Data Backups for the Medical Profession and HIPAA

Can a PC Backup Stop You From Grinding Your teeth?

The Dentist.

Carl ran a successful dentistry practice.  His patients loved him, and business was booming. He did everything correctly; marketing, accounting and computer backups. Carl had his “IT guy” install a USB drive that he connected to his main PC. Every night it backed up his patient records, accounting records and his other office files. By the way – this is NOT HIPAA compliant!

On Monday another PC in his office failed.  Carl had spent several hours setting up the files on this PC to back up to his attached backup drive. Carl was confident he could get the data back. He installed a new hard drive (after hours) and powered up the machine. Nothing happened except for a message on the screen “No operating system found”. Carl said “No problem” and proceeded to spend the next 2 hours re-installing Windows 7 (after he found the disc). He booted the PC up and windows loaded! He then spent 4 more hours loading his email, installing updates & patches, Microsoft Office, accounting client software, his patient management client software, his printers and a few external pieces of hardware.  It was now midnight and he hadn’t even started restoring the data yet. That took another hour.

The next day Carl (being very sleepy) thought there had to be a better way. He did some research and found a backup device that automatically backed up every machine in his office, and had an off-site HIPAA certified backup. If it had problems the device would email him (pretty cool). The best part was that the device did image based backups; which meant he could restore an entire machine in under an hour! No reinstalling everything. The company that installed it did all the work for him, and Carl could even access the files he needed from the backup device while the PC was restoring.  (Even from the golf course).

Ok a silly story, but one with a moral. Don’t just back up your stuff; make sure you can get your stuff back (in a timely manner). Better yet, outsource that work to a company that only does backup.  Not all back up strategies are created equal.

Thanks for reading, what do you think? Leave a comment!


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