Cloud computing — a secure way to reduce downtime and save money

Editor’s intro: Cloud computing with CS OrthoTrac Cloud centralizes your practice data in a convenient and efficient way. Read Dr. Andrew Nalin’s experience with this innovative tool. 

Dr. Andrew Nalin discusses his experience with CS OrthoTrac Cloud

Modern practices are taking on more business responsibilities, with a bigger focus on tasks and roles that have not typically been a part of the traditional orthodontic workflow. Marketer, HR manager, and IT support are just few of the hats a doctor and team are expected to wear to stay competitive. A competent office manager, an efficient team manning the front desk, and the right practice management software all help to alleviate some of the realities that come with owning and operating a small business, but there are still issues that are simply outside the wheelhouse of even the most experienced team such as updating computers, installing software or maintaining a server. Do you pay maintenance fees to a third-party IT company or keep a full-time tech on staff? Like any smart business owner, you delegate the hassle of IT to the cloud.

“Cloud computing” is a hot term across multiple industries. If you save your vacation pictures to or open a Google Doc on your cellphone to check a grocery list you started on your laptop, you’re taking advantage of the cloud. As orthodontics has gone digital and more practices have become paperless, practice management has also ascended to the cloud to give practices added security, less downtime, more updates, and often lower fees.

Reduce downtime; save money

In a busy practice, every second counts. Doctors and their teams juggle many tasks throughout the day to keep the practice productive. Updating technology can be disruptive, leading to downtime and lost revenue. However, switching from on- premise software to a cloud environment is typically straightforward and handled remotely on the back end by the software manufacturer. If you’re working with an established technology company like Carestream Dental and transitioning from on-premise software to a hosted environment, the process is simple. For example, when my practice made the transition from on-premise (server-based) CS OrthoTrac to CS OrthoTrac Cloud, there was no reason to close my office for a lengthy installation. Plus, since the interface of both on-premise software and cloud solution are identical, there was no learning curve and no reason to retrain staff. Once on the cloud, all future updates and backups are handled by the company’s data center automatically, helping the practice stay current with the latest versions and avoiding the need for future manual update installs.

In addition to keeping a practice up and running efficiently with fewer hiccups, switching to CS OrthoTrac Cloud has the potential to save a practice money in other ways such as reducing costly IT fees. In the case of my practice, we had been happily working with the on-premise version CS OrthoTrac. However, when it came time to expand our capabilities and add modules, it made more sense to switch to CS OrthoTrac Cloud. Rather than continuing to pay expensive monthly maintenance fees to a third-party IT company, in addition to the add-ons we wanted, it made more sense to move to CS OrthoTrac Cloud since fees for the cloud include modules and future upgrades.

Maintain trust with added security

The relationship between orthodontists and their patients is one built on trust and communication. While that’s true for any doctor, orthodontists have a special responsibility in caring for young patients. Digital practice management streamlines appointments, makes scheduling easier, and simplifies keeping in touch with patients, reducing stress for busy parents and making patients feel valued. However, what happens when there’s a breach of trust, even when it’s out of the practice’s hands? Say, a flood or accidental fire damages your server, or a laptop with sensitive patient data is stolen. With a hosted management solution, the all-important question of security is handled offsite at a Tier 4 data center, exceeding all HIPAA and security measures. If the unthinkable happens, files and data are not just “recovered” (which indicates that they were lost in the first place) but simply accessed from a different computer. A practice can be back up and running sooner, with patients experiencing the same smooth front desk experience and communication they’re used to.

Go and grow anywhere

Smart business owners are always looking for ways to grow, and for practice owners that could mean a new location. Fortunately, cloud computing centralizes a practice’s data, so your existing hosted practice management can expand with your practice. Teams can access patient information, contacts, and appointments from anywhere, whether it’s the second office or from home. For example, if I get an emergency call, I can look up a patient chart from home on my cellphone or tablet without having to set up a complicated virtual private network.

Running an efficient digital practice means more than having the latest diagnostic tools. Practice management software to smoothly manage the patient experience from the front to back office plays a crucial role in the providing effective care. When it comes time to consider the next step in your digital practice management workflow, switching to the cloud may be the efficient choice for your practice, especially if you’re looking to grow in the future.

Jake Gulick discussed cloud computing and its benefits in orthodontics. Check it out here.

Andrew Nalin, DDS, earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology (1990) and a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (1998) from the University of Washington. After dental school, he completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center (1999) and served our country in the United States Air Force for 9 years. In 2005, he completed his Orthodontic Residency in the Tri-Service Orthodontic Residency Program in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Nalin is a published author and is currently involved with research at the University of Washington. He is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Washington State Dental Association, Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists, Washington State Society of Orthodontists, and the Mount Baker District Dental Society.

Disclosure: Dr. Nalin is a key opinion leader for Carestream Dental.

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