Why Cybersecurity Is Essential For Your Dental Practice

If you own or manage a dental practice, investing in cybersecurity is essential for the continued growth and success of your business. If you become the victim of a data breach, you could face business disruptions, loss of reputation, and even steep fines due to HIPAA. Read on, and learn more about the importance of securing patient data at your dental practice.

Cyber Criminals Commonly Target Dental Practices And Medical Offices

Some dentists and other medical providers don’t believe that they are at risk of losing patient data to cyber criminals. But in reality, dental practices and other medical offices have a very high risk of being attacked by cyber criminals. Why? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Patient data is very sensitive and valuable – Along with medical information and diagnoses, patient records also often contain information like date of birth, full names, addresses, and more. This information can be used for identity theft or sold on the “dark web,” making it very valuable. In some cases, banking and payment card information could even be stolen by cyber criminals.

  • Data may not be properly secured – Particularly in smaller dental offices that don’t have dedicated IT support, patient data may be vulnerable to a wide variety of attacks, and may not be secured using modern cybersecurity best practices. This makes medical offices easy targets for criminals.
  • Staff aren’t trained on best practices – Lots of times, hacks happen when staff members are victims of “phishing.” They may download files, open emails, and take other actions that lead to viruses and malware entering your computers and other systems. Cybersecurity is not always a priority at medical and dental offices, so many front-office workers are not trained properly to avoid phishing.

Examples Of Data Breaches In Healthcare Organizations

In total, more than 385 million patient records have been exposed from 2010 to 2022, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthcare organizations of any size can be vulnerable to hacks and data breaches.

For example, a recent data breach in May 2023 affected a dental benefits administrator called MCNA (Managed Care of North America). This breach affected nearly 9 million patients, and included information like full dates of birth, Social Security numbers, email addresses, driver’s license numbers, and more.

While incidents at most dental offices and related businesses are smaller in scale, even the loss of a few patient records can cause serious damage to your business, and result in steep fines and penalties if you’re found to have knowingly or unknowingly violated regulations such as HIPAA.

You Will Pay A Penalty if You Violate HIPAA

As if compromised patient data isn’t enough, you may also face steep fines under HIPAA if patient data is lost or stolen. Fines can be as low as $100 per violation for Tier 1 violations, but up to a minimum of $50,000 per violation for Tier 4 HIPAA violations.

So along with the costs of recovering from a serious cybersecurity incident, your practice may also be heavily penalized under HIPAA, depending on the cause and severity of the issue. That’s all the more reason to invest in cybersecurity services – you can avoid these costs, make sure you comply with HIPAA, and protect patient data before an incident occurs.

Contact Darkhorse Tech – Take Control Of Cybersecurity At Your Practice

At Darkhorse Tech, securing dental IT systems is our specialty and our passion. If you’re worried about losing patient data, vulnerabilities to hackers, and fines under HIPAA, our IT experts can help. Contact us online to learn more about our dental IT services, and get the support you need to keep your patient data safe.

Darkhorse Dental IT Is Here For You

We understand that caring for your patients is your top priority. Dealing with a computer issue, slow IT response time or HIPAA compliance requirements just aren’t high on your list of to-do’s. That’s where Darkhorse Dental Tech comes in. Our team of Dental IT specialists are experts when it comes to running a great, secure and successful practice —and so much more. Whether you’re looking for IT services for startups, or existing support and security services for your practice, Darkhorse can do it all for you, so you can get back to your patients.

Have questions? Looking for ideas? Just want to talk teeth? Drop us a line at sales@darkhorsetech.com to get the conversation started! Or head to our Contact page to send us a message. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

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