Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Features Business Management
Backing Up to Stay Ahead


January 22, 2008
By Blue Melnick

Topics

backingupAs an entrepreneur, one must learn to distinguish between smart business and good business. Running a smart business means accepting that one’s time is finite and that one’s expertise doesn’t cover everything. It becomes false economy, then, to try to handle all aspects of a business in-house.

As an
entrepreneur, one must learn to distinguish between smart business and
good business. Running a smart business means accepting that one’s time
is finite and that one’s expertise doesn’t cover everything. It becomes
false economy, then, to try to handle all aspects of a business
in-house. Dedicating time and energy to core functions such as serving
clients and building business is smarter than allowing oneself to get
bogged down with the myriad of other critical tasks.

So, what
non-core functions are keeping you from running your practice the smart
way? It’s likely that the necessary evils of electronic record keeping
and X-ray retention rank high on the list. Outsourcing this function of
your practice may just be the answer you’ve been waiting for.

Advertisement

Since
9/11, the outsourcing of data backup to an offsite third party has
gained significant traction. And, in the medical community
specifically, alarm bells have sounded loud and clear as of late. In
response to the widely publicized theft of a laptop computer from the
car of a physician at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children earlier this
year, the Ontario Privacy Commissioner warned all health-care providers
that private patient information must be properly secured.

Dr.
Brian Dower, DC, of Park Road Healing Arts in Toronto, confirms: “As
health- care providers in Canada, we have a legal obligation to keep
patient records for a minimum of seven years. A corrupt or stolen
computer would be a nightmare that would require unimaginable work to
rebuild that database, and it would also require finding ways to
contact countless patients. Also, because my entire practice is based
on assessing and managing my patients’ health-care needs, I need to
know that I have continuous and easy access to patient records. And
with three chiropractors and two receptionists all using the same
computers and programs, having a dedicated and fool-proof back-up
system in place reduces any room for error or mistakes.”

Following, are just three of the countless smart reasons to outsource your practice’s data back-up and storage functions.

SAVE TIME AND AVOID ERRORS WITH AUTOMATIC DAILY BACKUPS

Section 9 of the Chiropractic Act, 1991
clearly states that members of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario
must take all reasonable steps to ensure that records stored by
electronic or optical means are “secure from loss, tampering,
interference or unauthorized use or access.”

Online data
back-up and recovery services fully automate the retention process,
backing up your practice’s records 365 days a year to secure offsite
servers. By removing the human element from the back-up process, the
risk of manual errors – and negligence – is eliminated. And the best
part is that you – or your busy support staff – don’t need to press a
single key to encrypt and store your back-ups offsite.

As Dr.
Scott Howitt of Sports Performance Centres in Toronto notes: “Our
practice has critical information that needs to be protected, and
automatically storing this information offsite ensures that no matter
what happens at the office, our patient records are safe and can be
recovered at any time.”

LIMIT DOWN-TIME TO SAVE MONEY AND YOUR REPUTATION

When
your practice’s main server crashes, wiping out your electronic
records, you need to retrieve the files quickly and easily.
Unfortunately, traditional methods are slow and costly. A great deal of
time – read: revenue – is lost in locating the appropriate recovery
disks or tapes, transporting them back to your practice, mounting the
tapes on your system, locating the records you need, and restoring the
information. But by using an online back-up service you can restore
information quickly with a few clicks of your mouse.

CUT YOUR COSTS

By
outsourcing your practice’s data back-up functions, you eliminate all
hardware and personnel expenses related to maintaining your own
backups. You’ll no longer have to invest in costly tape drive systems,
and your support staff will be freed the hours normally spent learning
your back-up procedure, cleaning and rotating your back-up tapes,
testing your back-up media and recovery processes, and so on. This
time-savings could then be devoted to tasks designed to better manage
your practice and grow your patient base.

Online backup
providers charge monthly storage fees that depend entirely on the
quantity of data – measured in gigabytes and the type of data you’re
storing. Look for a service that stores static data – data that doesn’t
change – at a significantly lower “per gigabyte” rate than dynamic
data, which changes regularly. For instance, the storage of your
digital X-rays should be charged at a much lower “per gigabyte” rate
than the storage of your practice management records.

The record retention regulations of the Chiropractic Act, 1991,
state that individual patient health records, and every financial
record, must be retained for at least seven years from the patient’s
last visit. As these records are no longer active, they should be
considered static electronic files, and should therefore be stored at a
“per gigabyte” rate that is significantly less than the cost to back up
and store your active patient files.

Of course, you must
evaluate the cost of outsourcing your practice’s data backup and
storage. But the harsh underbelly of opportunity costs – in this case,
unrecoverable electronic records – almost always tips the scales in
favour of these new online back-up technologies. And the ability to
bounce back quickly from a frightening critical data loss is smart
business at its best.


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*