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Designing a disaster recovery plan for your practice

It is said that you cannot plan for the unexpected but this is not an excuse for ignoring risk management at your dental practice.

Prepare for potential issues with a written plan that can minimize the damage to your business.

Write it down, review it annually

A disaster plan is worthless if it’s not written down. At the moment of crisis, it’s unlikely you will remember the details from a meeting months. Write down your plan in a short, easy-to-follow document. Designate one person to be in charge of managing the action-plan, usually your office manager.

Losing a key team member

Losing a key member of your team at an inopportune time can throw your workflow into disarray.

  • Keep your standard operating procedures up to date and available so that other team members can step in to pick up the slack. Consider cross-training for the most vital tasks in the office. Try to avoid the situation where just one person in your office is able to complete a given task.
  • Familiarize yourself with available dental staffing agencies. Build a relationship with an agency ahead of time so you know who you can trust when you need to hire a temp quickly.
  • In cases where multiple dentists maintain ownership in the practice, prepare a legal framework for transfer/sale of ownership.

Data and security

Cyber disaster is a real threat today. Purchase and install quality data backup software and outline data recovery instructions in your plan. Your annual plan revision is also a great time to go over password, login and security protocols for your practice management software. Internal theft can be protected against with security groups, access permissions and periodic review of security logs.

Fire, flood and storm

Your disaster plan is there to get the practice back on its feet and to take care of the people who take care of you.

  • If possible, plan to pay employees early to help them cover any disaster related expenses, particularly if the event is something that has affected the region as a whole.
  • When asking employees to participate in the physical cleanup at your practice, be sure to provide protection against any dangerous materials that are present in a medical environment.
  • Verify that every member of your team is safe.