I know many chiropractors who believe that because their offices are small, formal protection of files and information may be unnecessary. However, consider all the important records you must keep for your patients and your practice, even if you do not have a large staff.These files are critical to your business operation, especially if you face a Medicare or tax audit, or if your practice is compromised in some way due to a major weather event or even criminal activity.
Information technology is an ever-changing field and a complex area that is likely intimidating to the average practitioner. However, help is available from individuals who can ensure your practice is protected. Of the many lessons I have learned in my career, one of the most important has been to safeguard information at all times. I am grateful for the counsel of experts who have helped us identify and implement strategies that keep our information protected, and I urge every chiropractor to engage this kind of expertise as well.
A Few Lessons I Have Learned
On a broad level, in order to avoid an IT disaster if a practice faces an electrical shutdown, a power surge or breach to the information system, a "mirror" server (which replicates all the files on the current server and creates an exact match of those files) is a key investment. Don't limit your protection efforts to computer files alone. For example, we discovered the importance of having a lightning protector on all incoming phone lines, as those lines are the lifeblood of a practice's technological connection to the outside world. Phoenix and many other cities are well-known for lightning storms during certain times of year. Walking into an office where the staff is staring at four computers that have been literally fried from a lightning strike is not something I want to repeat.
We have worked diligently to upgrade our information systems on a continuing basis to ensure that our operation runs smoothly and efficiently. One of the best decisions we have made is to hire an IT expert, who oversees a consulting firm comprised of 20 individuals. The consulting firm has created an entire information recovery plan for us, including implementing processes and programs that protect our information better than ever. By having a group of people working on our behalf, we can leverage the knowledge of numerous individuals. This structure has also enabled us to save money by avoiding significant problems; so we benefit financially and have improved our resources related to IT.
Having a robust plan and solid processes in place to protect information is one of the best investments a chiropractor can make. Don't wait for something to happen - take action now to protect your records. I assure you the investment will pay dividends well into the future.
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