Your dental practice hardware can make – or break – your day

I work in the software development industry. I’m surrounded by early adopters.

The shiny baubles that were mentioned in a recent post… the latest toys… the tiniest and most powerful gadgets… they want it all. And they’re willing to stake a place in an overnight line-up just to be the first to get their hands on it, whatever the cost.

I also love technology and how it makes my life easier. But I’m not an “if it isn’t broken, then break it” kind of person. I like things that work, day in and day out; things I can count on.

So I was not at all surprised last week when my old trusted home PC crashed one final time. What did surprise me was how inconvenient it was to get a new one up to speed! I’m vigilant about data back-up and system security at work; not so much at home. And even though I now use cloud technology, my cell phone and laptop are my lifelines.

There are lessons to be learned from this: good reasons to upgrade your operating system and practice hardware even when, on the surface, things appear to be working just fine.

When an old Operating System is retired, the developer will stop supporting it with updates, bug fixes and security patches. Your system and practice data including, of course, private patient information, are left vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated security threats, viruses and malicious software attacks. Each new operating system builds in ongoing advancements in defensive technology.

Patient Service and Satisfaction
How often do you or a team member comment that “the system is slow today” – usually as small talk while a patient on the phone or at reception waits for data to be retrieved? If this happens frequently, you should be looking for an opportunity to improve performance with hardware upgrades. Today’s consumers are far less ‘patient’ than we once were.

Current i5 processors can be 10 times more powerful than a computer produced as recently as 5 years ago. Software is designed with that capability in mind. Newer Operating Systems rely on it.

The physical component that is most vulnerable to wear and tear is the hard drive that holds your data. Solid State technology has no moving parts, but an older hard drive can be wholly reliable right up until the day the spinning disc fails. This will happen invariably at the least convenient time.

Of course, with the mainstream adoption of cloud technology, the cost and upkeep of a server is minimized. But there are still desktop and tablets that require maintenance. At the office, our IT team is proactive in constantly upgrading and replacing our hardware. And I have learned a valuable lesson from them. Still, I can’t say I don’t miss my old faithful. Its slow performance gave me time to ponder the universe… and grab a snack.

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