
It’s your responsibility to understand the cyber-security perils involved and take actions to ensure secure electronic-record management.
It’s a concern you should address sooner, rather than later. And luckily, we can help.
Contact us today and we’ll make sure your network is serving your best interests – not sabotaging your efforts.