I took one accounting class as a young college student. While I passed the class, I have to admit I struggled for a number of different reasons: the topic was fundamentally in opposition to my more creative self and, to be totally honest, mathematics is not one of my strengths.
However, it doesn’t take an accounting genius to understand that the number of dollars remaining in your checking account after paying all the bills is what really matters. The more bills (i.e., operating costs) you can reduce or eliminate, the more dollars left in your pocket at the end of the month.
But how do you reduce operating costs without affecting the quality of your care? You may want to take a look at moving your practice to the cloud as a way to reduce expenses. Here are three ideas to consider.
Save dollars on IT costs
One of the most important things to remember about IT professionals is that their services are always needed. Why? Because all hardware will fail. So, I’m not saying you can bid your IT professional farewell when you move to the cloud; rather, I’m saying you won’t need his or her technical services as often, meaning you’ll pay less and save on IT services.
How so? When you manage your practice on the cloud you won’t need a server. You won’t need an IT professional to install, configure, and manage the server, which you’ll need to replace in four to five years, too (that saves you more dollars). Further, you won’t need an IT professional to set up a backup system or install upgrades (you save even more dollars).
Save dollars on data backup costs
To be fair, the actual dollar amount you can save on backup costs when you move to the cloud is not a big number. The truly big savings is in time, and time is money. As an aside, you’ll also save on anxiety and frustration.
The task of making a daily backup comes in many different shapes and sizes. Some practices copy personal health information to an external disk or drive, and then casually cart this information off premise. Some practices have a mirrored hard drive attached to their server, but take little thought about the consequences of flood, fire, or theft. Some practices employ a data backup service to have patients’ information stored on the cloud, which is a move in the right direction.
In each of these instances, your practice is incurring an expense to one degree or another. More importantly, each is flawed, represents a risk to the security of your data, or both. A cloud-based management system removes the need for you or your team to hassle with data backup. On the cloud, your data is mirrored on multiple servers in multiple geographical locations. The redundancy, security, and accessibility can’t be beat.
Save dollars on hardware costs
You should be replacing the computers in your practice every three years. Keeping to that schedule can be pricey. As I explained in an earlier article, the trick is to have a rotation schedule so that you avoid a huge hardware bill every three years. A cloud-based management system reduces your hardware costs because you don’t need much local computing power. Rather than monster processors, memory, and RAM, you can use a not-so-monster workstation and save hundreds of dollars per unit.
The lifespan of a server is a tad longer than that of a workstation. You should be replacing your server between three to five years. The more you spend, the longer it should last. The key to remember is that with every year of use, your server will become slower and less dependable. Your server may last 6 to 10 years, but that doesn’t mean you should still be using it. Of course, you can forget the server worries altogether when you move your practice to the cloud.
More green is good
Again, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, the more dollars in your account at the end of the month, the better. Those are dollars you can reinvest in your practice or save for retirement.
Andy Jensen is vice president and CMO at Curve Dental Inc., a software development company that provides web-based management solutions for dentists and dental groups. You can learn more about choosing the right software by downloading a free dental software buyer’s guide at curvedental.com/buyers-guide.