21 High Street, P.O. Box 219
North Andover, MA 01845
Tel.: (800) 490-0098
Fax: (978) 651-2156

Navigating Successful Practice Management



Simple Precautions To Avoid Losing Critical Practice Data

You’ve noticed for quite sometime that your computer system seems to be running slower and slower. It hangs up in the middle of a project and the only way out is to reboot the system. You’re becoming more and more frustrated and have finally decided it’s time to do something about it. You’ve also noticed that computer prices have dropped and decide now is the time to invest in new equipment. You go out and buy the latest and greatest computer system and now feel confident that the needs of your office will be satisfied. Now, after making all those decision, you have one more critical consideration.. How do you protect your computer records when (not if) your computer systems crash?

It Can Happen To You
Unfortunately, even with all the information available, many people still believe that the experience of “data loss” usually happens to someone else. A computer crash is a major inconvenience, but losing the data that it contained is a real problem. The situation just described is not rare, it happens all the time. But, it usually only happens once. Having to re-enter even a day’s work in a busy doctor’s office, not to mention the possibility of anywhere from a week to a month’s worth, tends to be a strong teacher in re-enforcing the need to have a procedure that backs up data on a regular basis.

It’s really quite simple. Ask yourself the question “What can I afford to lose?” If your answer is NOTHING then you need to set up basic procedures to back up your data. This is one area where planning too much is OK.

At Bradford Medical Associates, we do three daily backups, one to each individual’s system, one to the file server and one to a zip drive that can be removed and taken off the premises. Each daily backup includes all the data that has been touched during that day. As a billing service serving a variety of different medical specialties and many individual practices, each and every practice database is backed up daily. This daily backup runs automatically every night at 11:00PM. Weekly, we do a complete system backup that is all inclusive. This is set to run automatically every Friday night at 11:00PM.

In addition to billing, Bradford Medical Associates also provides practice management consultation. Protecting computer data is an area that we stress as all-important with our clients.

Weather Happens
It doesn’t have to be a major system crash that damages your data. Electrical storms, high winds, or typical New England weather (which we seem to be having an abundance of lately) can cause a power outage that will bring your system down, causing all kinds of damage to your data. To protect your systems be sure each has a UPS (Universal Power Supply) installed. This equipment will keep you’re the systems up and running for anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes after a power outage. This gives your staff the opportunity to close out the data in an orderly fashion and log off normally thus avoiding the penalties of your system crashing.

Be Sure to Test It
One last step in making sure that all your data is being backed up correctly is to make sure that you can recover this data. A simple test when you first set up your backup procedures will insure that everything is working as it appears. You don’t want to find out that a particular file was NOT being backed up on the day you go to recover it. Once you have established the integrity of your backup, a quick test every 3-4 months will make sure that everything is still working correctly.

No, backups are not sexy. There is no backup salesman to buy you lunch. You can have the latest and greatest “state of the art” system and software and still be brought down by a summer electrical storm. But if you are prepared and set up your computer system correctly, this will not happen to you. Backups need to be a basic part of your office procedures.