Exploring Innovations in Dental Technology: A Monthly Spotlight – April 2024

In the dynamic world of dentistry, advancements in technology continue to redefine patient care, practice management, and the overall landscape.

In our monthly article series, Tech Talk, we delve into the latest breakthroughs in dental technology, aiming to provide DSOs, dentists, dental professionals, and enthusiasts with insightful glimpses into the future of oral healthcare.

With each installment, we’ll explore a diverse array of topics ranging from revolutionary treatment modalities to innovative software solutions, all designed to enhance efficiency, improve patient outcomes, and streamline practice operations.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional seeking to stay abreast of the latest trends or a curious newcomer eager to explore the frontiers of dental innovation, Tech Talk aims to showcase the transformative potential of emerging technologies in the dental field.

Tech Talk navigates the ever-evolving landscape of dental technology and DSO innovations, uncovering the tools and strategies that are shaping the future of oral healthcare delivery. Together, let’s embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, today.

Don’t Get Flossed by Hackers: 8 Dental Cybersecurity Tips

It seems like every day we hear about another breach or major institution being compromised. I don’t want you to live in fear of a cyberattack, but as I’m sure you’ve read about in headlines, or experienced first-hand, there are people out there who are only looking to harm. Whether you’re a small, single-chair operatory practice or a large DSO, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your practice.

  1. Invest in the right tools. While computers and Wi-Fi are a given, fortifying your office with the right security tools should be a top priority. There are some obvious ones like antiviral software, but you should also consider emergency detect and response (EDR) and managed detect and respond (MDR) tools that basically freeze nefarious objects and report on them if they detect something on your machine.
  1. Keep your office network separate from the internet. A firewall, either as a dedicated appliance or software on your router, acts as a gatekeeper, controlling what traffic flows in and out. Many internet service providers (ISPs) offer basic firewall functionality for home and small offices. However, larger organizations with dedicated internet connections (DSOs) or multiple locations will likely need to implement their own, more robust firewall solutions.

You should also consider setting up a separate guest network for visitors. This network should be isolated from your internal network, preventing access to sensitive business systems like your practice management software (PMS).

  1. Regularly patch and update software. I can’t stress this enough. If you have a PMS, sign up for the auto upgrades. If you’re using Dentrix, sign up for the auto upgrades. If you’re using a cloud PMS, it updates itself. If it’s a Macintosh, make sure that iOS or MAC OS updates itself. If it’s a Windows box, make sure that Windows updates itself.
  1. Enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step after your password. This could be a code sent to your phone via text message, a security key you approve on your phone, or even facial recognition. NIST, the governing body for a lot of security standards, recently released data showing that systems with a single password, token, or single factor password authentication, there’s a 40% chance it can be breached in under 10 minutes. By using multi-factor authentication, that number goes from 40% down to 2%, and if you’re using a hard factor like a Yuba key or a fingerprint, it goes down to 0.002%.
  1. Regularly backup your data. Cyberattacks, hardware failures, and other unforeseen events can wipe out your data in an instant. Ensure your patient information is always protected by routinely backing up your systems. Even if you don’t want to invest in something more sophisticated to store your data, there are tools like Dropbox and File Vine that allow you to back your information up in the cloud. A cloud-based PMS will automatically back your data up in the cloud.
  1. Train your teams. This one seems really obvious, but it also tends to be one of the most neglected. It’s amazing how frequently — even with training — people click on links and attachments they shouldn’t. In fact, it’s the primary cause of malware infections. Some of the tools I’ve already mentioned can help with that, as can a good email filtering service. But the best thing you can do is train your staff and make sure they’re aware of what they need to look out for.
  1. Protect your sensitive information. You should always be guarded about sensitive information. There should only be a few people who have access to administrative passwords. Documents with personal identifiable information, health information, or employee data should never be left out where people can see it. It’s amazing how frequently that happens, and it’s an extremely common attack vector that nefarious actors use.
  1. Create an incident response plan. Let’s pretend for a moment that the unthinkable happens. You go into your practice one morning, and the machines are frozen up and there’s a giant ransomware sign demanding money to decrypt your computers for you. Do you know what you’d do? That’s why you need an incident response plan that encompasses everything from a cyber event to a flood in your practice that wipes out your servers. Your plan needs to include (among other things):
    • Who you’re going to call
    • Where you’re storing data backups
    • Where you’re getting new machines
    • Who’s going to help you recover your practice data

You need to take your practice’s information security seriously to protect patient, practice, and business data, and that includes choosing a partner who makes your security a priority. Watch the free on-demand webinar: How To Navigate Cyber Security Concerns In Your Dental Practice.

Written by: Alan Rencher, Chief Technology Officer, Henry Schein One

Tech Talk is sponsored by Henry Schein One. Henry Schein One, the leader in all things dental software, empowers dentists to focus on patient care, ensuring practice success.

In light of the Change Healthcare incident, Henry Schein One has stepped up to help keep your practice on solid ground. They’ve been diligently working to find solutions for processing claims and eligibilities and cash flow concerns. For FAQs, information about financial support, and the latest news on this incident, visit our claims processing status page.

With its simple and integrated software, practices are finally more seamless, more efficient, and more profitable—meaning patients and practitioners are happier. With comprehensive solutions: demand generation, patient experience, practice management, revenue management, dental analytics, and clinical workflow, dental practices will be running smoother than ever before.

Henry Schein One, LLC, is a joint venture between Henry Schein, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC) and Internet Brands. The company’s portfolio of leading brands includes Dentrix®, Dentrix Ascend®, Jarvis Analytics™, TechCentral™, Lighthouse360+, and DentalPlans.com®, along with solutions offered through international companies, including Dentally and Software of Excellence, among others. For a full list of our brands, please visit our website or connect with us on LinkedIn.