Data Privacy

Protect Your Practice: The Dangers of Buying Tech from Uninformed Sources

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Why Dentists Must Consult Their IT Providers Before Purchasing Hardware or Software

In the rapidly evolving world of digital dentistry, ensuring the security and compliance of dental software and hardware is paramount. A recent case highlights the critical need for dental practices to consult their IT providers before making technology purchases, underscoring the dangers of inadequate cybersecurity measures.

Case Study: The Costly Tablet Misadventure

Dr. Smith, a dentist committed to advancing his practice with the latest digital dentistry tools, faced a significant setback. A representative from a dental software company advised him to purchase tablets for in-office use. Trusting the guidance, Dr. Smith bought several Android tablets. Unfortunately, these devices failed to meet basic privacy and security requirements, and were therefore non-compliant with privacy laws and college guidelines.

When Dr. Smith sought help from our cybersecurity team, we discovered multiple security and compliance issues. Additionally, the dental patient forms software was intended for home use on a patients own computer, not the clinic environment. Our cybersecurity specialists had to spend hours resolving these issues, costing Dr. Smith hundreds of dollars and significant frustration.

The Lesson Learned

This case study illustrates a crucial point: Dental practices should always consult their IT providers (and in many cases a cybversecurity professional) before purchasing any hardware or software that will connect to their network.

Dental software companies often do not have a full grasp of the cybersecurity requirements specific to digital dentistry, which can lead to dangerous vulnerabilities.

Any hardware or software connecting to the dental practice network must be vetted to ensure it can be made secure. Off-the-shelf consumer type hardware often lacks the robust security required for use in healthcare settings.

The Checklist: Ensuring Secure and Compliant Technology

To help dental practices avoid similar pitfalls, we recommend the following checklist for evaluating dental software and hardware purchases:

  1. Consult Your IT Provider Early:
    • Engage your IT or cybersecurity provider at the beginning of the decision-making process to ensure any new technology meets dental cybersecurity standards.
  2. Evaluate Security Features:
    • Check that the hardware or software includes necessary security features such as encryption, secure user authentication, and data privacy controls specific to digital dentistry.
  3. Compatibility Check:
    • Ensure the new technology is compatible with your existing dental software and network infrastructure.
  4. Vendor Reputation:
    • Research the vendor’s reputation regarding security and compliance in dental software and digital dentistry solutions. Look for reviews or case studies from other dental practices.
  5. Compliance Verification:
    • Confirm that the technology complies with relevant dental industry privacy regulations and college guidelines.
  6. Testing and Validation:
    • Have your IT or cybersecurity provider test and validate the technology in a controlled environment before full deployment to ensure dental cybersecurity.
  7. Training and Support:
    • Ensure adequate training and support are available for your staff to use the new dental software securely.
  8. Regular Updates and Maintenance:
    • Verify that the vendor provides regular updates and maintenance to address security vulnerabilities in dental software and hardware.

In an era where cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, it is crucial for dental practices to be proactive about their technology choices. By consulting with a cybersecurity provider in the decision-making process, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your practice remains secure and compliant with healthcare cybersecurity standards.

For more guidance on securing your dental practice or questions about your current technology setup, please contact our team. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of dental cybersecurity and digital dentistry, keeping your practice safe and compliant.