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Start A New Dental Practice Using the Right IT Solutions

We get asked this all the time from dentists who want to set up a new practice. This is an important question because how you establish your IT infrastructure can significantly impact the efficiency, security and reliability of your technology as well as the productivity of your team.

Here are the 5 most commonly asked questions we receive from dentists in the Utah and Idaho areas along with our answers. We hope this will help you avoid the common pitfalls as you set up your new dental practice.

1. How many computers should I purchase in the beginning?

Having cash on hand is essential for any dental practice. So, you want to consider the costs of all the equipment and software you’ll be buying. This goes for the number of computers as well. The rule of thumb is that you should start with the minimum number you require and add more computers as you need them.

A great solution here would be to ask your IT Provider if they offer Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS). The benefit of HaaS is that you can conserve your capital. You won’t need to spend any money upfront for your computers and other hardware. Instead, you pay an affordable monthly fee based on how many computers you lease. This gives you the flexibility to add on as you grow or remove computers that you find you don’t need. The money you save can go to other things you need to set up your dental practice.

Front Desk: You’ll need one for your front desk/receptionist. When purchasing this computer, consider setting up dual monitors – one the receptionist can use for scheduling and the other for your practice management or other application to look at a patient’s billing info.

Dental Operatories: You need one computer for each of your operatories. Again, you may want to consider having two monitors in each one. Place one where the patient can view their X-rays or other clinical information, and one on the ceiling for patient entertainment purposes.

Your Private Office: As the dentist, you’ll want a small office with a computer, so you can access your server (or cloud-based system) to review case presentations, input patient notes or work on accounting software.

It looks like you’ll need 6 computers:

1- Front Desk

3 -Operatories

1-Dentist’s Office

1- Consultation Room

2. Why do I need a server for my dental practice?

Even if you’re setting up a small office, you definitely need a server. You always have the option of using software programs in the Cloud, but you may need to use software that isn’t available in a cloud format. In this case, you’ll need to house your applications in a server.

You may wonder why you can’t just house these applications on your computer. The answer is that a server operating system is more stable than your computer’s operating system. Plus, if you store your applications and files on a server, your team can access them from any computer that’s connected to the server. This is much more efficient and reliable than storing applications on your workstations.

That said, it’s even more efficient to house applications in the Cloud. With cloud-based applications and files, you can securely store much more than you can on a computer or server, plus you can access your IT solutions from anywhere you or your team have an internet connection. This comes in handy when your office is closed due to severe weather conditions or for other reasons. You and your authorized personnel can still work on documents and applications at home.

3. What other hardware and accessories do I need to set up my dental office?

Wi-Fi: You’ll definitely want wireless access. You should have one network for you and your team and another for your patients. Your IT provider can advise you on this setup. You’ll need a router and access points to ensure coverage. Plus, you’ll need Ethernet cabling and switches.

Designing a Wi-Fi network for your dental office isn’t as easy as the one you probably set up at home. You want to ensure that you have the proper coverage without any dead spots. Plus, you must ensure your patients can access Wi-Fi without intruding on your office network.

Your IT provider will assess your workflow, office configuration, the wireless technologies you’ll be using and how to integrate them with your existing IT infrastructure. Many factors go into planning the layout of a business Wi-Fi network.

4. What do I need to protect our patient data and work files?

Backup System: This is another reason why you need more than your server and computers. With a cloud-based backup system, you’ll be assured that your data is securely stored and accessible even if your office is closed, or damaged due to a disaster like flooding or fire.

It’s best to defer this to the expertise of your IT professional. They will set up a system to back up your data regularly and ensure it’s always recoverable.

You should also ask about virtualization. This provides a cloned image of your entire IT system, so you and your authorized team can recover all of your IT solutions including your applications from wherever you have an internet connection.

5. What should I be looking for when choosing an IT expert?

Look for an IT company that has experience working with other dentists in the Utah and Idaho areas. Symtec specializes in setting up and managing technology for some of the top dentists in our area. We’re happy to provide references, so you can ask other dentists how they like our services.

As a dentist, orthodontist, or oral health professional it’s not always easy to find an IT company that understands how dental practices operate. SymTec does. Once you contact us, you’ll see why so many dental practices choose our services over others.

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