You have finally taken the leap from being an associate in someone else’s clinic, and you have decided to start your own practice. You’ve been thinking about a location that you pass every day on your way to work, and you’ve been thinking that it would be the perfect location for your clinic. The day has finally come, and you sign the lease for your ideal practice location. There is plenty of traffic and exposure here, and you know you will do well.
Your next step is to find the proper dental equipment. You do your research, and you finalize a deal with one of the major dental suppliers, and you are thrilled because you will finally have the dental technology that you have dreamed of using. You feel like a kid in a candy store, and you can’t wait to get started!!
Now you start to look for an IT company to build in the crucial computerized infrastructure that will become the backbone of your clinic. You find a provider who appears to be perfect, and the cost is within your budget, so you make the deal.
Opening day finally comes, and you enter your finished clinic for the first time. It has that amazing “new car smell”. You feel like you have finally made it, and you have made one of your biggest dreams come true. You start helping patients one by one, and within a few months, you have developed a great patient base. Something, however, is not right with your operating systems. Opening charts is slow, opening images takes time, and the system is not handling the load properly. You contact your IT provider, however, they prove to be unhelpful. So you contact another IT company to review your setup, and you receive a very nasty surprise. The equipment you have cannot meet the specifications of your clinic. The server is inadequate, and it cannot support your clinic’s needs. There is no hardware redundancy to protect against failures. The computers do not have the proper specifications to support imaging. You have an entry-level router/firewall which is nearing the end of its life, and the server operating system is over five years old!! You get a quote to resolve issues that should not have occurred, however, you realize this is a mitigation strategy only. You now understand that your IT system will never support your patient base when you reach the point of hiring an associate. Now you wonder how this could have happened because your clinic is very new, and supposedly up to date.
At K2 Networks we have seen this exact scenario played out time and time again. We are hired to resolve problems with existing IT systems. We check the server and find that it is under-specified to the point that the cost of the installed server is 20-30% of what is actually required (true story). We see backups that are not up to par with current technology. We see firewalls that are either old or misconfigured, with no security features enabled (true story). We see server battery backups that are literally a power bar with a tiny battery that cannot sustain a short power outage (true story). We see networks with no antivirus protection (true story). We have seen so many system problems that we could probably write a book about it!! It is very disappointing to see these problems, yet we believe it is important to raise awareness regarding what goes on behind the technical scenes of a dental clinic.
The story is not much different if you are buying an existing clinic. You will test all dental equipment, and ask staff to show you how things work, but will you have the IT infrastructure inspected? It really is the backbone of any clinic. You need to know when the server is due for replacement, whether the backup systems are working, whether sensitive patient information is properly protected, and all the myriad variables in the IT system that need attention. If a clinic is properly inspected prior to purchase, any IT deficiencies can be reflected in the purchase price.
When the team at K2 Networks is given the opportunity to quote a network, we study your business as it currently exists, and what it will look like in the future. K2 understands every requirement of every software system and builds the hardware to support it, now and into the future. System security is a given, and it is standard with us. We will not build a network without security, it would be akin to buying a car without seatbelts. We also do not under spec or over spec a system. Our specifications support where you will be in two or three years, not just the first fifty patients you see. We won’t sell you a Toyota when you actually need a Jaguar, and we won’t quote you a Lamborghini when what you need is a Lexus. Our approach is very simple, we give you what you need now, and what you will need to sustain your business into the future. Does this cost more? Yes, it does, however, you will not have to replace your entire system in a few months because it is inadequate to your needs. With us, you actually get what you pay for.
IT infrastructure is an investment. It allows you to sustain and grow your business. And, when the time comes, and you are ready to sell or buy a practice, proper IT infrastructure will allow your business to expand. Investing in proper IT is crucial, and K2 networks understands dental clinics. It is what we do. Let us help you, and your business, to thrive.