The ability to recover from a loss of data during a disaster, business interruption, upgrade, or data migration can make or break a practice. Crippling outages can result in high-dollar losses and damaged reputations, so it is critical that practices prepare for such an event to protect data, critical applications, and business. It is also required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule.

“Disaster recovery is a HIPAA requirement. Orthodontic practices must establish and implement, as needed, procedures to restore any loss of patient data,” says Chris Bowen, chief privacy and security officer and founder, CIPP/US, CIPT, at Arizona-based ClearDATA, an online healthcare company that offers a HITRUST-certified HealthDATA cloud-computing platform specifically designed to deliver users HIPAA compliance, security, and patient privacy protection.

Disaster recovery is also good business. One of the basic tenets of any reasonable and responsible business operation is to be prepared in case of a catastrophe. Natural disasters grab headlines, but it is system failures, power outages, and fires that are the most common and feared reasons for IT infrastructure downtime and data loss. In the 2014 study “Rx: ITaaS+Trust,” MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, found that 82% of healthcare IT executives do not believe they are prepared for a disaster. A true fiasco could destroy an orthodontic practice, wiping out all files—including every record of every patient ever seen by the practice.

Security breaches also pose a huge concern for practices; they can compromise privacy and make patients fearful. “In addition to the restoration of operations in the event of fire, vandalism, natural disaster, or system failure, the plan should also address recovery from IT and information security breaches, which happen more often than you might think,” Bowen adds.

To that end, ClearDATA provides multiple levels of disaster recovery, including the standard and continuous replication. The standard replication of critical systems of data, applications, and operating system features real-time, full machine restore options and services, such as an infrastructure replicated to data centers in different geographic regions. The company’s continuous replication of critical systems option features replication to different geographic regions, and is designed for nearly instant recovery.

The backup from an orthodontic practice location can include data only, or include the application as well. Data is always encrypted in motion and at rest, and the orthodontic practice administrator can either customize a backup schedule and/or data retention policy, or use his or her own backup software. Some additional features include user- and group-level access control, 24-hour recovery point objectives and highly efficient data compression, and deduplication to reduce the amount of time and space needed for backups.

So, is your practice in need of a cloud-based data recovery service? Orthodontic practices that create, maintain, process, or store electronic protected health information in a manner that does not enable them to quickly recover from a disaster are excellent candidates for a data recovery program. At ClearDATA, more than 300,000 medical and dental providers access their patient records each day using the ClearDATA cloud located in US data centers that consist of state-of-the art facilities that meet Tier 3 standards

In January 2015, ClearDATA announced an agreement to provide disaster recovery and HIPAA-compliant cloud solutions for Henry Schein’s Dentrix Enterprise practice-management software. As part of that agreement, ClearDATA also implements its HIPAA-compliant data backup and disaster recovery services, designed to ensure health information remains secure and available to any practice in the cloud in the event of fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, electrical surge, power loss, viruses, theft of computers, or other issues.

The reality is that today’s practices are pulled into two incompatible directions. They are charged with keeping patient data confidential, available, and uncompromised while making sure clinicians have the critical information they need for patient care. It could be time for your practice to call in reinforcements. Moving to a cloud infrastructure may seem daunting at first, but the results can lead to organizational agility, better patient engagement, improved outcomes, and lower IT costs. OP