How Much Should Your Dental Practice Spend On IT Services?
Whether you’re establishing a new dental office or looking to switch to a new IT support company for your practice, it’s hard for dentists to determine how much they should pay for IT services. In this article, we’ll help you estimate how much your dental practice should spend on IT support.
Why Your Dental Practice Needs Outsourced IT Services
As a dental practitioner, you’ve worked so hard and invested so many hours to get your practice to where it is today. Therefore, it’s safe to say you’ll do everything you can to make sure your practice prospers.
When practices aren’t getting the vital tools and programs out of their information technology, there’s typically a serious lack of efficiency and waste of hard-earned money. With that being said, hiring an in-house IT support professional is often unreasonable. Even if it was, a single IT professional isn’t sufficient and implausible to keep up with the ever-fluctuating IT industry. That’s where a managed service provider (MSP) comes into play.
An MSP has the most experienced IT engineers on their team that are skilled in dental office software systems and can deliver the tech support that’ll only help your practice flourish.
Here are a few reasons why your dental practice should outsource IT support:
1. HIPAA Compliance
Federally controlled industries like healthcare, finance, education, automotive, and manufacturing follow government-mandated rules and guidelines regarding the use, storage, and security of information. Being in the healthcare industry, your dental practice is expected to conform to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to guarantee patient confidentiality and security.
In order to handle the massive amount of patient information, you need to evaluate your IT systems, maintain digital records, and store patient information securely. At the same time, you have to be fully knowledgeable of the relevant healthcare rules and regulations.
Engaging an MSP will make sure that your practice stays HIPAA-compliant by keeping your IT software and systems updated with the latest and utmost data security.
2. Dependable Support
MSPs operate round the clock to solve any potential problems that could arise. You may have some problems that just can’t wait until Monday morning to be resolved. Even if they could, your team’s productivity and ability to get their job done would be in jeopardy.
24/7 support from an MSP maintains your seamless operations and assures that problems are fixed as swiftly and effectively as possible. Employing these subcontractors to monitor your IT systems will allow your dental practice to maintain focus on the most critical tasks.
3. Safe and Proactive Approach
For a dental office, safety is definitely the most significant reason to have a dedicated IT partner monitoring and handling your network and systems. That’s because the majority of cyber-attackers target small companies. While these companies may possess massive volumes of private data, they usually can’t afford the repercussion of a cyber-crime.
The more prosperous your practice becomes, the greater your risk and possible consequences of a security breach. MSPs are deeply devoted to cybersecurity and ensure that the systems of their partners are protected and secured continuously. By proactively adjusting and adapting their security procedures, they guarantee that your dental practice’s and patients’ information is safe.
4. Time & Cost Efficiency
If you wish to upgrade your in-house IT structure, greater expertise often means spending more money and time. This type of investment is typically very unproductive and costly. MSP experts focus on important business requirements as they know that they can deliver more effective and adequate support for these requirements. Plus, they charge a lot less than it would cost an individual to complete the same tasks.
IT operations are one of the biggest examples of this advantage. IT Infrastructure is exceptionally expensive and IT trends are continually changing, which can create confusion for those who are inexperienced. As stated earlier, it’s almost impossible for an internal IT team to handle the practice’s systems and keep pace with the ever-evolving healthcare industry.
On the other hand, an MSP provides all IT services for a fixed monthly fee. This includes maintenance, monitoring, repairs, updates, and more. Affiliating with an MSP gives you access to top-notch resources when you need it without exceeding your budget. Without the liability of sustaining IT operations and learning the latest in IT management, you can invest that time in the success of your dental practice.
IT Services Costs for Dental Practices: What To Expect?
How much should you expect to pay for dental IT support? Well, there’s no fixed answer. The costs can differ so much between service providers that it’s of no use to give a certain range here. Eventually, the cost estimate you get from a decent IT support company will typically be attributable to the exclusive requirements of your office and the level of service coverage you select.
Later in the article, we’ll talk about several common IT services pricing model options that will give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of costs. Nonetheless, to choose the most suitable IT support for your requirements, and to obtain the most value for the money you spend for those services, there are numerous essential things to understand when getting price quotes from different MSPs. We’ve covered some of these things in the next section below.
When selecting an IT support company for your dentist office, don’t just blindly go for the one with the lowest price quote. Instead, choose the provider that offers more value in particular services you need for your dental practice. Also, be careful of any hidden charges and oddly long-term contracts that may tie you into a monetary compulsion. This can put you in an unfavorable position if IT service quality deteriorates over time.
Common Pricing Models for Dental IT Services
The pricing of IT support companies is typically planned in line with one of the three arrangements defined below. Some IT service providers offer a combination of multiple models while others may offer a choice between these:
1. Billing Per Request
This pricing model involves billing for the time and materials used to fulfil an individual service call.
For instance, you can use this pricing model when your IT tools need reparation, or an expert IT service is required to stabilize the effects of hacking, eliminate a bug, upgrade your network, or carry out any other task that has a projected date for accomplishment.
2. Managed IT Services
In this model, the IT service provider acts as your own subcontracted IT team. They handle everything on your behalf, including installations, server, computer units, devices, software, IT network, and office phone system support.
Managed IT Service Providers (MISPs) provide all IT management duties that you’d assume from a skilled on-site IT department. This includes system security, virus shield, file backup and recovery, website hosting, cloud services, monitoring, reporting, etc.
3. Manufacturer’s Software Support
Often software vendors offer their own IT Help Desk support for clients for an additional fee. These services are typically limited to assisting with resolving problems in the specific application you buy from that vendor and don’t usually extend to your other applications, network, and devices.
Keep in mind that this isn’t the full-service IT support level that a dental practitioner requires to maintain incident-free operations.
Which IT Support Pricing Model Should You Choose?
Managed IT Services and billing per service request are the two pricing models that you’ll perhaps consider when exploring IT support opportunities for your dental practice. The next thing is to consider how to get certain services you want without paying for needless additional services, hidden fees, or exaggerated contract fees. At this moment, you need to clearly understand the benefits and drawbacks of both these prevalent pricing models.
Benefits of Managed IT Support
One of the most significant investments that your dental office can make is in the security, functionality, and effectiveness of your technology. An internal team may be able to support your practice, but outsourcing often brings more lasting welfares.
A professional managed IT expert specializing in the dental industry takes the time to understand and work with you to achieve your business’s goals. They provide you with complete IT systems and equipment management and Help Desk support, guaranteeing maximum efficiency and productivity.
When working with an MSP, you already have an idea of how much your IT support is going to cost. This helps you better plan and stick to your budget. You only have to pay one fee that covers all of your dental office’s IT management services, including regular security updates, HIPAA compliance management, 24/7 live support, data backup and recovery, web hosting, network monitoring, and more.
Outsourcing your dental IT lets you focus on other facets of your practice to acquire a competitive advantage, while adding to your value proposition. Moreover, cybersecurity is often a top-of-mind concern for your potential clients. A safe and secure business who they can trust with their confidential data is surely more attractive than an unreliable one.
Often, MSPs also expand their services into cybersecurity. As a result, they can provide access to the state-of-the-art cybersecurity technology to protect you and your dental patients.
Drawbacks of Managed IT Support
You have to bear a fixed cost for managed IT services, even if you don’t face any IT issues during that period. For instance, your annual IT costs might be more than what you may bear if you don’t need to hire expert IT services for the whole year.
Benefits of Billing Per Service Request
The biggest benefit of this model is that you only pay for the services that you get, such as for quick equipment or systems repair, upgrade, update, or other identified need. You don’t have to pay a fixed fee for IT support every month or annually, whether you face a technical issue that disturbs operations or not.
This arrangement also comes handy when you have a fully functional in-house IT department which needs a helping hand in case of an emergency or short-term needs. For instance, you may hire a professional IT expert to help your IT department upgrade its existing systems.
Drawbacks of Billing Per Service Request
When using this model, your IT system is susceptible to issues and lacks meticulous monitoring and management by an IT professional.
In case you face a serious IT problem because of a security breach or system downtime, your budget can be exceeded by unforeseen and costly emergency IT service to get your dental operations back to normal.
What to Look for When Choosing an IT Service Provider
Before you give access to any part of your IT infrastructure or system to an external IT support company, make sure you get clear on these points:
1. Set a Clear Work Scope
Get a systematically detailed scope of scheduled work. Ensure your estimation clearly stipulates what the IT support company understands as an effective solution in your situation.
2. Understand Anticipations
Make sure that the IT service provider also comprehends your anticipations for the workflow rate, security procedures, access arrangements, prices, and results. This will help dodge miscommunications and unanticipated increments in charges later so as to get you what you really want.
3. Document Your Fixed Price Agreement
When working with a managed service provider, make sure you get the agreed pricing documented before any work starts. Also, make sure that your expected result for that fee is specified as the requisite for payment.
4. Ask the Right Questions
Along with getting clear terms, you need to ask a few questions to further ensure that you aren’t disappointed later on due to unforeseen service omissions or overestimated service charges. For instance, ask them how they communicate with the customers and whether they answer phones by live operators or voicemail. Also, inquire how they improve and measure their performance and whether they provide detailed reporting. You may also ask them directly about any hidden costs or add-ons to avoid any unpleasant surprises moving forward.
Tips to Make the Most Use of a Dental IT Support Company
As a dental practitioner, you obviously want to dedicate your time and efforts to your main objective of delivering the best possible oral care and treatment for your patients. You definitely wouldn’t want to make yourself a quasi-IT support individual and dive deeper into the technicalities of how systems work in your dental office.
You just need to educate yourself on IT service offerings and pricing so that you may choose the best outsourcing partner for your practice. For this purpose, you should get an IT systems evaluation for your office so as to better understand your business’s distinctive requirements.
Apart from this, you need to ensure that you’re clear on exactly what you’re going to get before signing any contract for IT support. This will help you prevent unanticipated problems and increasing expenses afterward.
ITEK Solutions – Your Dental IT Support Team in GTA
At ITEK, our IT support team is fully-trained with 14+ years of experience in delivering exceptional customer support and resolving technical issues. We’re always on our toes to handle any issue related to your hardware, software, backup solutions, cybersecurity, or operating systems. Our IT mavens leverage cutting-edge tools and techniques to ensure that your systems are operating at peak efficiency.
Whether you need a hardware lifecycle refresh, infrastructure design and implementation, office relocation, or a new site setup – we do it all. We offer full range of services for network design, hardware acquisition, network and hardware installation, telephone, and surveillance systems for your new practice or clinic.
We leverage up-to-the-minute technology that can help you design, develop, implement, and maintain your IT infrastructure while providing you with a secure base for your new business operations.
Contact now to learn more about our dental IT services.