„Every step of life shows much caution is required.“
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
BACK ME UP, DOCTOR! “But I backed my data up just last month!” you said? Do you realize how much data is entered in a typical medical practice on a daily basis? Patient records, appointments scheduled, medical reports and more consume many megabytes (MB) or even gigabytes (GB) worth of space on your hard drive every day. Just imagine the extra personnel hours required not only to re-enter missing data, but just to remember WHAT has been entered! If you are not making DAILY backups, STOP what you are doing (well…finish reading this message of course) then BACKUP your data!
HOW OFTEN? At the very least, on a daily basis, backup your Practice Management (PM) data. This data includes all of your patient billing information, accounts receivables, inventory and appointment information. Without that…you’re out of business. In addition to any automated system you might have in place (ex: Norton Ghost) if possible, you should also backup to a removable USB Flash Drive that is on your keychain.
Why? The Data Doctor lives in Florida. Here we have hurricanes, tornados, alligators…things that can make you leave the office quickly! The first thing we grab are our car keys as we rush for the door, right? Should anything happen (Heaven-forbid) to your office, at least your data is safely off-site. You can always download another copy of your software program, then restore the data from your backup. You’re back in business!
LOCK IT! Another tip… be sure to ENCRYPT your data by password protecting it. If you use a tough password with letters (upper and lower case) and numbers (ex: xM3487$l27) rather than “DOLPHINSRULE” the chances of anyone breaking into your data files are slim. Of course it is equally important to REMEMBER your password! The Data Doctor was asked to restore data from a client’s backup, where they forgot their password. Using password recovery forensic software running 21 MILLION combinations per second, the program was not able to break the code, even running at that pace for OVER A MONTH! Yes, we had to give up on that one. The good news is that no one ELSE was able to get into their data!
Online Backup Storage? Really? Are you seriously considering entrusting your patients’ data and your financial information to a faceless web entity? Even the most secure online companies have a human element involved. Who do they employ to watch over their servers? Are they even located in the United States, where HIPAA rules exist? Forget about mal-practice law suits. The Data Doctor predicts the new wave of litigation for medical practices will have to do with patient identity theft. This is another reason why Ability Clinical has never partnered with online data backup services. Although the income would have been wonderful, we always keep our clients’ concerns first. Always keep YOUR data under YOUR control!