When you decide to invest in server-based practice management software for your practice, you might be focused on initial setup costs, but there’s more to it than that. We’ve compiled data from various dental IT providers across the U.S. to help you understand the processes and related costs from implementation to maintenance and disaster recovery.
Gary Kaye, DDS and founder of the New York Center for Digital Dentistry, smartly notes that “…as we introduce different technologies to the practice, not only is it important to bring in the right technology, but it is also important to know the total cost of ownership of that technology.”
Purchasing a server carries significant, upfront costs.
Between the server, the server room/cabinet and computers, you could be looking at spending $10,000 or more — for equipment alone. If you include EMR (electronic medical records) and billing capabilities, this could raise your price to $15,000. And if you think you’re getting a deal by buying your servers from your dental supply company, think again. There is an active lawsuit regarding collusion and price fixing directly related to equipment, including servers. It’s also important to note that servers don’t last forever, and they can become obsolete in as little as 3-5 years.
Installation is a laborious endeavor that needs to be done by professionals and can cost upwards of $2,200. Not to mention the literal downtime your practice will have while this takes place — you can do this over the weekend, but most providers will charge a premium for this type of service.
Maintaining and supporting your investment is costly.
If you have a server, you will need to outsource IT support. You didn’t go to dental school to be a technology expert; you want provide great dental care for your patients. Having fully-functioning practice management software is critical to serving them.
Unfortunately, outsourced IT comes at a significant cost. It’s important to note there are vast differences in pricing and service structures between IT providers. Because there aren’t standards for service level agreements (SLAs), and many outsourced IT firms are usually small businesses themselves, comparing providers can be frustrating and overwhelming:
- Some charge for hardware and software upgrades, as well as HIPAA data compliance. This means not only do you have to pay your practice management software provider to upgrade to the latest version, you also have to pay again for someone to set it up.
- Many charge a maintenance fee, generally between $200-$300 a month just to be available in case you have a need. There is an additional charge if they have to come on-site and a per hour fee to fix the problem.
- Some also charge per computer, putting you at $150 per computer, per month.
- Consulting hours are around $180 an hour.
- Rates often increase if your problem occurs outside of business hours.
One server-related issue could cost you up to $1,000 on top of the $2,400-$3,600 you’re paying each year just to have them available.
Hopefully, your IT provider will be available during your server emergency. Some companies offer remote consulting, but what if it’s a problem that requires an onsite visit? In addition to that being more expensive, someone has to be at the office to let them in.
You can’t predict when an outage will occur or the time it will take to fix it. Since most outsourced IT charges by the hour, you now have another responsibility: tracking their time to ensure your bill is correct.
Benefits of ditching your server and moving to the cloud.
If your practice moves to the cloud, there’s no physical server to get damaged. You don’t have to rely on an IT company to save your data. Curve Dental is backed by Amazon Web Services, the most robust and trusted web service provider out there.
Amazon has invested billions into getting and developing the latest and greatest servers, so it’s unsurprising that they are the number one provider in the world. Because of this, Curve Dental clients can rest assured that their data is absolutely secure and accessible. If an issue does arise, Curve offers 24/7 customer support, and we are committed to resolve your problem in under ten minutes.
Now that you know the hard costs of servers, check out our last blog: Natural Disasters and the Impact on Your Practice.